The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is modifying the Guizhou JL-9 FTC-2000 Mountain Eagle (Shanying) trainer jet to train aircraft carrier jet pilots on an actual in-service aircraft carrier, one of two that the People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Force (PLANAF) has. Reported by Weihutang, the JL-9’s developer, Guizhou Aviation Industry Corporation released images involved the JL-9 and an aircraft carrier operating together in edited pictures, leading to speculation that the JL-9 could eventually be modified into a carrier-based jet trainer with major modifications to the airframe and engine
Having been already delivered to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), the naval version of the JL-9 is now training aircraft carrier jet pilots on land-based airfields, but China still does not have an aircraft carrier-based trainer aircraft that can take off and land on an actual carrier. With China’s second aircraft carrier, the Shandong, China needs to train more pilots more efficiently, and a trainer aircraft that can operate on a carrier rather than a simulated airfield can contribute a great deal to this aim.
The Guizhou JL-9 Mountain Eagle, is a two-seat supersonic fighter-trainer developed by the Guizhou Aviation Industry Import/Export Company (GAIEC) for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and the People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Force (PLANAF). The Guizhou JL-9 is a multi-role combat fighter aircraft and one of the cheapest multirole fighters on the market with the aim to replace old legacy fighters like the J-7/F-7. It also features a diverterless supersonic inlet. It made its first flight in September 2018.