The Chengdu Aircraft Industrial Group announced that its Xiaolong 04 fighter jet has passed the first round of inspections by the China Aviation Industry Corporation I. The company expects the plane to go into production in October and have its first test flight next April.
The test flight of its predecessor, the Xiaolong 03, took place this April.
The Tianfu Morning Post reports that the Xiaolong 04's structure is basically the same as that of the 03, although the newest model has two side inlets and its nose can accommodate large radar antennas.
The Xiaolong 04 can carry multiple air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, and it is capable of launching medium-range missiles and attacking multiple targets beyond visible range.
Its maximum flying range is 3,500 kilometers with an operational radius of over 1,200 kilometers.
The new plane reportedly matches the third generation of fighters in terms of overall combat effectiveness. With stealth capability, and capacity for interception as well as air-to-surface attacks, it can contend with advanced contemporary fighters.
The China Aviation Industry Corporation I reported that test flights on the Xiaolong 04's predecessors focused on performance, maneuverability, stress and stability. Inspectors will be looking primarily at aviation electronics and weapons in next year's test of the Xiaolong 04.
(People's Daily August 31, 2004)