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November 4, 2006 10:29pm CST
The K-8 offers a state-of-art training platform for the pilots of the Pakistan Air Force. It is a milestone in the long history of close cooperation and technical collaboration between Pakistan and China. The $20 million K-8 advanced jet trainer has been jointly designed and produced by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), Kamra and China's Nanchang Aircraft Manufacturing Company (NAMC) and is manufactured at NAMC. Pakistan had earlier unilaterally developed a similar aircraft, but sought a partnership with China to further advance production and technology standards of that aircraft. The K-8 is a tandem-seat advanced jet trainer (AJT) with a low-set, unswept wing which has been co-produced by Pakistan and China. It first flew in 1991 and is intended to completely replace the T-37s in service with the PAF by 2005. The total order for the PAF may reach upto 100 aircraft. The K-8 can also be armed with air-to-air missiles for the airfield defence. The first batch of 6 K-8s (with Collins EFTS-86 MFD and Allied Signal TFE-731-2A turbofan) were delivered to the PAF in January 1995 and these second batch K-8s are optimized for the air defence role with the Chinese PL-7 underwing Sidewinder AAMs and a gun pod (23mm) under the fuselage. So far the PLAAF has not placed any order for the K-8 yet, probably because they are still seeking an alternative (non-U.S.) source to supply the powerplant. It has been reported that a turbofan in the same class of the TFE-731-2A (WS-11) is currently under development by Zhuzhou Power Machinery factory and a prototype of this engine has been tested on a K-8. The latest news suggests that China has ordered 30 Progress AI-25TL turbofans from Ukraine last March. They will be installed on the domestic K-8A intended for PLAAF. The K-8 project has been hampered by the US Government's refusal to sell more TFE-731-2A turbofans. So it is possible that both the PAF and the PLAAF may eventually end up with K-8s powered by indigenous (WS-11) or Ukrainian engines. The K-8 first flew in January 1991, powered by TFE 731-2A turbofan. It is also equipped with a ROCKWELL Collins flight instrumentation system, with two displays in the front and two in the rear cockpit. PAC Kamra is co-producing the K-8 and at least 6 examples are currently flying with the PAF. The K-8 will eventually replace all T-37 aircraft in PAF service and some 75 aircraft will eventually be delivered. The aircraft apart from being used as a trainer, can also be used for: (i) supplementary low level air base defence with 2 sidewinders; (ii) tactical armed reconnaissance; (iii) and ground attack armed AOP with four 250 lb. bombs or rockets Mission This aircraft is designed to provide all basic flying training, plus parts of the primary and advanced training syllabi, with capability also for light air-to-ground close support. Features K-8 is a two seat advanced jet trainer and light ground attack aircraft. It has a Collins EFIS-86 system in first 100 aircraft, incorporating CRT primary flight and navigation displays for each crew member plus dual display processing units and selector panels for tandem operations. Basic Specifications Primary Function: Advanced Jet Trainer and Wartime Light Attack Fighter. Manufacturer: PAC/NAMC (Pakistan/China) Powerplant: One Garrett TFE731-2A turbofan engine. Thrust: 16.01 kN (3,600 lb. st) Length: 34 feet 1.5 inches (10.40 metres) (38 feet or 11.6 meters with probe) Height: 13 feet 9.7 inches (4.21 metres) Maximum Takeoff Weight: 9,546 lbs. (4,330 kg) Wingspan: 31 feet, 7.2 inches (9.63 meters) Wing Area: 17.02 sq. metres Max. Speed: 497 mph (800 km/h at sea level) Ceiling: 43,600 feet (13,290 meters) Range: 1214 miles (2250 km) Armament: 2,080 lb. (945 kg) equivalent. One 23mm cannon under centre-fuselage, with self-computing optical gunsight in cockpit. 4 hardpoints - two external stores points under each wing - capable of carrying gun pods, rocket pods, bombs, missiles, auxiliary fuel tanks (inboard pair only), or a reconnaissance pod. Unit Cost: US $20 million Crew: Two in tandem.
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