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China-Pakistan JF-17 Fighter Slated for Block-2 Upgrades

 - November 14, 2011, 1:38 AM
Target markets for the PAK JF-17 Thunder fighter include Latin America, Africa and Asia.

The JF-17 Thunder fighter, co-developed by China’s Avic and the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), is to receive improvements that will start being produced with the Block-2 version from next year.

The enhancements will effect the data link and electronic warfare capabilities. An air-to-air refueling capability will be added, as will be new guided weapons. A two-seat variant is being developed, too. The current program schedule calls for the Pakistan-based factory to deliver the JF-17 Block-2 to the PAF from mid-2012 to 2015. Then, a Block-3 version is planned from 2016. Block-1 aircraft are being delivered until the middle of next year.

PAF Air Chief Marshall Rao Qamar Suleiman said marketing efforts focus on those countries needing to replace old fighters such as the MiG-21, early Mirage, F-5 and Phantom types. The program’s target export countries can be found in Latin America, Africa and Asia. “We offer performance comparable to U.S. and European fighters when it comes to radar, dogfight missile, range and BVR [beyond visual range] capabilities, for one third of the cost,” Suleiman claimed.

So far, five countries are said to have taken a close look at the aircraft. China itself is currently evaluating the JF-17 and a decision is expected “shortly.” Avic and the PAF expect to sell “between 300 and 500 JF-17s” over the next 10 years. 

The in-service fleet has logged a total of 10,000 flight hours with the PAF. In China, the JF-17 is also known as the FC-1 Xiaolong.


China's decision on inducting the JF17/FC1(or J-9, which it's design might be in service, if rumours are to be believed) is likely to hinge on the development of it's WS-13A turbofan engines.

Currently, the JF17 is powered by a variant of the Russian MiG-29's RD-33 engine(variant called the RD-93). China's already got huge problems with Russia(over copyright/intellectual rights) on the Russian engines China already uses in it's frontline J-11 and J-10 aircraft. Arguably, they wouldn't like to induct a fleet of FC-1s/J-9s with Russian engines as well.

i think Pakistan need to develop their own engine for the JF 17 block 1 & 2
or for block 2 the engine will give the speed of 3500 KM per hour.

Pakistan is trying to export and earn some valuable foreign reserve by exporting these war fighters. In addition, Pakistan is also planning to take lead on its traditional rivalry country, India. I believe that this step will enhance the Pakistan Air Force capabilities

It is also important for Pakistan to buildup its military and air force capabilities because it has to compete with external and internal forces at the same time. The government and the people thinks that Pakistan Army is the only solution to the drone attacks as <a href="" title="Drones in pakistan " target="_blank">Drones in Pakistan</a> has stopped today

I think JF 17 is a miracle plane. No 4th generation plane can match its cost effectiveness. Its design incorporates latest stealth features which only F35 and a couple of others including J10B incorporates. It beats out F16 even in maneuverability. The JF 17 II with an AESA radar will put all the top claimants back into their seats, as such capabilities in $25-35 million are unimaginable today. Lets not forget the strings that comes with any western technology, especially americans, which make their jets pretty much worthless to buy. The cost of repairs, upgrades and maintenance are out of the skies, and out of the range of most countries who are looking to replace their Mig21s.

A pauline, well said. Nothing beats the cost affordability of JFT. But with all its glitter and sparkle JFT is still a med tech aircraft and cannot fill the technological gap of genuine hi-tech aircraft as F-16 blk 50/52, EF-2000 or Rafale or Even Gripen to some extent. It does full fill a niche for a respectfully modern 4th gen fighter jet that can be the work horse of any airforce and more or less hold its own against modern threats .

There's already talk of stealthy jf-17 over the internet,.... fascinating as it may sound , i think jf-17 will be what it was meant to be: a low-cost med tech aircraft to replace aging 3rd gen fighters.

I am a serious enthusiast of JF-17 But want to be objective knowing the capabilities of thinking in profits by many of our defense production industry owners/ aka Pak Army. I would like objective not emotional answers to questions proposed in the link below, which disturbed me and I would like a clarity.

