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The Hongdu L-15 Falcon (猎鹰) is a supersonic advanced training and light combat aircraft being developed by Nanchang-based Hongdu Aviation Industry Corporation (HAIG) to meet the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force (PLANAF) lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) requirements, as well as next-generation training and light combat needs for foreign customers.
|Role||Supersonic Advanced trainer/light combat|
|Manufacturer||Hongdu Aviation Industry Corporation|
|First flight||13 March 2006|
|Introduction||2010 (at least 3 prototypes)|
|Primary user||People's Liberation Army Air Force|
Design and developmentEdit
The L-15 is an advanced trainer aircraft developed by Nanchang based Hongdu Aviation Industry Corporation. The aircraft made its maiden flight on 13 March 2006. The aircraft's general designer is Mr. Zhang Hong (张弘), and the development reportedly had been cooperated with Yakovlev OKB of Russia. The L-15 is a direct rival to the Guizhou Aircraft Industry Corporation (GAIC) JL-9/FTC-2000 Mountain Eagle in competition for the People's Liberation Army Air Force's (PLAAF) next-generation advanced trainer aircraft program.
HAIG unveiled a full-scale mock-up of its L-15 advanced lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) in the 2004 Zhuhai Airshow. The two-seat, two-engine L-15 featured the latest advanced technologies developed by China, such as the digital quadruple fly-by-wire (FBW), glass cockpit (two multi-color head down displays for both the front and rear cockpit, and an additional head-up display for the front cockpit) and hands-on-throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) flight control. The look-down field of view for the front cockpit is 18°, and 6° for the rear cockpit, exceeding the US requirement. The aerodynamic performance of the aircraft is enhanced by its large leading edge extensions (LEX) design, which gives a maximum angle of attack of 30°. This is very useful when trying to simulate the maneuvers of advanced fourth-generation fighters such as J-10, JF-17 and J-11, as well as for newest fifth generation fighter like J-20 and J-31. JL-9/FTC-2000 Mountain Eagle trainer jet from Guizhou Aircraft Industry Corporation (GAIC) is a direct competitor of the L-15. L-15 has a wide range of more advanced features comparing JL-9, but JL-9 is significant cheaper and its development and production would be fully indigenous, while early batches of L-15 still rely on AI-222 series turbofan engine from Ukraine before an indigenous update is ready. 
With the L-15, student pilots will be able to complete mission flight training and advanced combat training, as well as complete all basic jet flight training courses. The aircraft also has six (four under-wing and two wingtip) pylons to carry various air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons. If necessary, it can serve in the lightweight attack role with minor modifications, carrying up to 3.5 tons of armament.
Each of the first two units (#01 & #02) are powered by two Ivchenko-Progress DV-2 engines, which do not have afterburners, and these two aircraft thus do not have the capability to reach supersonic speed. The third unit (#03) is powered by a pair of an improved version of the DV-2, the DV-2F, that has afterburners, so that it can attain supersonic speed. The subsequent production units are expected to be powered by Ukraine's Ivchenko-Progress AI-222K-25F turbofan engines with afterburners once a co-production license is obtained by the 608 Institute. Ivchenko-Progress was able to increase the thrust of the AI-222-28F (thrust 4500 kg) and AI-222-30F (5000 kg thrust) engines. The latter two engines may be used to equip the L-15 or other Chinese aircraft. Meanwhile, according to various Chinese reports, L-15s with updated Guizhou FWS-17 engines had already undergone test flights.
In June 2013, the AJT condition of L-15 finalized the design and would be operated by PLAAF with a formal name JL-10. On July 1, 2013, the first batch of JL-10 began delivery to the PLAAF. Chinese Air Force and later Naval Air Force are highly satisfied with the aircraft's all-around performance, high reliability, cost-effectiveness, as well as its great multi-role update potentials, easy maintainability, and a service life of over 10,000 flying hours. 
- L-15A: AJT
- JL-10: The designation in People's Liberation Army Air Force service.
- L-15Z: The designation in Zambian Air Force.
- L-15AW: Combat variant with 7 hardpoints.
- L-15B: Combat variant with afterburning engines, 9 hardpoints and capability to launch beyond-visual-range PL-12 missile.
- People's Liberation Army Air Force (First batch of L-15 is commissioned in a training center of PLAAF in Eastern China, quantity is uncertain based from public information)
In August 2018, according to the photos in the article, at least twelve L-15 have been delivered to Navy Aviation university.
- Uruguayan Air Force is interested in acquiring eight L-15s. A team of officers was sent to China in August 2016 to evaluate the aircraft. The invitation was coordinated for October 2011 in an invitation extended by CATIC to the FAU command to form a committee including Air Marshall W. Martínez and staff.
- Crew: 2
- Length: 12.27 m (40.256 feet)
- Wingspan: 9.48 m (31.1 feet)
- Height: 4.81 m (15.78 feet)
- Empty weight: 4,500 kg (9,920 lb)
- Loaded weight: 6,500 kg (14,300 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 9,800 kg (21,600 lb)
- Powerplant: 2 × Ivchenko Progress AI-222K-25 for AJT model, Ivchenko Progress AI-222K-25F afterburning turbofans for LIFT model, Guizhou FWS-17 for updates
- Maximum speed: Mach 1.4 (1074.2 mph)
- Combat radius: Over 550+ km (More than 340+ miles)
- Ferry range: 3,100 km (1926 miles)
- Service ceiling: 16,000 m (52500 feet)
- Rate of climb: >200 m/s (afterburning) (>39370 ft/min)
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- AIDC T-5 Blue Magpie
- KAI T-50 Golden Eagle
- TAI Hurjet
- Yakovlev Yak-130
- Leonardo M 346 Master
- Boeing / Saab T-X
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to HAIG L15.|
- L-15 at Chinese Defence Today (in English)
- L15 Falcon Trainer Jet introduction - AirForceWorld.com (in English)
- First flight of L-15 03 (with pictures) (in Chinese)
- News article on the maiden flight of the L-15 (with pictures) (in Chinese)
- Incomplete recording of development history for L-15 (with pictures) (in Chinese)