List of Chengdu J-7 variants
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This is a list of variants and specifications for variants of the Chengdu J-7, which differed considerably between models in its 48 years of production run.
Production of Chengdu J-7 lasted nearly half a century, beginning in November 1964 when Shenyang Aircraft Factory (SAC) started components manufacturing for J-7, and eventually ended in May 2013 when production finally ceased. State certification of the first J-7 for series production was received on December 28, 1966, after Cultural Revolution started, and as a result of the political turmoil caused, early production J-7s suffered quality issues that lasted into the 1980s, well after the end of the Cultural Revolution. More than 2400 have been built in approximately seven and half a dozen different models of J-7 listed below.
Type 1962/62 seriesEdit
Due to Sino-Soviet split, MiG-21 were not used in China, and referred as Type 1962 instead. Designation Type 62 is subsequently used to refer to those Chinese license assembled MiG-21F-13 from kit provided by former-USSR.
- Type 1962: 12 imported MiG-21F-13 delivered and entered Chinese service by November 1962. These jets are the early production series models of MiG-21F-13.
- Type 62: 15 Chinese assembled MiG-21F-13 from kits supplied by Soviet Union. First batch of 10 delivered in PLAAF in September 1964, followed by the remaining 5 in the 2nd batch delivered in February 1965, and all jets are the later production series models.
J-7 series were the first group of J-7 produced. MiG-21F-13 directly imported from former USSR were the earlier production batches of MiG-21, but the kits for license assembly in China were later production batches with numerous improvement. Decision was made to reverse engineer to the standard of the latest production batch. Coupled with the inability of Chinese aerospace industry to produce some of the components, design went through four major changes. The initial production of J-7 was serious affected by the political turmoil at the time, namely, Cultural Revolution, which delayed the planned production run. Due to the urgent need of the fighter, original plans of some early models had to be scaled back to less ambitious scale by producing what could be done at the time, and then make improvement later when technologies matured.
- J-7: 1st batch of 100% Chinese domestically built model. Fuselage is 7% stronger than MiG-21F-13 in terms of endurance to stress, achieved via more material, but this also means that the heavier J-7 is slightly less maneuverable than MiG-21F-13. J-7 is equipped with Chinese copy of SRD-5 ranging radar designated as CL, short for Ce-jÜ (测距, meaning ranging in Chinese) Lei-da (雷达, meaning radar in Chinese). The range of CL ranging radar only 3 km, significantly shorter than the 7 km range of the original SRD-5 on MiG-21F-13. A total of 11 J-7 were produced after production run begun 1967.
- J-7 for Albania: After a total of 11 J-7s were completed, another 12 more were built and given to Albania for free as military aid. By this time, China was able to produce the APU-13 missile launching rail (MLR) of late production models of MiG-21F, which replaced the early APU-28 MLR of early production models of MiG-21F on the first 11, and APU-13 MLR was subsequently used on all future J-7s, including these 12 J-7s for Albania. The completion of these last 12 J7s marked the end of production run of J-7 in 1970, with a total of 23 built. After the production of J-7 completed, production of future models of J-7 was transferred to Chengdu Aircraft Corp (CAC) and Guizhou Aircraft Industry Corporation (GAIC) respectively.
- J-7 ASST: Like its predecessor MiG-21, the original J-7 also sometimes had the stability problem at high altitude when traveling at high speed near Mach 2. Attempt to avert this problem is an automatic stabilizing system developed by Xi'an Flight Control Research institute (also known as the 618th Institute) upon PLAAF request. A J-7 was converted as an Automatic Stabilizing System Testbed for trials conducted between 1970 through 1971. However, the project proved to be too ambitious for Chinese aerospace industry at the time and thus subsequently cancelled.
- J-7 drone: Retired J-7 converted for Mach 2 aerial targets. Subsequently, same conversion was also carried out for later models of J-7s after their retirement. Some of these drones were destroyed by Chengdu J-10 during weapons trials.
J7I is the improvement of earlier J-7, with production started in March 1969 after the order was formally given on August 25, 1968. However, the original goal proved to be too ambitious for Chinese aerospace industry at the time, especially during the political turmoil of Cultural Revolution. The program only succeeded after Tu Jida obtained the permission to drastically reduce the originally planned six major upgrades by half to merely three, when he was named as general designer at the end of 1969 to resolve the production problems and quality issues. Mr. Tu would later become the general designer of many more different models of J-7.
- J-7I: Improved J-7 with an additional gun added on the portside at cost of reducing 100 liters of fuel. Variable intake nosecone replaced the three-stage fixed one in J-7, and thicker intake wall. CL-2 ranging radar with 5 km range replaced earlier CL ranging radar on J-7. Production ended in 1981 after a total of 147 delivered, including upgraded versions such as J-7A and J-7IG, but excluding export versions.
- In the 1960s, as soon as PLAAF received PL-2 air-to-air missile (AAM), J-7Is started to attempt using PL-2 missiles to intercept USAF reconnaissance UAVs. Due to PL-2s' fuse is designed to target larger aircraft, these attempts were unsuccessful to some degree. Later J-7Is successfully shot down unknown numbers of USAF UAVs with guns and air-to-air rockets.
- J-7I for North Korea: 40 late production version of J-7I was provided to North Korea as military aid. Can be distinguished from earlier production versions of J-7I's in that the drag chute is moved to the base of the fin under the rudder, which has since become the standard for all future J-7 models.
- J-7A: Renamed J-7I with new wing pylons allowing 480 liter wing tanks to be carried under wings to make up the loss of fuel when a new gun is added on the portside.
- J-7IG: Further improvement of J-7A, later renamed as J-7II after more modifications. G for Gai (改), meaning modified in Chinese. The inefficient forward-hinged canopy jettisoned with the ejection seat of the Soviet design was replaced by a rearward hinged canopy jettisoned before the ejection of a newly designed domestic Chinese HTY-2 ejection seat.
