The first shipment of Chinese Guizhou FTC-2000G Mountain Eagle fighter jets may have been delivered to the Myanmar Air Force, according in reports in both local and international media.
The delivery has not been officially announced. However, according to Myanmari oppositional news website The Irrawaddy which referred to observers close to the matter, the aircraft reached Myanmar during November 2022.
Defense publication Janes has reported that ‘regional intelligence sources’ have confirmed the delivery.
The Irrawaddy claims the jets were likely ordered in 2020 and that in June 2022 at least eight Myanmari pilots, eight technicians and two officers traveled to China to receive the aircraft.
The FTC-2000 Mountain Eagle is an export designation of the Guizhou JL-9, advanced jet trainer and light combat aircraft manufactured by China’s Guizhou Aviation Industry Import/Export Company (GAIEC).
The aircraft, manufactured using the model of the MiG-21 and its Chinese licensed copy, the Chengdu J-7, conducted its maiden flight in 2003 and has been mass-produced since 2018.
Myanmar Air Force currently operates a wide range of Chinese and Russian fighter jets, including older Nanchang Q-5 and Chengdu J-7 and MiG-29 and newer JF-17 and Sukhoi Su-30.
As a branch of Myanmar’s armed forces, the Tatmadaw, the Air Force has been heavily involved in fighting against the insurrection that followed the 2021 coup.
Human rights organizations claim that some of air strikes conducted by Myanmari aircraft have been deliberately targeting civilian gatherings and villages where ethnic minorities live, resulting in dozens of deaths.