Angola receives final K-8W jets from China


The Angolan Air Force has received the last six of 12 K-8W jets from China, which delivered the aircraft for pilot training.

The Air Force officially received the second batch on 14 December at Catumbela, official press agency Angop reported. The aircraft were acquired from China’s CATIC via Simportex.

The first six arrived in January 2020 after being ordered in 2018. By the end of 2020, they had accumulated 1 770 flight hours in 1 265 flights, Angop said.

The delivery ceremony of the second batch coincided with the conclusion of instructor training for six Angolan pilots. They received training from CATIC specialists between 22 October and 14 December.

Angolan defence minister Joao Ernesto dos Santos said the acquisition was a ‘huge investment’ needed to strengthen the country’s military.

CATIC representative Yuan Mu said his company would also be supplying another two MA60 transport aircraft, and support equipment, to Angola, which received two MA60s in 2019.

Angola has not acquired much equipment in the past from China, instead relying on Russia. However, in 2017 it emerged that the Angolan Army was using WMA301 tank destroyers and command post variants of the Norinco WZ551 armoured personnel carrier.

China has already sold a number of K-8s to African countries, including Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Sudan, Ghana, Egypt, and Namibia. In fact, most exports of the low-cost aircraft have been to Africa.

The K-8 was designed in China by the China Nanchang Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation, but the primary contractor is the Hongdu Aviation Industry Corporation. It is also produced by Pakistan’s Pakistan Aeronautical Complex.

The K-8 has a top speed of 800 km/h and is powered by a Ukrainian AI-25TLK turbofan or a Chinese WS-11 (an AI-25TLK clone) developing 1 680 kg of thrust. However, some export models are powered by the TFE731-2A turbofan developing 1 600 kg of thrust.

Maximum takeoff weight is 4 470 kg and maximum range 2 200 km. Export versions are usually better equipped than the models in service with China (JL-8), and feature components such as Martin Baker ejection seats, a glass cockpit with head up display and multi-function displays and ability to carry PL-5E/PL-7 air-to-air missiles and a 23 mm gun pod. Angop reported that Angola’s K-8Ws will be armed with air-to-air missiles, cannons and bombs.