- F-7A: Export version of J-7I for Egypt with the following change: has a new engine WP-7II (涡喷-7乙, WP is short for Wo-Pen, abbreviation for Wo-Lun Pen-Qi, 涡轮喷气, meaning turbojet in Chinese), with mean time between overhaul (MBTO) increased from 100 hours to 200 hours. CL-2 ranging radar is replaced by more capable Type 222 ranging radar used on J-7II. Type 602 IFF specially designed for export replaced the original YD-3 IFF. Type XU-1 low fuel warning system (@ 500 liter) & Type Hang-Jia (航甲)-11-10 gun camera were both deleted. Chinese is converted to English on flight instruments. Still has the Soviet type ejection system where the forward-hinged canopy jettisoned with the ejection seat. 20 delivered between late 1981 thru early 1982 to Egyptian Air Force (EAF). Egypt would subsequently resell them to Iraq.
- J-7I reusable drone: reusable range instrumentation drone converted from retired J-7Is to support AAM development. Development lasted from 1990 thru 1998, with communication systems, pilot seat/ejection system, armament and other systems not needed for unmanned flight removed. Remote sensing, remote control, automatic flight control system, and range instrumentation system needed to measure and record the off distance of AAM are added. After repeated usage, the last flight of every single one of these drones would be served as another aerial target, just like disposable drones. The reusable aerial range instrumentation drone is the one model in the J-7I series not designed by the general designer Tu Jida.
J-7II is series is the one with the second most numerous models within the series. The general designer of most models of the J-7II series is the same one of J-7I, Tu Jida.
- J-7II: Improved J-7IG that can carry 720 belly tank. Other improvement includes the deletion of the small window behind canopy and a new WP-7II batch 02 engine. Thrust is increased from 3900 kN to 4200 kN (5750 kN to 6100 kN with afterburner), while fuel consumption is reduced by 2%, and service life of the engine is increased to 300 hours. However, the temperature of exhaust is also increased from 700° to 800° Celsius, so the temperature of the engine when in operation is also increased by 100° Celsius accordingly. This fact was gravely overlooked, eventually causing problems to occur half a decade after J-7II production had completed, resulting the grounding of all J-7II's equipped with the same engine. When production ceased in 1986, a total of 375 J-7II's were built.
- J-7B: Renamed J-7II. In Jun 1991, PLAAF discovered heat isolation pads in the pressure accumulator compartment in the rear section of the fuselage of J-7IIs were burnt or melted due to high temperature, so all J-7IIs were grounded. CAC spent half a year to investigate and discovered over two dozen components were affected by the increased temperature of the new engine, and these components were operating outside the temperature range they were originally designed for. Fuselage was subsequently redesigned/reworked/repaired to fix the problem, and rework/repair lasted from January thru May 1992 to fix all J-7IIs in PLAAF and PLANAF. Experience gained was also adopted for all future productions of J-7s after January 1992, and the problem never occurred again afterward. The completion of J-7B marked the final satisfactory closure of the upgrade program originally started more than a decade and half ago with J-7I during Cultural Revolution, which lasted around a decade after the end of Cultural Revolution.
- F-7IIC: J-7II export version for Egypt with C stands for Chu-Kou-Xing (出口型, meaning export version in Chinese). More improvement over F-7A, including being capable of carrying 720 liter belly tank, and wing pylons rewired for French R.550 Magic AAM. The inefficient forward-hinged canopy jettisoned with the ejection seat of the Soviet design was replaced by a rearward hinged canopy jettisoned before the ejection of domestic Chinese design. To avoid confusion with a later model also designated as F-7C, some Chinese documents also use the designation of F-7W, with W stands for Wai-Mao-Xing (外贸型, meaning foreign trade version), but this designation was not used internally in CAC/GAIC. By end of 1982, 40 delivered to EAF. A further 15 were later delivered to USAF as aggressors to simulate MiG-21. 4 were also given to Zimbabwe as military aid, and they were initially piloted by Pakistani pilots.
- F-7B: Further development of F-7IIC, with Hangjia-10-11 gun camera added, LSC-16C main landing wheel replaced previous ones, DH-1030-24-1200-CS-IIB static converter from American Phoenix Aerospace is adopted in order to meet the power requirement. New engine WP-7IIB (M batch) doubled service life to 600 hours. Experience of deploying R.550 Magic by Egyptian F-7IIC revealed that the French AAM generates much more smoke when launched, and when the smoke is sucked into engine, it could cause engine to stop dead. A continuous ignition system is added to ensure the engine would be still running when launching R.550 Magic AAM. Furthermore, the fuel to start the engine is changed to kerosene from gasoline, thus simplifying logistics and increased reliability of the engine. The first customer Jordan required China to provide service life expectancy for all onboard subsystems, which was never done in China before, so efforts were spent to meet the requirement, resulting in confirmation of the service life expectancy of Chinese onboard subsystems reached at least 60% of that of original Soviet MiG-21. By November 1982, all 20 delivered to Jordan, and later given to Iraq. 22 were also sold to Sudan, and 90 sold to Iraq. General designer of F-7B is Mr. Peng Ren-Yin (彭仁颖).
- J-7II drone towing jet: J-7II converted for target towing, with belly tank replaced by Type Aerial Drone (空靶) 4 aerial drone for antiaircraft guns or aircraft gunnery practice.
- J-7IIS: Stealth research aircraft (serial # 137) used to explore measures to reduce radar cross section without change the shape of existing airframe. Results revealed that measures can be taken to increase stealth without altering the shape of the aircraft, but new design of airframe would be more efficient.
- J-7II HUD testbed: Testbed was needed to provide side-by-side comparison of various head-up display (HUD)s so a J-7II is converted in September 1986 to do so. Tested British Type 956 HUDWAC and its Chinese license built version designated as JT-1 for J-7s, larger HK13 HUDs and other HUDs for other aircraft.
