2012-08-20 — Recently, the photos from Chinese Internet display super-low-altitude flight training of JH-7A “Flying Leopard” fighter-bombers which were flying in the mountains. According to these photos, the shooting position is inside the cockpit, and they must be one JH-7 fighter pilot’s “self-portrait” works.
According to PLA Daily, an aviation regiment of the South China Sea Fleet of the People’s Liberation Army Navy has decreased their flight altitude from 100 meters to 50 meters during their nighttime very-low-altitude shadow flights. It also extended the penetration time from 30 seconds to 26 minutes.
These pictures also show that JH-7 has great performance in low altitude penetrating because some JH-7As in pictures can keep flight altitude at about 100 meters, which is correlated with the aircraft’s radar to enable the terrain-following capability over the land and the ability to deliver the precision strike weapons. JH-7A also features an improved ‘glass cockpit’, with a head-up display (HUD) and two large LCD multi-functional displays (MFD).
In 2009, Chen Yijian, the chief designer of JH-7 and Academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering, says China has also already fixed problems with the JH-7 turbofan. Chen says that China’s research on turbofans is still lagging behind compared with some other countries, especially the turbofans of large aircrafts. But China has been calling for more research talents to help solve this problem and China began research on the WS-15 Qinling-2 Turbofan for JH-7 in 1998. The Qinling-2 Turbofan is an improvement on the WS-9 turbofan, with increased pre-heating temperatures on the turbines and reduced weight for greater efficiency. Tests on the Qinling-2 Turbofan in October 2008 were successful. It is now technically competitive to the late M53-P2 engine from France.
Reports on China’s intention to cooperate with aircraft engine makers in the UK and France to improve the performance of the turbofan of PLA fighter bomber JH-7, are denied by the chief designer of the aircraft.
In 2011, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il requested the Chinese government support the North with the latest in military weapons during his trip to China last May, but China turned down the request.
In 2011, a picture appeared on Chinese Internet displaying parts of an unknown combat plane standing at an aerodrome. The air scoop and part of the pilot’s cabin lamp, shown in the picture, resemble the shapes of fifth-generation plane parts and appear to be closely related to the Chinese J-20 prototype. However, this photo laterly was identified as fake picture produced by photoshop.