I cannot find the original article but seems Zambia is evaluating the FC-1 too! I did not know they bought some Z-9s (Chinese copy of the Dauphin). I know Kenya has some. The Zimbabwe attache also acknowledges that they are interested - I guess nothing knew there!
Beijing in talks with at least six buyers for JF-17s
Low-cost fighter jets spur interest from developing nations at show
Choi Chi-yuk in Zhuhai
Nov 19, 2010 South China Morning Post
At least half a dozen potential buyers are negotiating with Beijing to purchase JF-17 Thunders, fighter jets jointly manufactured by the mainland and neighbouring Pakistan, during the ongoing week-long air show in Zhuhai .
Without specifying which countries were considering the aircraft, Zeng Wen , vice-president of the China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corp (CATIC), was quoted by Flightglobal.com, the website of British aerospace weekly Flight International, as saying: "We're talking with six to eight countries about the JF-17. It is a low-cost solution for developing countries."
CATIC is the sole company authorised to sell military aircraft overseas on behalf of the country's manufacturers. Asked to give more details about the would-be customers, CATIC president Ma Zhiping said: "It is too early and not appropriate to disclose the identity of potential buyers for the time being. I can only say at this stage that they come from countries ranging from Africa and South America to Asia and the Middle East."
Zambia is known to be one of the potential buyers. "We consider the quality of the aircraft we are interested in first, before talking about their price," said Brigadier General Andrew Sakala, the country's air force commander. "The price of Chinese military aircraft is competitive. We have already bought six Z-9 helicopters from China, but for the moment, we are focusing on the JF-17."
Sakala stressed that, as was the case with the Z-9s, his country would test several aspects of the JF-17 before closing the deal.
Ma, who introduced the JF-17's functions to a handful of attaches with the Jordanian air force in front of CATIC's booth on Tuesday morning, said most foreign enquiries were about the general combat capability of the aircraft and its sale price.
Attaches at the show from Bangladesh and Zimbabwe said they were keenly interested in Chinese military products, especially the JF-17.
With a price as low as US$15 million each, the JF-17 is one of the fighter jets being considered to replace outgoing and obsolete military aircraft such as the MiG-21, Jian-7 and Northrop F-5, especially for developing countries such as Egypt, Ghana, Sri Lanka and Venezuela.
But according to Antony Wong Dong, president of the International Military Association based in Macau, there are more potential buyers of the JF-17 than six or eight. He estimated at least 15 countries had representatives at the show.
He added that the JF-17 Thunder could be the most popular fighter jet among developing countries at a time when their spending power and threat of conflict grows.
The military representatives also seized the chance to visit a booth showcasing the L-15, an advanced trainer made by China.
Representatives from more than 10 countries had already visited the L-15 booth by noon on opening day, one member of staff said. Air force commanders from at least four countries had taken a closer look at the simulated pilot cabin.
China, apart from its huge economic development over the past three decades, has also been putting greater effort into researching and manufacturing military products for export.
Zhang Hong , chief engineer of the L-15 trainer, said the aircraft was the best of its type in the world. It can serve as both a trainer and a fighter, which makes it particularly competitive given that its price tag is about one-tenth that of competing products.
"As a result of showing more respect to talent, pouring in huge funding and more communication and co-operation with foreign countries on technology, China has made significant progress on the research and development of both military and civilian aircraft in the past few years," Zhang said.
He said China should have long ago stopped trying to make money through blood and sweat in factories.
"Instead, China should focus on the export of its strategic products," Zhang said. "After all, the sale of one aircraft is the equivalent of exporting a hundred million shirts."