- J-7IIH: Upgraded J-7II with GJ3-D general purpose MLR that can also PL-8 in addition to older PL-2 and PL-5. Since PL-8 is 60% heavier than PL-2, weight is added in the fore section of fuselage to balance the change of center of gravity. Maneuverability is thus decreased a little. Type 941-4 decoy launcher is added, which was the first time ECM measures adopted for J-7s. General designers were Mr. Lu Yu-Ying (陆育英) and Mr. Song Kai-Ji (宋开基). When production ended in 1993, a total of 221 were built.
- J-7H: Renamed J-7IIH with redesigned rear fuselage section to withstand the higher temperature of the new engine.
- J-7HH: PLANAF J-7H with magnesium alloy replaced by aluminum alloy to better withstand salinity and humidity.
J/F-7M Air Guard seriesEdit
J/F-7M Air Guard series is the one with the most numerous models within the series. Originally intended for domestic use but the plan was cancelled after the budget was cut, the series became a major export success, and received the name Air Guard. Most models of the series are equipped with British avionics, which are later produced in China as part of the technology transfer deal. The general designer of most models of within the series is the same one of J-7I & J-7II, Tu Jida. Due to the need to meet the urgent delivery schedule of the first customer, it was decided to take a multipronged approach to speed up the development: Several different kinds of prototypes were developed to test different subsystems of the aircraft. Program first initiated at the end 1978 and negotiation begun on March 3, 1979. After 10 rounds of negotiation that lasted 16 months, deal was signed on June 30, 1980, which included technology transfer. The entire J-/F-7M Air Guard program took six years to complete, and various models produced are listed below:
- J-7M: prototype of F-7M with a total of 2 built, which were completed before the delivery of British avionics. Used to test newly designed fuselage, landing gear system and wings of F-7M. The outer wing pylons are modified to carry rockets and bombs in addition to 480 liter wing tanks. Another task of these 2 prototypes is to evaluate flight characteristics of the design. At least one unit would be later be converted to J-7MG avionics testbed. British avionics was later added for tests after China received the delivery from Great Britain.
- J-7M AAM & engine testbed: 2 J-7Bs converted to J-7M engine & AAM testbed to test newly designed engine and AAM launching systems of F-7M.
- J-7M fuel & payload testbed: 2 J-7IIs converted to J-7M fuel & payload testbed to test newly designed fuel system and payloads such as weaponry of F-7M.
- J-7IIA: Originally technology demonstrator of J-7 with British avionics intended for domestic use, in September 1982, Tu Jida was named as general designer of this model. When the projected is redirected as for export, it became avionics testbed of F-7M. A total of 2 built to test British avionics. The most distinct characteristic of this model is that it was equipped with British Type 956 HUDAWAC, and British Sky Ranger ranging radar replaced original Chinese ranging radar. Other British avionics adopted were collectively known as MADS-7 Avionics electronic defense system. A total of 3 were built, and during the test, one of them was flown to Seoul Air Base in South Korea on August 7, 1983 by defector Sun Tianqin, and the aircraft was later returned to China after Sun was sent to Taiwan on August 24 of the same year.
- Pakistan contributed greatly to the J/F-7M program: although Pakistan did not purchase any F-7M and later returned all 20 F-7M's to China after evaluation to require China to provide a better fighter (which eventually resulted in F-7MP and F-7P), Pakistan did provide important support for F-7M program, after the then Vice Chief of the Air Staff of Pakistani Air Force (PAF) Air marshal Jamal A. Khan inspected prototypes in test flights in July 1983 at Dalian. Pakistani contribution includes:
- In the last quarter of 1982, test flights revealed that the radar was plagued by the problem of picking up ground clutter. China did not have any Western radar assisted air-to-ground attack experience, and had no idea of conducting the necessary flight tests specifically designed for the Western avionics to solve the problem. Pakistani Air Force provided pilots (including F-16 pilots) to China to assist these tests and helped in solving this problem. The test results eventually lead British to later provide a new radar Sky Ranger 7M for F-7M, which is an upgraded Sky Ranger radar with an additional circuitry to filter ground clutter.
- Chinese 630th Institute responsible for F-7M program lacked the facility and experience to conduct live round weapon tests with advanced Western avionics, and it also lacked the capability to conduct mocked air combat with Western aircraft. Therefore, from June, 1984 to September, 1984, two F-7Ms were sent to PAF Base Peshawar to conduct such tests. Pakistan Air Force (PAF) once again provided F-16 pilots to help to complete the tests, with the Chinese team in Pakistan led by Chen Baoqi (陈宝琦) of the Chinese Aviation Ministry and Xie Anqing (谢安卿) of Chengdu Aircraft Co.
- J-7M composite testbed: Due to lighter western avionics adopted, the center of gravity of the aircraft had shifted. As an alternative approach to rebalance the center of gravity by adding weight at the forward fuselage, reduction of weight in the rear section of fuselage by adopting composite material was attempted. A single prototype with vertical tail built of composite material was built for evaluation. Utilizing composite material had proven not only achieving weight reduction, but also greatly simplified production process and significantly increased the service life of the component. However, although the result is satisfactory when tests concluded in 1986, composite material was not adopted due to the Chinese technological bottleneck in the 1980s, because the manufacturing of composite material at the time was extremely difficult and costly for Chinese industries. Experience gained from utilizing composite material on J-7M would later help China to achieve greater utilization of composite material on later aircraft.
- F-7M: Series production version of the series with Peng Renying (彭仁颖) as the general designer. Due to lighter western avionics, additional 130 kg is added in the forward fuselage to balance out the change of center of gravity, when it was decided not to use composite material. Service life of subsystems onboard reached 75% of that of Soviet. Can be visually distinguished from its prototype in that the VHF atop of the vertical tail of J-7IIA removed on F-7M. 60 delivered to Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) in May 1985, subsequently transferred to Iraq. A single unit was sold to USAF to play the aggressor role along with 15 F-7IIC delivered earlier. Various western avionics (later license produced in China) includes:
- British Sky Ranger 7M ranging radar: Original Sky Ranger radar upgraded with an additional circuitry to filter ground clutter. Has a parabolic antenna and weighs 41 kg with a range of 15 km.