As to Imran's post in Dec 2011 above... a valued suggestion BUT building an engine is no easy technological task.. If we cannot build car, tank pr helicopter engine jumping to such suggestion is just naive.

The comments in below blog was written by an Indian. Now for obious reasons they will call it a blunder. Checkout this under Pakistan and you will get a fair comment on JF-17

JF-17 Thunder

JF-17 Thunder aircraft is an advanced multi-role light combat aircraft jointly developed by Chengdu and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex under a strategic collaboration project. The aircraft is designed to be cost-effective and can meet the tactical and strategic needs of the Pakistan Air Force, and various other air forces. The first prototype made its first test flight in 2003. The letters "J & F" included as title of the aircraft denoting "Joint Fighter". Pakistan renamed Super-7 as JF-17 (Joint Fighter) Thunder in 2003.

The JF-17 Thunder, whose performance is matched only by F-16s in the Pakistan Air Force's current inventory, would be replacing the aging fleet of Mirage, F-7s and A-5s. The aircraft is being considered as a match for the Indian Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), which is expected to form the backbone of the Indian Air Force in future. There are, however, some features like advanced and futuristic avionics and cost effectiveness that give the JF-17 an edge over the LCA.

The JF-17 is a light weight, all weather, multi-role aircraft having a capability to fly at a speed of Mach 1.6 and a high thrust to weight ratio. The aircraft has the ability to engage targets at all speeds and altitudes within the conventional flying envelope. In the surface attack and interdiction role, the aircraft can strike at long distances. The combat jet has been installed with an advanced flight control system, which is a mix of conventional and fly-by-wire controls, making it highly agile and maneuverable.

The aircraft would be capable of carrying short-range, beyond visual range, anti-ship as well as anti-radiation missiles. Additionally, the carriage of high and low drag bombs, laser guided bombs, run away penetration bombs and cluster bombs would be catered for. However, the air chief parried a question regarding the aircraft's ability to carry nukes.

This machines has prominent maneuver cabability, greater range, airborne period and combat radius, fine short distance take off and landing characteristic and stronger weapon carrying capacity. The prominent center low altitude and the high subsonic maneuver operational capacity, has a better interception and to the place attack capability, all-weather, single shot, single-seat. This machine uses nearby the medium aspect ratio the strip wing normal arrangement, entire machine has 7 outside viewpoints, may be hanging many kinds of empty, the open area weapon, and may outside hang 3 auxiliary oil tanks, outside hangs the ability 3,600 kilograms.

This machine has used the advanced air operated contour and the big thrust force, the low consumption turbofan engine, as well as the advanced digital fax flies controls the system, the integrated aviation electron and the armament system, has in the launch to be apart from the ball, to realize the multi- goals beyond line of sight attack ability, has many kinds of advanced precise function and so on navigation, battlefield situation sensation, target detection and recognition, operational attack as well as electronic warfare. Because has used the contemporary advanced design and the manufacture technology, the owlet dragon/FC-1 airplane had achieved the third generation fighter aircraft synthesis fighting efficiency, can contend with with now the advanced fighter aircraft, simultaneously has the low cost the characteristic, completely adapts the modern warfare request and the military airplane market demand.

The Pak Tribune reported on April 29, 2004 that the first eight of these aircraft would be delivered to the PLAAF in 2006.

Small batch production of the single-seat, single-engine JF-17, began in China in June 2006 for deliveries to Pakistan in 2007. The fourth prototype of JF-17 Thunder aircraft, equipped with exclusive avionics and weapons qualification systems, jointly manufactured by Pakistan and China completed its maiden test operational flight 10 May 2006, proving its creditability to meet the needs of both the countries. The 11 minutes flight at 1500 meters height with 500 kilometers speed per hour. It took off from People's Liberation Air force base, Chengdu and landed back on the same runway, reporting perfect performance. Chief of Pakistan Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed who was chief guest at the maiden flight ceremony congratulated the pilots, engineers and technicians of the two countries to make the JF-17 Thunder project successful.

