At the beginning of 2021, Cambodia’s first light attack aircraft was delivered by China in mid-January. It’s the FTC-2000G.

FTC-2000G, the export version of the Guizhou JL-9 trainer, also known as the Mountain Eagle. The agreement between Cambodia and China was signed in early 2020. According to sources familiar with the matter, Cambodia has ordered six of these planes in total. All will be handed over between now and 2023.

The Guizhou JL-9 was developed by the Guizhou Aviation Industry Company for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force and the People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Force. The aircraft started as an inexpensive trainer for fourth generation aircraft. The trainer was revealed at the 2001 China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition. The FTC-2000, as the JL-9, competed with the Hongdu JL-10 to meet the advanced trainer requirements of the PLAAF and PLANAF. The JL-10 is more technologically advanced, but also more expensive, than the JL-9. In 2013, both had entered production.

Guizhou JL-9
Guizhou JL-9

A carrier-landing trainer variant was revealed by Chinese state media in 2011. Designated the JL-9G, it has strengthened undercarriage, enlarged wing and diverterless supersonic inlets, but has proved to be unsuitable for arrested landings and is limited to land-based operations.

The Guizhou JL-9 is developed from the JJ-7/FT-7, the two seat trainer version of Chengdu J-7, a Chinese variant of Mig-21. The Guizhou uses a new wing, a forward fuselage with side air intakes, and a glass cockpit; the engine, empennage, and mechanical controls of the JJ-7 are retained.

Guizhou JL-9 has a length of 14.5m, a wingspan of 8.32m, and a height of 4.1m. Empty weight is 4.96 t, and maximum take-off weight is 9.8 t. The fuselage is tubular with slab sides and the frontal section is dramatically sloped along its dorsal line to provide excellent vision over the nose assembly through a single-piece, lightly-framed canopy. The canopy covers two pilots seated in tandem – the student pilot in front with the instructor at rear in a slightly raised cockpit position.

A single turbofan engine is used and this is aspirated by two small, semi-circle intakes fitted to either side of the exterior cockpit wall. The JL-9 is powered by a Guizhou Liyang WP-13F afterburning turbojet engine, with 43.15 kN dry thrust, and 63.25 kN with afterburner. Guizhou can reach a maximum speed of 1,100 km/h, cruise speed is 870 km/h, range is 863 km, service ceiling is 16,000 m, Rate of climb is 150 m/s at sea level.

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