- British Type 956 HUDAWAC: This HUD has a built-in weapon aiming computer, hence the name Head-Up Display And Weapon Aiming Computer.
- Poor quality of domestic Chinese canopy interferes with the performance of HUD, so British canopy was used.
- British avionics collectively known as MADS-7 electronic defense system.
- British Type 50-048-02 digitized air data computer
- British Type 2032 camera gun, which is linked to HUD with capability to interchange rolls of film while airborne. Each roll of film lasts more than 2 minutes
- American converter that is over 30% more efficient in comparison to the original Chinese converter.
- American Type 0101-HRA/2 radar altimeter with range increased to 1.5 km in comparison to the original 0.6 km of the Chinese radar altimeter it had replaced.
- British AD-3400 secured radio with range in excess of 400 km at 1.2 km altitude.
- Other improvement includes domestic newly designed CW-1002 air data sensor developed in conjunction with the Western avionics, and WP-7B/WP-7BM engine.
- F-7IIK: cheaper version of F-7M, which is J-7IIH with wings of F-7M, but domestic Chinese avionics, including some, but not all of those on F-7M. Avionics unique to this model includes: Type 602 IFF, Type SRT-651C radio, Type GG-15 integrated altimeter system, Type XJ-6 g sensor. 10 delivered to Myanmar in 1990.
- F-7BK: Renamed F-7IIK with redesigned rear fuselage section to withstand the higher temperature of the new engine. 48 delivered to Myanmar by 1999, and reportedly, the 10 F-7IIK delivered earlier were subsequently updated to this standard.
- F-7BS: F-7BK equipped with WP-7II Batch BM Type IV engine. Lacks HUD, so domestic Chinese canopy were used. 4 delivered to Sri Lanka in Oct 1991.
- F-7IIN: cheaper version of F-7M for Zimbabwe, which is a J-7II with engine, wings, fuel & weapons systems of F-7M. Due to the tropical climate of Zimbabwe, cockpit air condition system was improved while helmet warming system and deicing system were removed along with IFF. 8 delivered to Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) in 1987.
- F-7BN: Renamed F-7IIN for AFZ after reworking the rear fuselage section to withstand the higher temperature of the new engine.
- F-7MB: F-7M derivative for Bangladesh with WP-7IIC replaced WP-7IIB (Batch BM) engine, and LJ-2 Radar warning receiver (RWR)s. Photo reconnaissance pods can be carried on wing pylons, and belly pylon is modified to carry Type 3A aerial target in addition to belly tank. The flight instrumentation panel modified accordingly to operate these equipments. 14 delivered to Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) in October 1989.
- F-7N: Improvement version of F-7MB for Iran. Radio compass is replaced by AD2780 TACAN. Metric units replaced by British units on all displays. 30 delivered to Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) in 2 batches at the end of 1990 and early 1991 respectively.
- J-7IIM: Domestic Chinese version of F-7M, with additional capability to be armed with PL-7 and PL-8 AAM, so Type 956 HUDWAC modified to incorporate parameters for these AAM. As with J-7H, additional weight is also added in the forward section of the fuselage to rebalance the center of gravity, which is changed due to heavier PL-8. Delivery begun in 1986.
F-7MP/P Sky Bolt seriesEdit
Pakistan did not purchase any F-7M and later returned all 20 F-7Ms to China after evaluation to require China to provide a better fighter, which eventually resulted in F-7MP/P Sky Bolt series (PAF does not distinguish the two types from each other after F-7MP is upgraded to F-7P, and refer both as Sky Bolt). Evaluation by PAF has led to the conclusion that with the exception of range, F-7 Sky Bolt series outperforms Dassault Mirage 5 in every aspect. The initial improvements over the original F-7M required by PAF totaled 24, making the F-7MP/P sufficiently distinct from earlier F-7M series to form a series of its own:
- F-7MP: Development of F-7M tailored for Pakistan. 24 improvements over F-7M including using Martin-Baker Mk 10 ejection seat to replace HTY-2 on F-7M, Rockwell Collins AN/ARC-164 & 186 radio, AN/APX-101 IFF, LJ-2 RWR, and more advanced oxygen supply system than that of earlier F-7M. Because F-7MP carries more western weaponry, the software of Type 956 HUDWAC is upgraded to include parameters for these weapons. The outer wing pylons are modified to fire AAM in addition to rockets and bombs. F-7MP was initially equipped with the Italian FIAR Grifo-7 fire control radar license assembled by the ISO - 9002 certified Kamra Avionics, Electronics and Radar Factory of the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC). The 55 km range Grifo-7 radar weighs 50 kg and its introduction on F-7MP making it the 1st export version of F-7 series to be an all-weather fighter. This model is also the first to be upgraded with a Chinese helmet mounted sight (HMS), which greatly enhanced the capability in dogfights, and all F-7 fighters delivered thereafter to Pakistan are equipped with a such HMS. General designer Lu Yu-Ying (陆育英) and Peng Ren-Yin (彭仁颖). All 20 delivered to PAF on July 26, 1988.
- F-7P: Further improvement of F-7MP for Pakistan with HTY-4 ejection seat. 2 more outlet of air conditioning on the instrumentation panel to increase the efficiency. New RWR replaced LJ-2 RWR. Grifo-MK-II fire control radar replaced Grifo-7 fire control radar on earlier F-7MP. In comparison to the Grifo-7, the new radar only weighs an extra 1 kg (56 kg total), but the sector of scan was increased to ±20 degrees from the original ±10 degrees of Grifo-7. The newer radar also had improved ECM and look-down and shoot-down capability, and can track 4 targets simultaneously while engage one of four targets tracked. Like earlier Grifo-7, Grifo-Mk-II is also license assembled by the ISO - 9002 certified Kamra Avionics, Electronics and Radar Factory of the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC). Metric units is also changed to British units for all displays. Delivery of 40 to PAF begun in Sept 1989.