Pakistan began domestic production of the JF-17 Thunder fighter in 2008, with its air force hoping to take delivery of up to 10 aircraft and form an operational squadron by the end of 2008. The Inaugural Ceremony to launch the manufacturing of JF-17 Thunder sub-Assemblies was held 22 January 2008 at PAC Kamra. Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force was the chief guest on this historical occasion. The ceremony commemorates yet another milestone in the Pakistan China Military Cooperation.

Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed, Chief of the Air Staff, speaking on the occasion said "I am committed to ensuring that PAC quickly gears up its resources to take up its share of co-production. I am looking forward to achieving, within one year, a capability of producing 15 JF-17 aircraft annually. This would then have to be enhanced to 20-25 aircraft in 2-3 years' time. I am also looking forward to the establishment of the first JF-17 Operational Conversion Unit in PAF by the end of this year." He also said, "I would like to remind every one _ especially, the personnel of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex_of the challenge and promise of success that lie ahead, as you embark upon the coveted goal of manufacturing. Not many people are afforded an opportunity to be part of the major and prestigious national programme such as the JF-17 Thunder aircraft. It is for you to seize the opportunity and make your nation proud. He further said, "I take pride in this joint venture between the People's Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan."

The JF-17 Thunder project clearly envisages co-production of the aircraft both in China and Pakistan. The objective of setting up of JF-17 production facilities at PAC Kamra is not only to enhance the PAF's operational capability at affordable price but also create employment opportunities for about 5000 people.

In line with the original plan, the manufacturing of sub-assemblies for the JF-17 Thunder was launched at PAC Kamra on 22 January, 2008. This would, indeed, be a red letter day in the history of PAC. The production of sub-assemblies would be, subsequently, expanded to encompass the parts manufacturing, final assembly and flight testing. Fighter aircraft manufacturing, which was once a closely guarded realm of developed countries only, is now well within our reach. The success, today, stands on the foundations of the perseverance of our pilots, engineers and technicians and their Chinese counterparts. The landmark achievement is not only a source of pride for the Pakistani nation but also a measure of rare distinction for the country to have joined a select group of nations having indigenous fighter aircraft production capability.

In order to speed up the development progress and facilitate maturity of the aircraft, two J-17 of the small batch production were received in Pakistan on 21 March 2007. Subsequently, these aircraft made their debut by participating in Pakistan Day Parade on 23 March 2007. Islamabad took delivery of six more from China in early February 2008 to test avionics and weapon systems.

i read some where that Pakistan is secretly working on the F16 engine and also on Russian engines. But Confirm i read it once that Pakistan is working on reverse engineering. Hope for good.

Please don't even try to compare F16 with Jf17 in your dreams. U.S technology is the best in the word, Russian and Chinese engines are garbage.

One old F16 = 5 jf17

Indians and Pakistanis live in dream world.

Whatever anyone says; To be able to develop and produce your own 4th generation aircraft as a country plagued by a million problems (India, Kashmir, corruption, hate/neglect by Western nations, terrorism and the list goes on), it's a big feat to become relatively independent and be able to defend your own skies without using the help of mr TwoFace who secretly wants to crush this only Muslim nuclear power.

Yes the JF-17 may have a way to go before it can beat the F-16 in all areas but it will get there. The U.S. is focusing on the F-35, the F-16 is slowly becoming an obsolete dinosaur, reserved only for export to 3rd world countries.

As for making your Jetengine. - Only a few Western countries have successfully mastered the art of developing engines for aircraft. It's no small feat,

As for Russian engines, you have to give them credit their planes are not bad at all -

The Truth About the Useless F-35 & F-22

The world will probably not see much combat from F-22 at all.

F-22 Fails -

The expected best Stealthfighter at the moment is considered to be the Russian Sukhoi T-50.

China is building several indigenous jetengines and they'll eventually succeed as it's an essential component in making a 100% indigenous aircraft.

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