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China's most reluctant to sell fighter jet, hailed as a priceless treasure, still has its charm after more than 30 years since its introduction.


By ahongPublished 29 days ago 6 min read

In just a few decades, our country's aviation industry manufacturing level has gradually taken a leading position in the world. The advanced fighter jets equipped by our air force have sufficient advantages in both performance and combat power.

However, the emergence of new fighter jets does not mean the withdrawal of old ones. There is a fighter jet that is not the most advanced or the strongest, but has been in service since the 1990s and is still active, making it an invaluable treasure of our country.

Maritime Weaponry

In the 1970s and 1980s, China's military strength was not strong, and the navy was lacking, even more so the air force. As a result, China's coastal areas have always been subject to harassment from military powers.

More than 900 square kilometers of land needed to be protected, and the development of maritime power was imminent. In response to this situation, our country gave a new positioning to the fighter jet. First, it must be able to carry anti-ship missiles; second, it must have a relatively long combat radius.

The development of a new aircraft is not easy, taking at least a few years, or even more than a decade. But time does not allow, and external threats are also forcing us to move forward.

At the time of development, the navy could only rely on the H-6 bomber carrying anti-ship missiles to deal with foreign threats. The H-6, due to its special combat reasons, is not only bulky in design but also difficult to carry out low-altitude raids, which is very limited in terms of threat to the opponent.

H-6 Bomber

So, our country developed a new type of fighter jet in the shortest possible time according to the needs. Its original name was "H-7," but considering the performance, the name "H-7" is not very accurate.

Because its data is not like that of a traditional bomber. It can carry 7 tons of ammunition, the farthest combat radius can reach 1650 kilometers, and the maximum flight speed can reach 1.75 Mach.

Its carrying capacity can reach the standard of a bomber, but it is not inferior to a fighter jet. In the end, this fighter jet was finally named "JH-7."

Since its birth, the JH-7 has always been the most powerful air ace of the Chinese naval aviation. It is not born for air combat, the main task of the JH-7 is ground/sea strike.

After the 1990s, although the JH-7 has just been in service for a short time, it is the only type of aircraft that can carry out deterrence patrols in the South China Sea region.

Foreign media called the JH-7 the "Hegemon of the South China Sea," and China also gave it a fitting code name - Fei Bao. The JH-7 is so eye-catching, inseparable from its three biggest advantages.

China Military Network: Sino-Russian Fighter-Bombers PK Major General: The JH-7 Carrying Capacity May Exceed Su-30

Why JH-7 is Called a Weapon

First, the combat radius of the JH-7 is excellent. As a combination of a fighter and a bomber, the combat radius of the JH-7 is much higher than that of ordinary fighter jets.

Take the J-7 and J-8, for example, the combat radius is still less than 1000 kilometers, but the JH-7 can reach 1650 kilometers. What is this concept? It is equivalent to the JH-7 directly including the entire South China Sea of our country in the strike area, who dares to make trouble in Chinese waters?

The second point, the weapon carrying capacity of the JH-7 is second to none. Our country has developed more advanced fighter jets later, such as the J-16, which is still one of the main models of our air force.

But if you compare the weapon carrying of the two, there is no doubt that the winner is definitely the JH-7. Although the J-16 is advanced, it can only carry one powerful YJ-12 supersonic anti-ship missile, but the JH-7 can carry two.

Because the JH-7 was designed with two heavy hanging points that can carry 1.6 tons of ammunition when it was designed. It can not only carry heavy ammunition but also carry a variety of weapons. The inclusiveness of the JH-7 for weapons is very strong.

But in terms of lightness and air combat advantage, the JH-7 is indeed not as good as the J-16. If you compare the ground and sea strike capabilities, you can say that the JH-7 has enough advantages.

Third, the cost of the JH-7 is relatively low. It is also very bitter to say that the low cost of the JH-7 is also related to the environment when our country developed it.

In the 1980s, although China's economy had already shown an upward trend, the economy was still very tight, and military strength was still limited to a small framework, and the cost compression was destined to be impossible for the JH-7 to spend a lot of money.

So our country's requirements for fighter jets are to make sturdy and durable fighter jets under extremely limited costs. The JH-7 has the most obvious low-cost characteristics.

The cost of a JH-7 can be done with almost 10 million US dollars, if you think it's a lot, then compare it with the more advanced J-16, you will know how economical and affordable the JH-7 is.

The production cost of a J-16 is at least more than 80 million US dollars, one is enough to produce eight JH-7s. Even the JH-7A, which was later upgraded to the latest level, has a production cost of only 30 million US dollars.

In this way, the JH-7 is too cost-effective, isn't it? Low-altitude combat, wide range of firepower, multiple weapons, and low cost, who else is the "magic weapon"?

Why is the export volume of such a fighter jet so small or even almost none?

Look at aviation: Chinese aircraft: JH-7 "Fei Bao"

The reasons for the small export of JH-7

First, at that time, as a maritime weapon of our country, our flying habits and operational details were all reflected on it. If the enemy targets it, it will cause uncertain hidden dangers to our country.

Second, after more advanced fighter jets came out later, the JH-7 has gradually fallen behind, and even because of the progress of technology, our country has gradually closed the production line of the JH-7, which is equivalent to directly closing the foreign order.

Third, the superior performance of the JH-7 is not suitable for sale. Although the cost of the JH-7 is low, its striking power is almost tailored for our country.

If you sell the JH-7 to a small country, then the JH-7 can almost bring people an overwhelming force, especially after the weapon is hung, it is not an exaggeration to say that it is a dimensional strike.

But for big countries, the JH-7 is not necessary, because there are more advanced fighter jets in front, no matter how big the advantage of the JH-7 is, it is not necessary.

However, for our country, it is not only one of our main fighter jets but also has a different significance for our country. Even if the J-20 has been deployed in large numbers, the JH-7 is still the white moonlight in the hearts of many military fans.

At the beginning of June, when the Dutch warship appeared in the East China Sea of our country, our country also dispatched two JH-7s for expulsion, which shows the important position of the JH-7.

It has grown up with our country's generation of pilots and guarded the territory of the motherland together. For the pilots, the JH-7 has already been an old friend, and the emotional significance it brings to people is irreplaceable. The former maritime weapon, the current "invaluable treasure."

But even if the JH-7 has any advantage, it has been born for thirty years, thirty years, China has already developed into a military power, and perhaps one day in the future, the JH-7 will be completely retired, but at that time, it will also mean that China's military strength has become even stronger.

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About the Creator


I'm Ahong, a writer painting China's stories for the world. Dive into tales that blend tradition with the contemporary, right from the heart of China.

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    ahongWritten by ahong

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