- Super-7: General designer is Tu Jida. After a successful deal with Chinese in the early 1980s resulting in the F-7M, the United Kingdom offered a further upgrade to improve the performance of the F-7M by adopting either General Electric F404 or Pratt & Whitney PW 1120 turbofan engines. The radar options would include the Red Fox, a repackaged version of the Blue Fox radar used on Sea Harrier FRS Mk 1, or the Emerson AN/APG-69. Although radar tests were successful, the upgrade was rejected before any engine tests, because a single western fire control radar or a single American engine had cost more than a new J-7 (2 million United States Dollars, 1984 price).
J-7III series are the first J-7s to be equipped with fire control radar and thus the first all-weather fighter models of J-7s. However, due to the limitation of Chinese avionics industry in the 1980s, the performance of the domestic Chinese fire control radars were not satisfactory, because due to their relatively large size, the nosecone had to be enlarged, resulting in decrease in aerodynamic performance of the series. As a result, only very limited numbers of this series were built.
- J-7III: Prototype of J-7C, with a total of 5 built with equipped with domestically developed HTY-3 ejection seat and KL-11 auto pilot. Reverse engineered MiG-21MF obtained from Egypt, but just like the Soviet ejection seat, the original Soviet radar failed to impress Chinese, so a domestic Chinese radar was developed named as JL-7. JL-7 is a 2 cm wavelength mono pulse fire radar weighing 100 kg, with a maximum range of 28 km, and MTBF is 70 hours. Had to be powered by WP-7 engine because intended WP-13F failed to meet the original schedule. General designer Wang Shou-Nan (王寿南), later succeeded by Song Wen-Cong (宋文骢). Planned to enter service in 1985 but due to the delay of WP-13 development, it was not until 1987 when the design was finally certified.
- J-7C: renamed production version of J-7III powered by WP-13F. Equipped with Type 481 data link, which enables the ground-controlled interception centers to feed directions directly to the autopilots of the aircraft to fly "hands off" to the interception, and Type 481 data link was latter included as standard equipment of all later models for domestic use. A total of 17 built in the production run lasted from 1989 thru 1996.
- J-7IIIA: prototype of J-7D. General designer was Mr. Wang Zi-fang (王子方). Equipped with KJ-11A auto pilot, JD-3II TACAN, ADS-1 air data computer, Type 563B INS, WL-7A radio compass, Type 256 radar altimeter, TKR-122 radio, 930-4 RWR, 941-4A decoy launcher, JL-7A radar. Armed with PL-7 & PL-8 AAM and twin 23 mm gun. HK-13A HUD replaced HK-03D optical sight in earlier models. The upgraded JL-7A fire control radar has look-down/shoot-down capability added. Equipped with WP-13F engine because WP-13FI was not certified until October 1994.
- J-7D: renamed production version of J-7IIIA with WP-13FI engine. Initial certification received in November 1994, but it was not until more than a year later in December 1995 when the model was finally fully certified due to the need to certify WP-13FI on the aircraft. A total of 32 built when production stopped in 1999.
F-7C series is the first J-7 series to adopt side air-intake design with intention to house more powerful radar in the nosecone with increased the size. Project first begun in 1985 but none of the series has entered production. The general designer of this series is Tu Jida.
- F-7C: Original successor of Super 7 with side air-intake and domestic Chinese engine and avionics. Evolved into F-7CP after more than 3000 wind tunnel tests, because domestic Chinese aerospace industry and avionics industry in the 1980s could not provide product at par with that of west. Was kept a cheaper alternative to F-7CP for a while before the cancellation of all F-7C series.
- F-7CP: CP stands for China Pakistan. Basically a F-7C with western avionics and engine. A 1:1 metal mockup was built before evolved into F-7S Saber II.
- F-7S Sabre II: Successor to F-7CP jointly developed by CAC and Grumman. In comparison to its predecessor, the intake of Sabre II forms a 10° angle and the wings are changed to trapezoid shape with leading-edge extension, resulting in greatly improving aerodynamic performance. General Electric AN/APG-67 radar on F-20 Tigershark would have been adopted.
J-7E series is a series of day time fighter of J-7 that utilizing double delta wing which greatly improved maneuverability. It was decided that in order to maintain good maneuverability, the series would not be equipped with fire control radar and medium range AAMs. Equipped with only ranging radar and close range AAM, J-7E series are still daytime fighter. New features of this series includes utilization of carbon-carbon composite brake that quadrupled the service life to more than a thousand landings, utilization of aluminum-lithium alloy that reduces weight by 17%, and pressure ground fueling system replaced gravity ground fueling system that drastically reduced the time of fueling by 80% to 6 minutes from the original half an hour. Deletion of the portside gun resulted in increase of fuel capacity by 100 liters, and the ammo for the starboard side gun is reduced to 60 rounds. WP-13F engine increased mean time between overhaul (MTBO) to 300 hours and service life to 900 hours. Maximum payload is increased to 1.6 ton. Newer avionics replaced the older ones on earlier J-7's. The general designer of J-7E series was Mr. Lu Yu-Ying (陆育英).
- J-7IV: Prototype of J-7E with production of the prototypes begun in October 1987, and test flights finally completed in May 1993, three years after started. In addition to other problems, domestic Chinese JT-1 HUD was proven especially problematic and malfunctioned frequently during the flight tests.
- J-7E: Renamed production version of J-7IV with problems exposed by prototypes being stamped out, such as aileron flutter, automatic pitching, lateral Dutch roll, and that of HUD. This model is equipped with a Chinese version of Italian Pointer 2500 ranging radar originally used on Q-5M, modified to fit into the nosecone of J-7E. Pointer 2500 ranging radar is a development of Pointer ranging radar used on the initial production version of AMX International AMX, which in turn, is a licensed Italian copy of Israeli Elta EL/M-2001B pulse Doppler ranging only radar. More than 260 were built when production stopped in 2001.
