J-7 Fighter

J-7 fighter is Chinese interceptor-fighter based on Soviet MiG-21F-13 (Fishbed C).

In early 1961 the Soviet Union granted China licence manufacturing rights for the MiG-21F-13 tactical fighter and its Tumanskiy R11F-300 afterburning turbojet. In keeping with the licensing agreement three Fishbed-Cs were delivered to China as pattern aircraft, along with CKD kits for an initial batch of 20 fighters. Before the technology could be transferred in full, however, the rift between Moscow and Beijing occurred, and all co-operation in defence matters was broken off. Havinq an incomplete set of manufacturing documents, the Chinese nevertheless decided to launch MiG-21 production no matter what.

The new Aircraft Factory in Sichuan Province was selected to produce the Chinese MiG-21 F – Shenyang J-7 fighter. The aircraft received the local desig­nation Type 62 (later changed to J-7). In early 1964 the Guizhou Aircraft Factory (now called GAIGC) located in Kwangtung Province start­ed manufacturing J-7 airframe components, which were delivered to Chengdu for final assembly Meanwhile, the Guizhou Engine Factory (now called LMC – Liyang Motor Corp.) was gearing up to produce the R11F-300 engine; the licence-built version was designated WP-7. Typically of a new product, production entry was beset by quality prob­lems, and the 5,100 kgp (11,240 lbst) WP-7 initially had a time between overhauls of just 100 hours. The Shenyang J-7 fighter was armed with Type 30-1 cannons and PL-2 AAMs.

When Soviet technical assistance was cut off, it became clear that the commissioning of the Aircraft Factory would be delayed. Since the People’s PLAAF urgently needed the new fighter, J-7 production was temporarily transferred to the Shenyang Aircraft Factory.

Mastering production of such a complex aircraft proved to be quite a challenge. A stat­ic test airframe of entirely Chinese manufac­ture completed its test cycle in November 1965. On 17th January 1966 the first Shenyang J-7 fighter made its maiden flight at the hands of Ge Wenrong. In the course of the tests the fighter attained a top speed of Mach 2.02. Yet the type’s production career at Shenyang was brief due to the ‘Cultural Revolution’; the factory managed to complete only a dozen J-7s sans suffixe. These aircraft were almost identical to the Soviet-built MiG-21 F-13; the main differences lay in the temporary lack of missile armament and the fixed air intake centrebody (the Chinese had not received the part of the manufacturing documents concerned with the movable cen­trebody).

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