Friday, October 14, 2011

VIDEO: Chinese JH-7 fighter bomber crashes at airshow

A Chinese-built Xi'an JH-7 Flying Leopard fighter-bomber has crashed during a demonstration at an airshow in Pucheng, Shaanxi Province in northern China. A video of the crash (see embedded video above) released by CCTV, China's state broadcaster, appears to show the aircraft suddenly departing controlled flight and plunging nose-first into the ground, resulting in a fireball. One crewmember was seen to eject, reportedly with injuries, however another pilot was reported as missing. More reports from The Bangkok Post and CNN.

The JH-7 is in service with both China's People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and the People's Liberation Army Navy Air Force (PLANAF). First entering service in the 1990s, the new type replaced the elderly Harbin H-5 (Ilyushin Il-28 'Beagle' copy) and Nanchang Q-5 (Chinese built derivative of the MiG-19/Shenyang J-6). Considered a relatively limited ground attack platform powered by locally manufactured derivatives of imported Rolls-Royce Spey engines, an improved variant, the JH-7A, introduced a lighter, composite platform, new avionics and radar, precision strike capability and increased payload. 114 aircraft have been built so far and serve in the precision attack and maritime strike roles.

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