Nanchang J-12

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Nanchang J-12.jpg
Nanchang J-12 on display outside of the Chinese Aviation Museum
Role Supersonic fighter
Manufacturer Nanchang
First flight 26 December 1970
Status Development abandoned
Primary user People's Liberation Army Air Force

The NAMC J-12 (Chinese: 歼-12; NATO reporting name: unknown, if any) was a lightweight supersonic fighter built in the People's Republic of China for use by the PLAAF. It was one of first serious attempts by Chinese aircraft manufacturers to develop an indegnous, modern jet fighter. Weighing 6,993 lb (3,172 kg) empty, the J-12 is one of the lightest jet fighters ever built. Neither the J-12 nor the related Shenyang J-11 (Not to be confused with the Shenyang J-11 Flanker B+ that entered service in 1998) entered service.

In 1969, the PLAAF issued a requirement for a small, inexpensive, STOL (short takeoff and landing) lightweight fighter to replace the MiG-19 then in service.[1] Two designs were submitted, the Shenyang J-11 and the Nanchang J-12. Design of the J-12 was led by Lu Xiao Peng, with the prototypes being built by the Nanchang Aircraft Manufacturing Company (NAMC). Flight testing of the three prototypes began on December 26, 1970. When performance proved disappointing, additional prototypes were built with improvements such as simplified control surfaces, a lighter area ruled fuselage, and revised intake. All variants looked similar; the J-12 was a small single-seat jet fighter with low-set, swept wings, swept control surfaces, tubular fuselage, and nose intake with small or absent shock cone.

In 1977, development of the J-12 was abandoned, likely because the Chengdu J-7, based on the Soviet MiG-21F, offered superior performance and was based on proven technology. The J-12's main problems were inadequate firepower and engine thrust. The J-12 accumulated 61 hours in 135 flights by 1977. Nine J-12s are believed to have been built. In 1990s, Lu Xiao Peng proposed upgrading the J-12's fighter design with a reduced Radar cross-section to make the J-12 stealthy, and suggested a modified J-12 fighter to be carrier based fighter for PLA Navy None of the proposals turned into reality.[2]


General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 10.3 m (33 ft 9.5)
  • Wingspan: 7.2 m (23 ft 7.5 in)
  • Height: 3.73 m (12 ft 3 in)
  • Wing area: 16.0 m2 (172.2 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 3,172 kg (6,993 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 4,530 kg (9,987 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Wopen WP-6Z Afterburning Turbojet
    • Dry thrust: 2,500 kg (5,512 lbf)
    • Thrust with afterburner: 4,050 kg (8,929 lbf)



  • One 30 mm cannon in port wing root
  • One 23 mm cannon in starboard wing root
  • Three hardpoints; one under each wing and one under the fuselage

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ China Today: Aviation Industry. China Aviation Industry Press. 1989. 
  2. ^ "J12 fighter stealth modification". Retrieved 15 July 2011. 

External links[edit]