Air Force 1 AF10066 Chinese Peoples Liberation Army Air Force Xi'an JH-7 Fighter-Bomber (1:72 Scale)
"Politics is war without bloodshed, while war is politics with bloodshed."
- Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Tse-Tung
The Xi'an JH-7 (NATO reporting name Flounder), also known as the FBC-1 (Fighter/Bomber China-1) Flying Leopard, is a tandem two-seat, twin-engine fighter-bomber in service with the People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force (PLANAF), and the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). The main contractors are Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation (XAC) and the 603rd Aircraft Design Institute (later named the First Aircraft Institute of AVIC-I).
The first JH-7s were delivered to the PLANAF in the mid-1990s for evaluation, with the improved JH-7A entering service in 2004.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a Chinese Peoples Liberation Army Air Force Xi'an JH-7 fighter-bomber.
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Release Date: April 2023
Historical Account: "The People's Court" - Although the Chinese Red Army (PLA's predecessor) had operated a few aircraft since the Second Sino-Japanese War, the first organized air arm of the PLA was the Nanyuan Flying Group, formed in the summer of 1949 with about 40 ex-Nationalist aircraft, responsible for the air defence of the soon-to-be capital city of Beijing, China.
The PLAAF itself was founded on November 11th, 1949, shortly after the establishment of the People's Republic of China. At the beginning it relied heavily on Soviet help and was armed with Soviet aircraft. Within six years, the PLAAF began manufacturing its own aircraft, but initially these were copies of Soviet types. The first of them was the J-2, corresponding to the MiG-15. Some western observers refer to the upgraded MiG-15bis variant as J-4, but PLAAF never used "J-4" aircraft designation.
Soviet involvement also extended to training combat pilots. Those took part to some degree in the Korean War, where Chinese pilots along with their Russian counterparts often engaged American aircraft in combat. This increased cooperation between the two Communist nations also allowed the Chinese to begin building their own versions of the MiG-17 and MiG-19: the J-5 and J-6.
The 1960s proved to be a difficult period for the PLAAF. This was due to the break in relations with the Soviet Union, and as a consequence the Chinese aircraft industry almost collapsed. The outbreak of the Vietnam War helped it to recover, though, as the PRC government began providing the forces of North Vietnam with J-2s, J-5s, and some J-6s. The 1960s also saw the first indigenous Chinese designs, namely the J-8.
Although the PLAAF received significant support from Western nations in the 1980s when China was seen as a counterweight to Soviet power, this support ended in 1989 as a result of the Chinese crackdown on the Tiananmen protests of 1989 and the later collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Ironically, China's former foe, Russia, became its principal arms supplier to the effect that Chinese economic growth allowed Russia to sustain its aerospace industry.
Between the Vietnam War and the early 1990s, the PLAAF's flying consisted mostly of large numbers of near-obsolete Soviet planes. The main mission scenario under consideration by the PLAAF during this time was to support the PLA in defending China against a massive Soviet tank invasion. Under the doctrine of People's War, Chinese air strategy involved large numbers of short-range low-technology fighters. This mix of forces would not have stood up well to the Republic of China Air Force, which had fewer but much more modern planes such as the F-16 and Mirage 2000.