The fatal crash of an Su-27UBK fighter trainer of the China’s People Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in late March has called attention to the lack of advanced jet trainers for pilots of China’s third-generation fighters, the Su-27, J-10 and J-11. But although the L-15 has been under development by Nanchang-based Hongdu Aviation Industry Group (HAIG), there is no confirmation from within China that the PLAAF has placed a substantial production order.
Bangladesh and Vietnam are close to buying the Yakovlev Yak-130 advanced jet trainer, according to Russia’s weapons exporter, Rosoboronexport, but in other Asian countries the aircraft faces growing competition from China in the form of the Hongdu L-15. “There are no sales prospects for our aircraft in China, because the local engineers have developed their own design. Outwardly, the L-15 bears a distinct resemblance to the Yak-130,” said Sergei Kornev, head of the Rosoboronexport department for aviation.
China has ordered 250 AI-222-25F turbofans from the Ukraine to power production versions of the Hongdu L-15 advanced jet trainer.
Appearing for the first time outside China, the L-15 Falcon is at Dubai to promote its capabilities here in a region that offers significant market potential for advanced trainers. At the same time, the resurgent AVIC organization is highlighting its ability to provide total training solutions for modern air arms.