Angolan K-8 deliveries underway


Angola has taken delivery of six K-8W trainer and light attack jets, and will receive another six during the course of this year.

A photo posted by manufacturer CATIC showed one of the first six, according to aviation reporter Alan Warnes, who said the remaining six will be delivered by year-end.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s Arms Transfers database, Angola received two K-8s in 2019 after they were ordered in 2018. Angola also received two MA60 transport aircraft last year.

News of the Angolan K-8 deal first emerged in March 2019 when a photo taken at the Hongdu facility showed a K-8 in Angolan Air Force (FANA) markings. The aircraft had a cover over its cockpit and the leading edge of its tail had been removed, indicating it was either still under construction or getting ready to be shipped.

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.

Hongdu 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.