AVIC Hongdu has entered into a deal to supply the China National Aero Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC) with 12 L-15 advanced jet trainers, with the type's first international sale to be announced in 2013.
The agreement with CATIC represents the first sale of the type, which China is pitching on the international market. The agreement between the two parties, which are both owned by the Chinese government, was signed at Airshow China in Zhuhai.
CATIC president Ma Zhiping says the first sale of the L-15 will be announced next year. Neither the export agency or company representatives were willing to disclose the customer, or to confirm whether the 12 contracted aircraft will eventually be delivered to this end-user.
AVIC Hongdu says it has started "limited batch production" of the L-15, with the first dozen aircraft to be completed by the end of 2013.
Separately, AVIC says it will develop a new powerplant for the L-15 called the Minshan. The twin-engined type is now powered by a Ukrainian powerplant. According to AVIC, the Minshan is a twin-spool turbofan with an afterburner.
"Now that main component performance tests have been accomplished with satisfying results that could meet the requirements of engine design targets, it will be ready for delivery in a few years," it says.