Chengdu F-7PG

Country of Origin: China
Type: Single seat fighter
Powerplant: One 33.83kN normal and 29.36kN with afterburner Liyang WP-14F turbojet.
Performance: Max indicated speed 1200km/h (745mph, 648kt). Min indicated speed 210km/h (130mph, 113kt) in level flight. Max initial rate of climb 38,400ft/min (195m/s). Operational ceiling 57,414ft (17500m). Hi-hi-hi air superiority mission with five minutes combat time in full a/b 850km (528 miles), with two AIM-9P AAMs, three 500-litre fuel tanks. Lo-lo-hi attack mission 550km (342 miles) with two Mk.82 bombs and two external tanks.
Weights: Empty 5275kg (11,630lb), max takeoff 8888kg (19,577lb).
Accommodations: Pilot only, except for two in tandem in Guizhou FT-7.
Armament: Two Type 30-1 30mm cannons. Max external oradnance of 1000kg (2205lb) on four underwing hardpoints and on centerline fuel tank station. Two inner inner hardpoints can carry PL-2, -2A, -7 or -8 infrareed guided AAMs, or Matra 550 Magic AAMs. Inner an outer pylons can carry rockets and GP bombs.
Operators: Bangladesh*, China, Pakistan, Zimbabwe*..
History: As the first of China's major new MiG-21 developments to appear, the J-7E/F-7MG was first revealed to the public at the November 1996 Zhuhai air show, with major MiG-21F-13 airframe and equipment upgrades. While retaining the central portion of the MiG-21's 57-deg. clipped delta wing, its area was increased by 8% to 267.8 sq. ft. by new tapered outer panels with only 42 deg. of sweep, and a 3-ft increase in overall span to 27.3 ft. In conjunction with maneuvering slats on the new tapered outer wings, and combat flap settings, designers say the increased wing area improves combat agility by 45%, together with gains in take-off, climb, ceiling and landing performance.

The J-7E/F-7MG retains the twin under-fuselage 30-mm cannon, each with only 60 rounds, of earlier F-7s, and features five external weapon stations. GEC's original Skyranger was initially replaced in the F-7MG by an upgraded GEC Marconi Super Skyranger full-function lightweight radar, using coherent technology to achieve scan, look-down and shoot-down capabilities. Provision has been reported for incorporation of Russia's UOMZ Shch-3UM-1 or Rafael's DASH helmet-mounted sights in the J-7E/F-7MGs' weapons systems, in conjunction with either Vympel's R-73E (AA-11 ''Archer''), or Rafael's Python 3 close-combat AAM, produced in China as the PL-8.

J-7Es have been in production and AF/PLA service since around 1993; nine are in service with the ''August 1'' national aerobatic team, replacing two-seat FT-5s (MiG-17Us) in 1995. Six of the team's J-7Es performed for the first time before Western observers at China's 1998 air show, and the type's first export orders were reported at Zhuhai last November. As a long-term customer for Chinese-built Soviet aircraft, the Pakistan air force bought 57 Chengdu F-7PG versions of the F-7MG, from overall requirements for up to 80 to replace its F-6s remaining in service.

Service with PAF: Pakistan took delivery of its first two batches of 20 F-7PGs from China in late December 2001. The PAF's new F-7PG fighters were scheduled to arrive in Karachi on 17 and 20 December aboard Chinese ships. A further batch of 8 fighters is to be delivered by early 2003 when they will undergo acceptance trials by the PAF.

Chinese specialists also arrived in the country in late December to oversee the aircraft's assembly. The shipments preceded the PAF's planned retirement from service of its remaining stock of around 40 1960's-era F-6 air-defence fighters on 23 March. This date was however delayed.

First deliveries of the new aircraft were slated for the 31st Fighter Wing at air force base Quetta/Samungli, with both batches to entering frontline service by April 2002 with No. 17 and 23 Squadron. Further batches are to equip a third squadron, possibly No. 2 Squadron with the 32nd Fighter/Ground Attack Wing at air force base Masroor. The F-7PG features improved avionics and a more powerful engine than the PAF's current inventory of F-7P 'Skybolt' fighters. PAF also ordered 6 two-seat Guizhou FT-7PGs to be delivered by 2003. However, these do not feature the double-delta wing design of the single-seat version. The service is understood to have ordered 54 aircraft from a requirement for up to 80 F-7PGs. The aircraft seems to be a stop gap measure procured in order to keep up the force levels with the retirement of the F-6 because the FC-1/Super-7 fighter ran into delays.

Some of the features of the F-7PG are a new two-piece canopy for improved all around vision from the cockpit. If the Grifo 7 radar is selected, it will feature 10 different air-air and air-ground modes. Other equipment includes Rockwell Collins ARN-147VOR/ILS, ARN-149 Automatic direction finder, Pro Line 2 DME-42 Distance measuring equipment and Thales Frequency hopping UHF radio

Contract completion for F-7PG had been delayed, pending choice of new radars for the fighters. Candidates are BAE Systems' Super Skyranger (SSR) pulse-Doppler version of the earlier Marconi Skyranger range-only radar, or a development of Alenia/FIAR Grifo 7. The Grifo is being produced under license at Pakistan's Kamra aircraft factory, but the SSR installation proposed by BAE Systems also includes an air data computer, head-up display, and hands-on-throttle-and-stick (HOTAS), plus a Vinten video recording system.

PAF Squadrons:
  • No. 17 'Tigers' Squadron
  • No. 23 'Talons' Squadron