Angola is set to acquire unknown number of K-8 Karakorum trainer and light attack aircraft from China. The military acquisition revelation surfaced after one of the jets was seen in Angolan markings.
A photograph circulating on the Chinese website, Weibo, it shows Luo Ronghuai, President of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), inspecting Hongdu facility. A single K-8 jet with the Angolan Air Force (FANA) roundel on its tail could be seen in the background.
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. It is not clear how many K-8s Angola has ordered or when the order was placed.
Angola has not acquired much equipment in the past from China, instead the country has been relying on Russian-made military hardware.
China’s Hongdu has already sold a number of K-8s to African countries, including Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Sudan, Ghana, Egypt, and Namibia.
The K-8 was designed in China by the China Nanchang Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation.
The trainer jet 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. Also, some export models are powered by the TFE731-2A turbofan developing 1 600 kg of thrust.
K-8 aircraft has a 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). They come with features and 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.