- J-7EB: Unarmed version for PLAAF August 1 Aerobatic Team with B for Biao-yan (表演, meaning perform/show in Chinese). Gun, pylons and fire control avionics deleted. 12 delivered in 1994, another 12 delivered between 1999 and 2000, all 24 are equipped with HTY-6 ejection seats. After reequipping August 1 aerobatic team with more advanced J-7GB, all 24 J-7EBs were rearmed and returned to active service.
- J-7EH: naval version of J-7E with additional measure to counter salinity and humidity.
- J-7L: J-7E upgrade. Due to the inherent difference between J-7E and its successor J-7G, not all of the approximately three dozen improvements J-7G has over J-7E can be retrofitted to J-7E during the upgrade of the latter. Instead, only a small portion of the improvements J-7G had over J-7E can be retrofitted to J-7E, and the most significant of these is the incorporation of the fire control radar of J-7G to J-7E, which gives the latter the all-weather capability. The designation L stands for Lei-da (雷达), meaning radar in Chinese, signifying the model is equipped with a fire control radar.
J/F-7F series is an alternative development to earlier F-7C series in that the series inherits the design characteristic of eliminating the nose intake, but instead of side intakes adopted by the F-7C series, J/F-7F series utilizes under-chin intake. This series is mainly intended for research on under-chin intakes and has not entered series production.
- J-7F: JF-7 program begun in 1995 and it is the first J-7 design to utilize under-chin intake, which is identical to that of Vought F-8 Crusader. No prototype was built before the design evolved into J-7FS.
- J-7FS: Developmental technology demonstrator built by CAC as the successor of earlier J-7F, with S stands for Shi-yan (试验, meaning experimental in Chinese). JF-7S utilizes WP-13IIS engine and a redesigned under-chin inlet similar to that of Vought XF8U-3 Crusader III, with a divider inside the intake. The most obvious visual characteristic of the intake is that the bottom of the intake extends forward, thus forming an angle to the fuselage instead of being perpendicular to the fuselage like that of F-8 Crusader and J-7F design. First flew in 1998, only two prototypes were built before being replaced by J-7MF.
- F-7MF: Successor of the J-7FS, with rectangular under-chin inlet similar to that of the Eurofighter Typhoon, and movable canards for better aerodynamic performance. No prototypes were ever built before the project being abandoned in favor of the FC-1.
MiG-21 upgrade subcontractEdit
In the 1990s, export of F-7 series had significantly dropped from its peak in the 1980s when China failed to secure any new orders in the decade. However, China was successful in completing two deals for MiG-21 and F-7 upgrades by Israeli Elbit Systems as its subcontractor, and experience gained from these subcontracting jobs enabled China to later develop BVR capable J-7 models.
- MiG-21 LancerR-A: In the early 1990s, Elbit proposed MiG-21 LanceR (R for Romania) as its bid to upgrade Romanian MiG-21. However, Russia refused to provide any technical data/information of MiG-21 that was necessary to integrate Israeli avionics to the Soviet airframe, because Israeli bid was in direct competition with MiG-21-93, Russia's own upgrade proposal. Elbit turned to China for help and part of the deal between China and Israel was that China would receive technology transfer of Israeli avionics. Eventually, Elbit beat the Russian and won the Romanian MiG-21 upgrade deal, and the first MiG-21 LanceR begun made its maiden flight on August 22, 1995. MiG-21 LanceR-A is the first model of MiG-21 LanceR family and it is a ground attack version that is armed with LITENING electro-optical targeting pod. A single MFD is added to the flight instrumentation. Chinese electro-optical targeting pod based on LITENING is designated as DC-1.
- MiG-21 LancerR-C: MiG-21 LanceR-C is the air defense version of the MiG-21 LanceR series, with maiden flight on November 6, 1996. Equipped with EL/M-2032 airborne fire control radar, this model has two MFDs on its flight instrument. In addition to provide the technical data needed, the Research Institute for Special Structures of Aeronautical Composite (RISAC, 中航工业济南特种结构研究所) of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) also supplied the nosecone radar radome built of composite material. More than one Chinese radar development houses have benefited from the technological transfer of EL/M-2032 radar, such as Nanjing Institute of Electronic Technology (南京电子技术研究所, which is also commonly known as the 14th Institute), China Electronics Technology Group Corporation No. 38 Research Institute (中国电子科技集团公司第三十八研究所, which is also commonly known as the 38th Institute), and of the Radar and Electronic Equipment Research Academy of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) (中航工业雷达与电子设备研究院, which is also more commonly known as the 607th Institute).
- MiG-21-2000 for Myanmar: At the 6th Aviation Expo China held in Beijing, Elbit offered China a further upgraded MiG-21 designated as MiG-21-2000 to upgrade Chinese J-7s. Unit price would start at 4 million US dollars and will decrease by half as more Chinese made components are used when Chinese aerospace industry got more involved in the program. Although China did not accept the deal due to financial constraints, it did participate in the Israeli upgrade of Chinese built F-7s in Myanmar two years later, though detail is sketchy. Besides the fact that nobody else knows the F-7s better than Chinese themselves who built them first place, there was also an important political consideration. Myanmar was under comprehensive sanctions by US and EU due to its human rights records, such as its response to Rohingya insurgency in Western Myanmar that was criticized by many including 7 Nobel Peace Prize laureates as genocide was one of the major reasons for Israeli repeated denial of any military links with Myanmar. China, in its capacity as a subcontractor when Elbit won a contract in 1997 to upgrade its F-7 fleet, would also be an agent/proxy for Israel, while gaining access to Israeli technology to develop its own upgrades of J-7s later on. A total of 36 Myanmar F-7 reportedly were upgraded. However, the exact detail and business arrangement remains unclear because both China and Israel have not disclosed any detailed information.
After nearly a decade long hiatus on the internal military aircraft market in the 1990s, China attempts to return by marketing the F-7MG series fighters based on the J-7E series. As with earlier J/F-7M series, in order to speed up the development, it was decided to first develop different prototypes each with a different tasks of trials.
