A new naval variant of the Guizhou Aviation Industry Corporation (GAIC) JL-9 Shanying advanced jet trainer (AJT) conducted its first flight on 12 May. The maiden flight took place at Anshun Huangguoshu Airport in China’s southern Guizhou Province, according to the company announced via its Weixin social media site. This “improved” variant, which is being developed under the company’s ‘Sea Mountain Eagle’ programme without providing further details about the two-seat, single-engined aircraft or linking the platform to carrier take-off and landing training.
The new ‘Sea Mountain Eagle’ variant, which was shown bearing PLAN Air Force (PLANAF) insignia. Initially speculated to be a carrier-operable aircraft, the new ‘Sea Mountain Eagle’ variant, still lacks a tailhook to allow it to land on an aircraft carrier. The major changes are in the tail assembly (with drogue parachute reportedly removed) and the apparent split surface air brakes on the tip of each wing. It is designed for ski-jump ramp takeoffs and simulated arrested landings (land-based) and includes a tailhook.
The Guizhou JL-9, also known as the FTC-2000 Mountain Eagle, is a two-seat supersonic fighter-trainer developed by the Guizhou Aviation Industry Corporation (GAIC) for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and the People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Force (PLANAF). GAIC is under the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). A carrier-landing trainer variant was revealed by Chinese state media in 2011 and designated as JL-9G.