Beijing, Sep 29 (PTI) China’s indigenously-built new multi-role combat aircraft for exports has made its debut flight, the state-run media reported Saturday. Also Read - Europe Breathes Sigh of Relief as Italy & Spain Report Flattened Virus Curve

The FTC-2000G, a new multirole combat aircraft developed for export by the State-owned Aviation Industry Corp of China, (AVIC) made its debut flight on Friday in the southwest Guizhou province, state-run China Daily reported. Also Read - Trending News Today April 04, 2020: America Finally Comes up With Coronavirus Vaccine? International Poll of 6,000 Doctors Back Trump's Anti-Malaria Drug

The FTC-2000G aircraft flew for about 16 minutes. More than 1,000 people, including AVIC executives and provincial leaders as well as ambassadors and military attaches from several nations, took part in the ceremony marking the debut flight, it said. China in the recent past has developed a range of fighter jets including a stealth aircraft. It also jointly produces JF-Thunder aircraft with Pakistan. Also Read - Naples' Humanitarian Work of 'Supportive Basket' For Homeless Inspires Twitterati as Italy Struggles to Contain COVID-19

However, China is yet to develop an engine of its own for the jets and mostly imports it from Russia.

According to AVIC, the aircraft is tasked mainly with air strikes against ground targets.

The FTC-2000G is a fixed-wing, multi-role combat plane tasked mainly with airstrikes against ground targets. It can also be used as a fighter jet or trainer aircraft, AVIC said in a statement.

Equipped with modern radar and fire-control systems, it is capable of staying airborne for three hours in a single operation and can carry as much as 3 tonnes of missiles, rockets or bombs, AVIC said, adding that it is equipped with air-to-surface weapons.

Hu Jianxing, chief designer of the FTC-2000G at Guizhou Aviation Industry, said the aircraft features high operational economy and can carry out tasks in all weather conditions and at night.

With the proper equipment, the aircraft will also be able to perform reconnaissance or electronic-warfare operations.

“The aircraft can fulfil a wide range of tasks, ranging from flight training and close-in air support to long-distance penetration airstrikes and air escorts,” he told the daily.

It took less than two years to develop the jet, the AVIC said, adding that the twin-seat plane is a modified version of a new type of advanced training jet that has been deployed by the Chinese Air Force and Navy.

The aircraft has a maximum speed of 1.2 Mach, or 1,470 kilometers per hour, a maximum take-off weight of 11 metric tons, a maximum flight range of 2,400 km and an operational flight ceiling of 15 km.

Though the FTC-2000G will face competition from South Korea’s FA-50 and Italy’s M346, it will enjoy a pricing advantage, another daily, Global Times, quoted experts as saying.

As a light-duty attack aircraft or fighter jet, it is a replacement for old models such as China’s J-7 and the former Soviet Union’s MiG-21.

China delivered six FTC-2000s, FTC-2000G’s predecessor, to Sudan in May, according to UK-based Jane’s Defence Weekly.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.