- J-7MG avionics testbed: A single J-7M with serial number 0143 was converted for testing avionics of J-7MG. Avionics tested included Type KTR-908 and 909 radios, Type KNR-634A navigation system, Type KTU-709 TACAN, Type KDF-806 compass, Instrument landing system (ILS). This J-7MG avionics testbed is the only model of J/F-7MG series without the double delta wing. Initially, the program was not funded by the Chinese government, so the 30 million ¥ needed was jointly funded by CAC, Guizhou Liyang Aeroengine Co., Ltd. and China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC) using companies' own money.
- J-7MG: prototypes of F-7MG, with avionics tested on J-7MG avionics testbed and double delta wings of J-7E. A total of 2 were built, with serial numbers 0142 and 0144. British GEC-Marconi that provided avionics for earlier J/F-7M once again was selected to provide airborne radar for the J-7MG series, and this time the British firm provided Super Sky Ranger (SSR) radar with planar slotted array antenna capable of scanning ±30°, and it is an upgraded version of earlier Sky Ranger / Sky Ranger 7M ranging radars with parabolic antenna used on J/F-7M. SSR can be hooked up wither by ARINC 429 or MIL-STD-1553 data buses, and it provides both air-to-air and air-to-ground ranging.
- F-7MG: Development of J-7MG, with a single piece windscreen replaced the 3-piece of J-7MG. Evolved to F-7BG.
- F-7BG: F-7MG for Bangladesh with both the wing reconnaissance pod carrying capability and capability to carry aerial drone under the fuselage of earlier F-7MB retained. 12 delivered in 2006. F-BG would later be upgraded with Italian Grifo-Mk-II radar.
- F-7NM: F-7MG derivative for Namibia, 6 delivered in 2005.W/ domestic Chinese fire control radar either SY-80 series by (中航工业雷达与电视设备研究院) or KLJ-6E fire control radar by the 14th research institute, but the exactly which one of the two is not confirmed by China. Both fire control radars have almost identical performance, such as both have a range of around 30 km and weights around 60 kg. China decided to have both radars entering series production and distribute them among different orders of F-7s. If F-7NM is equipped with SY-80A series radar, then F-7NI would be equipped with KLJ-6E, and conversely, if F-7NM is equipped with KLJ-6E radar, then F-7NI would be equipped with SY-80A series radar.
- F-7NI: F-7MG derivative for Nigeria with 12 delivered. Chinese sources have confirmed that F-7NI differs from F-7NM only in avionics, but has failed to identify exactly which fire control radar is used on which model, thus if the former is equipped with SY-80A series radar, the later would be equipped with KLJ-6E radar, and conversely, if the former is equipped with KLJ-6E radar, the latter would be equipped with SY-80A series radar. Practice of concurrent production of two different radars with nearly identical performance is to keep both production lines running so that different vendors' known how would not be lost.
Although SSR radar is more advanced than its predecessor Sky Ranger 7M, it remains a ranging radar, which PAF was not satisfied with. To meet Pakistani requirement of more complicated airborne radar, a fire control radar was needed. In addition, PAF also required other improvements over the original J-7MG, which resulted in J/F-7PG series.
- J-7PG: prototype of F-7PG equipped with Grifo-MG radar that replaced Super Sky Ranger radar. Equipped with GPS, Chinese HTY-6M ejection seat and a new onboard oxygen supply system. As with J-MG, there's an addition gun on the portside to increase firepower. Other avionics upgrade includes a new ARW9101 RWR can store more than 100 threats, along with other newly designed system.
- F-7PG: production version of J-7PG, with a single piece windscreen replaced the 3-piece of J-7PG. First batch of 20 were delivered at the end of 2001, with a total of 57 eventually delivered to PAF.
J/F-7G series is the further development of earlier J-7E series. Contrary to many frequent but erroneous claims, the fire control radar is not the Chinese development of EL/M-2001B radar, because EL/M-2001B is a pulse Doppler ranging only radar. Instead, the Chinese fire control radar for J-G is developed from EL/M-2032 fire control radar China obtained from Israel when it was a subcontractor for Elbit in the Romanian MiG-21 LanceR program described above.
- J-7G: Upgraded J-7E with more than 30 improvements with Mr. Song Cheng-Zhi (宋承志) as the general designer. Equipped HOTAS and a Chinese derivative of EL/M-2032. However, due to the inherit limitation of the small size of the nosecone, the antenna size of EL/M-2032 has to be greatly reduced, resulting in the drastic decrease of the original 150 km range of EL/M-2032 by approximately 60% to slightly more than 60 km. Development begun in March 2002 and completed in July 2004, with delivery begun in Nov 2004.
- J-7GB: J-7G derivative for August 1 aerobatic team. Replacement for J-7EB begun in 2004
- F-7TN: Cheaper version of J-7G for Tanzania with KLJ-6E fire control radar with 30 km range.
- F-7GS: Cheaper version of J-7G for Sri Lanka with other avionics specifically to meet requirements of Sri Lanka, and these modifications include:
- A new head-up display (HUD) with a new Stores Management System, which is essentially a useful cockpit-pilot interface to help establish the status of stores including configuration, fusing and weapon codes etc. A voice warning system, color video recorder, elaborate cockpit lighting (Night Vision Goggle Compatible) and a more precise and jitter free AOA probe, GPS and inertial navigation system (INS). GMAv AD 3400 UHF/VHF multifunction com, Type 605A (`Odd Rods` type) IFF, KLJ-6E pulse Doppler radar with a range of 30 km. WL-7 radio compass, 0101 HR A2 altitude radio altimeter, LTC-2 horizon gyro, XS-6 marker beacon receiver, VOR, Distance Measure Equipment (DME), Instrument Landing System (ILS), tactical aircraft navigation (TACAN) system and an improved Type 8430 air data computer with HOTAS.
