Warplanes: China Rules the Bargain Basement

Archives

March 1, 2006: Russia does not own the market for bargain basement warplanes, it still has to compete with China. A recent example of that was Bangladesh buying sixteen F-7s fighters from China. The aircraft, which are basically Chinese clones of the Russian MiG-21, are being sold for $6 million each. That's about a tenth of what a new F-16 would cost, or a fifth of what a used F-16 would cost. The F-16 is not ten times better than the F-7, but it's at least three times better. While the F-7 can carry the latest radars and air-to-air missiles, Bangladesh is not buying them to fight F-16s. No, Bangladesh wants some cheap, easy to maintain fighters to deal with more likely, and less well armed, opponents. These include nearby Burma and India, which both use the MiG-21. Burma operates F-7s, while India has Russian Mig-21s.

More immediate foes include Islamic terrorists, and some tribal separatists, who often operate from rural camps. These are best reached, and attacked, with something like the F-7.

The MiG-21 is a 1950s design. The Chinese copy, the F-7, first appeared in 1965. About a thousand of them are still in service (half of them in China), and China still produces about a hundred a year. The F-7 has a max takeoff weight of eight tons, and carries two 30mm cannon (with 60 rounds each) and two air-to-air missiles (or about a ton of rockets and bombs instead.)

 


Article Archive

Warplanes: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close