Burma Buys 50 Fighter Jets From China
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Burma Buys 50 Fighter Jets From China

By THE IRRAWADDY Tuesday, June 15, 2010


The Burmese air force continues to expand with the recent procurement of 50 K-8 jet trainer aircraft from China, according to sources within the air force in Meikhtila.

“Parts of the K-8 aircraft were transported by cargo ship from China and are being assembled at the Aircraft Production and Maintenance Base in Meikhtila,” said one of the sources.

K-8 Karakorum jet trainers from Sri Lanka air force. (Source:www.armybase.us)
The purchase of the 50 aircraft comes after Burma’s air force chief Lt-Gen Myat Hein traveled to China in November to negotiate an upgrade to the fleet of Chinese-made military aircraft already owned by Burma.

“There are two reasons to purchase K-8 trainers,” said the source. “Either for training exercises or for counter-insurgency.”

The K-8 jet trainer, sometimes called the K-8 Karakorum or the Hongdu JL-8, is a joint venture between China and Pakistan, and is fitted with air-to-air missiles and rockets.

In 1998-9, the Burmese air force bought 12 K-8 jet trainers from China, which are now stationed at Taungoo Air Base in Pegu Division.

In addition to purchasing Chinese-made fighters and trainer aircraft, Naypyidaw signed a contract in late 2009 to buy 20 MiG-29 jet fighters from Russia at a cost of nearly US $570 million.

“The parts of the MiG-29 jet fighters will arrive in July and September by cargo ship and by plane,” said an officer close to Col. Tun Aung, a key figure in the Burmese air force. He said that the 20 Russian aircraft will be assembled in Meikhtila.

Meanwhile, Burma's main air base for maintenance, the Aircraft Production and Maintenance Air Base (APMAB) in Panchangone in Mingaladon Township has been relocated to Nyaunggone, close to the regime's Flying Training Base in Shante in Meikhtila Township, according to a source from the air base.

“The APMAB got the order from Naypyidaw in January to relocate to the new location,” he said, but said he did not know why the relocation took place.
Military sources from Rangoon said that Burmese ruling military council upgraded the air force’s facilities and expanded airfields, as well as two air force bases in Bassein and Homemalin in 2006, to fulfill operational capabilities.

Burma has brought 280 aircraft from China, Russia, Yugoslavia and Poland, including trainers and fighters, since the military took power in 1988. 

The Burmese air force was founded in 1947 before Burmese independence. Its main objective has since been counter campaigns against the Communist Party of Burma and several ethnic armies.

Burma has 10 air force headquarters: Bassein Air Base in Irrawaddy Division; Mingaladon Air Base in Rangoon Division; Myitkyina Air Base in Kachin State; Myike Air Base in Tenasserim Division; Namsang Air Base in Shan State; Taungoo Air Base in Pegu Division; Meikhtila (Shante) Flying Training Base; Meikthila Grounding Training Base in Mandalay Division; Magwe Air Base in Magwe Division; and Homemalin Air Base in Sagaing Division.

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Okkar Wrote:
Here we go again, the comments from the Armchair and Deckchair generals who read too many Jane's Defence Reviews and pretending as if they are experts in Weaponology.

Myanmar is buying aircraft that are suited to its operational requirements - first and foremost COIN/CAS operation, for those of you who dont understand military terms.. COIN stands for COunter INsurgency/Close Air Support. Since its declaration as non-aligned nation and has no intention of using its arsenal to intimidate another sovereign nation, Myanmar has little or no need for expensive stealth or multi-role air superiority fighter/bombers.

Chinese made K-8 are cheap, can be dual role - both training and close air support, easier to maintain, less infrastructure requirement. All these are extremely well suited for Myanmar's tactical and strategic operational requirements.

Venus Wrote:
We all know the low quality made-in-China products. How can the air force take their life-risk buying China-made crafts without Quality Control?

Expecting to encounter more crashes and crashlands sooner or later.

Arkar Wrote:

The junta (Gen Than Shwe & such) are buying planes and military hardware based on suggestion by their weapon experts who don't know the different between APC (armored personnel carriers) and Hummer Jeeps. These experts suggest cheapest hardware in China/Russia inventory so they can take the maximum cut from it. Every weapon costs twice the original amount in their balance sheet. Trust me, I see the experts myself.

KKK Wrote:
China has sold old junk, low quality outdated jets, planes, weapons, vehicles, and machinery to Burma for years. This is not an unusual thing.

kyansittha Wrote:
Thanks to Irrawaddy for facts and data for Burma's air force. We know now how military junta is preparing for future.So, what we will do now? Only standable by NCG without defence minister? Hi! elected persons of 1990,do you think junta will transfer state power automatically? Do you have any other plans, let us know?

Zam Mang Wrote:
As a nation, Burma needs strong military but Than Shwe's way of building military is not necessary. The citizens must come first ahead of military. Than Shwe does not care about the citizens of Burma, but he wastes all our resources for his own power.

KKK Wrote:
Wa give you the jets, Luu give me land, oil & gas. This is junta-China barter trade.

Dr.Myo.THI-HA Wrote:
Why BAF bought these kind of K-8 Karakorum LOW quality jetjets? Wasting the money.

My Suggestion to BAF: should buy the following fighter jets from China:
(1) advanced j-xx (F-22-class twin-engine stealth fighter),
(2) air-superiority fighter J-11 (Jianji-11 or Jian-11;copy of the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker),
(3)Jian-10B (Multirole Fighter Aircraft F-10B),
(4) JF-17 Thunder (last option)

Trainers from China:
(1) L-15 Falcon (provide pilot training for the third-generation fighters such as Su-27, Su-30, J-10, and J-1)
(2)JL-9 (JiaoLian-9 known as FTC-2000 Mountain Eagle) excellent for counter-insurgency.

From Russia, BAF should buy following jets rather than MIG-29. MIG-29 maintanance cost is too much.
(1) SU-34 Sukhoi air-superiority fighter
(2) SU-30 MK2
(3) MIG-31

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