Warplanes: The Killer 8 Sells Well To Evil Despots


June 21, 2010: Myanmar is buying another fifty K-8 jet trainers from China, after having ordered 12 in the late 1990s. Myanmar does not want the K-8s just for training, but apparently plans to use the aircraft more for reconnaissance and combat. In the vast, and thinly populated, north of the country, tribal rebels hide out in the forests. It's a lot cheaper to look for them, and drop a few bombs, with a K-8 than the other aircraft Myanmar has (F-7/MiG-21s or MiG-29s). K-8s are for cheap killing, and the Chinese are increasingly marketing them that way to nations with poorly armed rebellions to worry about.

Also known as the JL-8, the K-8 is a 4.3 ton, two seat aircraft. Normally carrying a trainee and instructor, this is replaced by a pilot and observer on combat missions. The K-8 entered service in 1994, and over 500 have been built. The aircraft can be fitted with a 23mm cannon, and carry nearly a ton of missiles and bombs. Egypt and Pakistan also use the K-8. The aircraft sells for $4-5 million each.




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