- The new HUD developed by Norinco subsidiary North Electro-optic Co., Ltd. (北方光电股份有限公司) provides pilot with displays for instrument flying, with air-to-air and air-to-ground weapon aiming symbols integrated with flight-instrument symbology. It can store 32 weapon parameter functions, allowing for both current and future weapon variants. In air-to-air combat its four modes (missiles, conventional gunnery, snap shoot gunnery, dogfight) and standby aiming reticule allow for all eventualities. VCR and infrared cockpit lighting on the F-7GS is to be used with a Chinese (Cigong Group) Helmet Mounted Sight (HMS) slaved to the PL-9 AAM. The new air data computer coupled with the new HUD in the air-to-ground mode is capable of projecting both Constantly Computed Impact Points (CCIP) and Constantly Computed Release Points (CCRP).
F-7BG upgraded with J-7G technology for Bangladesh. Unlike other cheaper and downgraded export variants of J-7G, the F-7BGI (I for Improved) is in fact more advanced than J-7G it is developed from. Improvements of F-7BGI over F-7BG such as 3 MFDs and more powerful fire control radar would in turn, incorporated to J-7G2 developed later. The capability of F-7BGI is greatly improved over earlier F-7BG resulted from upgrades listed below, and delivery of 16 was signed in 2011 and completed in 2013.
- F-7 BGI has a speed of Mach 2.2
- 7 Hard-points to carry air-to-air missiles, laser-guided bomb, GPS-guided bombs, drop tanks
- Full glass cockpit.
- can carry 3000 kg bomb, including Chinese laser-guided bombs.
- F-7 BGI has KLJ-6F radar Fire control Radar with 86 km+ Range which is near BVR or BVR considering what is the silver lining between them and can track 6 and engage 2 enemy aircraft simultaneously.
- F-7 BGI can carry C-704 Antiship Missiles (Therefore, maritime also possible)
- afterburner: F-7 BGI (82 kN) thrust
- Missiles procurement are currently unknown for F-7 BGI but they can fire the 70–75 km range PL-12,PL-11 and also PL-2, PL-5, PL-7, PL-8, PL-9, Magic R.550 and AIM-9 .
- F-7 BGI got J-7G2 Airframe with double [delta wing]. This improves the lift at high angles of attack and delays or prevents stalling.
- G-limit: +8 g / -3 g
- Service ceiling: 17,500 m (57,420 ft) for F-7 BGI
- 3 Multi functional HUD displays and HOTAS.
- Chinese Helmet Mounted Sights.
- Reportedly more maneuverable than most of the Mig21s and many of the other contemporary fighters.
- J-7G2: J-7G upgrade with KLJ-6F radar to increase range over 86 km, MFDs and other avionics first used on F-7BGI. Also able to incorporate conformal tanks.
JJ-7 trainer seriesEdit
J-7 trainer variants are Chinese developed trainer version for domestic Chinese uses, and this series is supplied to both PLAAF and PLANAF.
- JJ-7: Based on J-7II but is 40% different than J-7II,equipped domestic HTY-2 ejection seat, Type 226 ranging radar, and other domestic Chinese systems. Guns are deleted but belly pylon can carry semi-buried twin 23 mm gun. Program formally begun on January 4, 1984, with state certification received on February 4, 1988.
- JJ-7A: Improved JJ-7 including more advanced avionics such as HUD and FJ-1 data recorder. Improved air conditioning system. Development begun in Feb 1994, with state certification received on Dec 7, 1996.
- JJ-7 IR pod testbed: Converted JJ-7A carrying infrared electro-optical instrumentation pod under the fuselage to test airborne electro-optical pods developed. The complete name of the instrumentation system is Infrared measuring pod system (IRMPS) which has a diameter of 0.5 m, length 5.2 m, and weighs 450 kg.
FT-7 trainer seriesEdit
FT-7 trainer variants for export is characterized by the fact that nearly every trainer version is equipped with the same avionics and weaponry of its equivalent fighter version to minimizing transition process, and to maintain combat capability of the trainers.
- FT-7: export version of JJ-7 with Chinese replaced by English for all displays. Iran was first customer with order placed at the end of 1986. 8 more were to Jordan, and another 4 were delivered to Pakistan
- FT-7P: Improved FT-7 for Pakistan with fuselage increased 0.61 meter, and internal fuel capacity increased by 350 liter. General designer was Wu Bing-Lin (吴炳麟) and development begun in Mar 1989, with 15 delivered to PAF by 1991.
- FT-7B: F-7B export version for Egypt and Jordan.
- FT-7BB: Trainer version of F-7MB for Bangladesh with 8 delivered.
- FT-7BI: Trainer version of F-7B for Iraq. Due to the urgent need for the Iran–Iraq War, pylons of these trainers are rewired to carry French air-to-surface weaponry for ground attack missions. A total of 20 delivered in 1982.
- FT-7BS: Trainer version of F-7BS for Sri Lanka with 2 delivered.
- FT-7K: Trainer version of F-7IIK for Myanmar with at least half a dozen delivered.
- FT-7Z: Trainer version of F-7IIN for Zimbabwe with 2 delivered in 1986. It's not clear if these jets were military aid or sales.
- FT-7BZ: 2 FT-7Z converted in Zimbabwe in 1991 with reworked rear fuselage to withstand the higher temperature of the engine.
- FT-7N: Trainer version of F-7N for Iran with 4 underwing pylons and a total of 4 delivered.
- FT-7PG: Trainer version of F-7PG for Pakistan with 9 delivered.
- FT-7BG: Trainer version of F-7BG for Bangladesh with 4 delivered.
- FT-7NG: Trainer version of F-7NG for Namibia with 2 delivered.
- FT-7NI: Trainer version of F-7NI for Nigeria with 3 delivered.
- FT-7TN: Trainer version of F-7TN for Tanzania with 2 delivered.
- MiG-21 LancerR-B: Trainer version of MiG-21 LanceR-A and MiG-21 LanceR-C developed by Israeli firm Elbit to upgrade Romanian MiG-21s. China is not direct contractor but instead, a subcontractor to Elbit. Maiden flight of MiG-21 LanceR-B was made on May 6, 1996.
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