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Hongdu Aviation Industry Group completes first L-15B lead-in fighter-trainer

Hongdu Aviation Industry Group (HAIG) rolled out its first L-15B lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) on Monday May 1, building upon the success of the L-15A advanced jet trainer (AJT).

The L-15-series is an AJT platform powered by two Motor Sich AI-222-25F afterburning turbofan engines. With a top speed of Mach 1.4, the L-15A can serve as a LIFT to bridge flight trainees to fighter flying as well as undertaking air-to-air and air-to-surface combat missions.

The L-15B retains the core of the L-15, but reportedly adds an updated onboard electronics suite with a passive electronically-scanned array (PESA) radar with a range of 75 km. Previous L-15B mock-ups have shown it equipped or compatible with dedicated electronic warfare (EW) jamming pods.

With a payload of 3,500 kg spread across nine hardpoints, the L-15B can utilize munitions such as the SD-10 active radar-guided beyond visual-range air-to-air missiles, LT-2 laser and LS-6 precision-guided bombs.

Besides the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), the L-15 has been adopted by the Zambian Air Force. The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has been working to market the L-15 as a dual training and entry-level fighter to the developing world. The L-15 competes for the same markets as the Aero Vodochody L-159 and Yakovlev Yak-130.

In parallel to the L-15B, the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) JF-17B is also aiming for the developing world LIFT and entry-level fighter markets. The availability of both the L-15B and JF-17B AVIC is able to position targeted solutions for prospective customer needs.