Venezuelan Air Force receives Hongdu K8-W jet trainers
China has delivered a fresh batch of Hongdu K8-W jet trainers to the Venezuelan Air Force.
The South American country received nine K8-W jet trainers under the framework of an original agreement signed in 2008.
According to the Venezuelan air force, around 12 jet trainers were delivered by China in two batches.
The new aircraft will be assigned by the Venezuelan air force to boost its Fighter Group No. 12 based in Lara state and the Special Air Operations Group No.15 based in Zulia state.
Equipped with advanced systems to facilitate enhanced training for pilots, the aircraft is capable of performing a wide range of missions such as operations against organised crime and drug trafficking, light attack, and operations against illegal flights.
In January 2010, Venezuela received 18 K-8Ws which were assigned to N 15 and the Grupo Aéreo de Caza N 12 at Barquisimeto.
The 12 K-8Ws assigned to Grupo replaced Northrop VF-5A Freedom Fighter and for Grupo 15 they replaced the Boeing OV-10 Bronco.
The new fleet is expected to enhance the military capability of the Venezuelan air force.
Apart from the Venezuela, the air forces of Egypt, Ghana, Myanmar, Namibia, Pakistan, China, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe have placed purchase orders for the aircraft.
Powered by a single Garrett TFE731-2A-2A turbofan engine designed and built by Honeywell Aerospace, the K-8 is capable of generating 16.01kN of thrust.
It features a single-stage high-pressure turbine, a three-stage low-pressure turbine, annular combustors, digital electronic engine control (DEEC) and a single centrifugal high-pressure compressor stage.
Image: The Chinese-manufactured K-8W jet trainers for the Venezuelan Air Force. Photo: courtesy of Venezuelan AF photo.