Warplanes: May 1, 2002


China reports that its Xian Aircraft Company has completed development of the JH-7A fighter (an improvement over the previous JH-7) and will begin flight testing. The JH-7A will enter operational service in 2004. The JH-7A has several major improvements over the JH-7. It uses Rolls Royce Spey Mk-202 turbofan engines, has 11 hard points for weapons compared to seven, is built of composite materials, and lacks the JH-7's winglets. It will use the Russian AS-17 air-to-surface missile and the Russian KAB-500 laser-guided bomb. --Stephen V Cole


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