While the world generally watches the conflagration building in the Middle East, there has been an interesting development in Myanmar, also known as Burma, for the resistance forces opposing the military junta that holds power. In the last two weeks the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has shot down two aircraft belonging to the military, a rather remarkable occurrence in the long running conflict.
The first was an Mi-17 transport helicopter that was shot down with a Chinese-made FN-6 man-portable surface-to-air missile on the 3rd of January. According to the Kachin, the helicopter was in the process of dropping ammunition to a Burma army post in Wai Maw township.
The shootdown, one of very few in the long running civil war, has reportedly greatly impeded Burma military operations in the area and assisted the KIA in their own operations.
But now a more significant event appears to have occurred. According to the Kachin they managed to shoot down an FTC-2000G on the 16th of January, and photos of the wreckage seem to bear this out.
Photo of the crash site. The jet appears to remain intact when it hit the ground.
The video shows no fire. Most likely engine damage and there was no ejection seats, causing both pilots to die.
The jet is Chinese FTC-2000G. pic.twitter.com/qaii5aCRrB
— Nicholas (@nicholas6284) January 17, 2024
This are one of the most modern aircraft operated by the Myanmar Airforce, with deliveries only beginning in late-2022.
The FTC-2000G is a two-seat supersonic advanced jet trainer and light combat aircraft developed by the Guizhou Aviation Industry Import/Export Company and is also used by the Chinese military. Equipped with a 23mm cannon and able to carry up to 2,000kg of ordnance, the FTC-2000 was selected to replace Myanmar’s aging fleet of A-5 attack jets.
The aircraft destroyed was apparently engaged in conducting air strikes when it was bought down, and if the Kachin are able to counter this due to access to new weaponry, this is a huge deal for both them and for the various resistance forces fighting the military.
Recent events in the last few months have seen the powerful Myanmar military suffer a number of major setbacks and for the first time in decades their grip on power is looking decidedly shaky. In fact, the primary reason for their being able to hold up and stop ongoing offensives against them by the Ethnic Armed Organisations (EAOs) and People’s Defence Forces (PDFs) that are now almost universally engaged in fighting them is the significant firepower advantage that the military enjoys over the much lighter equipped resistance forces, particularly in terms of their artillery and, especially, their monopoly on air power.
If the Kachin are able to counter this, then the end of the military regime may be far closer than previously hoped.