JF-17 Thunder

JF-17 Thunder

infobox Aircraft
name = JF-17 Thunder FC-1 Fierce Dragon
type = Multirole fighter
manufacturer = Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation Pakistan Aeronautical Complex

caption = JF-17 in the testing phase - 2006
designer =
first flight = 25 August 2003
introduced = 12 March 2007
retired =
status = Serial production beginning / In active service with Pakistan
primary user = Pakistan Air Force
more users = People's Liberation Army Air Force
produced = In China: June 2007-???? / In Pakistan: January 2008-????
number built = 4 prototypes
10 delivered
unit cost = US$15-20 million (estimated).

The PAC JF-17 Thunder, also known as the Chengdu FC-1 Fierce Dragon (simplified chinese 枭龙, traditional chinese 梟龍, pinyin:"Xiāo Lóng") [Note: Some analysts refer to the J-10 Vigorous Dragon (F-10 Vanguard) as the "Fierce Dragon".] in China, is a 4th generation single-seat multi-role fighter aircraft jointly developed by China and Pakistan. The "JF" and "FC" designations stand for "Joint Fighter" and "Fighter China" respectively. The first two aircraft were delivered to the Pakistan Air Force on 2007-03-12. Anon. (12 March,2007) [http://www.geo.tv/geonews/details.asp?id=3323&param=1 Two JF-17s Delivered to Pakistan] . "GEO News".] The JF-17/FC-1 is designed to be a cost-effective plane which can meet the tactical and strategic needs of air forces of developing countries. On January 22 2008, Pakistan started serial production of the aircraft at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra. [ [http://www.janes.com/news/defence/air/jdw/jdw080124_2_n.shtml JF-17 production commences - Jane's Air Forces News ] ] [ [http://www.thememriblog.org/urdupashtu/blog_personal/en/4801.htm Urdu ] ] [ [http://www.dawn.com/2008/01/23/top7.htm Sub-assembly of Thunder aircraft begins at Kamra -DAWN - Top Stories; January 23, 2008 ] ] .


The JF-17 is being built by China's Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAC) and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC). Fact|date=March 2008

The project is expected to cost about US$500 million, divided equally between China and Pakistan, while each individual aircraft is expected to have a fly-away cost of US$8-15 million. The JF-17 Thunder initial development project was completed in a period of four years. Anon. (2003) [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/china/fc-1.htm JF-17 Thunder/FC-1] . "Global Security".] However, later improvements to the project has taken up more time. Pakistan has announced that it will procure 150, but this may easily go up to 300. The JF-17 will replace Pakistan's MiG-21-derived Chengdu F-7, Nanchang A-5 (Q-5) and Mirage III/V currently in service. Azerbaijan and Zimbabwe have each placed orders as well. 9 other countries which have expressed interest in purchasing the JF-17 are Bangladesh, Burma (Myanmar), Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, MalaysiaIqbal, Anwar. (Feb, 2005) [http://www.pakdef.info/pdnn/news2005feb.html#malaysia Malaysia looks to Pakistan as source of armaments] . "Pakistan Military Consortium".] , Morocco, Nigeria and Sri Lanka, plus Algeria, which has reversed the decision of opting the latest MiG-29UBS.

In 1986, China signed an agreement with Grumman to develop an upgrade for the J-7 known as the "Saber II", the replacement of the abandoned "Super 7" upgrade of J-7. The program was cancelled in 1990, primarily due to worsening relations with the U.S. following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. However, CAC kept the program alive by providing low-level funding from its own resources.

After U.S. sanctions were imposed on Pakistan in 1990, Pakistan also became interested in the project.

The first prototype was rolled out on May 31 2003, conducted its first taxi trials on July 1, and made its first flight on August 25 of the same year. Prototype 03 made its first flight in April 2004. On April 28, 2006, Prototype 04 made its first flight with fully operational avionics.


Looking at the status of the development's work, the fourth prototype version of the JF-17 Thunder combat jet has successfully completed its first operational flight in Chengdu, China, on Wednesday, 2006-03-10. Anon. (11 May, 2006) [http://www.paktribune.com/news/index.shtml?143355 4th Prototype JF-17 Thunder aircraft successfully completed inaugural flight JF-17 Thunder] . "Pak Tribune".] The 4th prototype of the JF-17 Thunder combat jet is configured as a multi-role fighter-bomber and is capable of carrying multiple air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons. The fighter jet is equipped with advanced electronics and weapons systems. Pakistan received the first consignment of 2 aircraft on 2007-03-23, while the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in Kamra will start manufacturing the JF-17 in 2008. China will start official production in June 2007.

The fourth prototype version is said to be redesigned with F-35 style Divertless Supersonic Intakes (DSIs) being the most notable feature; according to Lockheed Martin, DSIs are more stealthy than other conventional air intakes as well as DSIs also divert turbulent boundary-layer airflow away from the engine inlet Anon. (12 May, 2006) [http://www.defence.pk/jf-17_thunder.html JF-17 Thunder] . "Pakistan Defence - JF-17 Multirole Aircraft".] Anon. (30 Dec, 2006) [http://www.sinodefence.com/airforce/fighter/fc1.asp FC-1/JF-17 Multirole Fighter Aircraft] . "Sino Defence".]

At the Sixth Zhuhai Airshow in China, a Unit Training Device (UTD) appearing identical to the earlier mockup of the JF-17 was publicly displayed, and the manufacturer of the aircraft, along with other manufacturers of airborne weaponry, provided more detailed information on the projects:


The software of JF-17 totaled more than one million lines of instructions, incorporating the concept of open architecture. Instead of using the common Ada, the programming language of JF-17 software is written in C++ instead. The reason for using C++ instead of Ada was due to practice of the commercial off-the-shelf to better utilize the large number of civilian software programmers available. The avionics of JF-17 prototypes was based on Motorola 88000 microprocessor originally, but can be changed to other types of the same class. The 4th prototype includes advanced avionics features such as:


* Electronic Flight Instrument System with cockpit displays that are compatible with western systems such as those built by Rockwell Collins and Honeywell.
**HUD is a state-of-the-art system developed by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC).
**All HUD and head-down displays are compatible with the standard electro-optical targeting pod that is carried externally.
**Many images/information can be displayed at the same time.
**The control panel consists of only 3 multi-function displays.
***All information is processed and displayed on them.
***Each screen's functions can be redefined individually, and are exchangeable.
***Brightness and contrast can be adjusted automatically or manually, and can be made compatible with night vision goggles.
***In mid-2007, Chinese state-run television station CCTV-7 aired the latest information on the EFIS of JF-17 with most conventional analogue dial indicators eliminated:
****It was shown that the EFIS of JF-17 consists of three large rectangular shaped color MFDs that appeared to be LCD. The MFD in the middle is in a lower position than the two on the side. Unlike most MFD with width greater than height, all MFDs on JF-17 appear to be rotated 90 degrees, i.e. with height much greater than width. A digital moving map display in Chinese is shown on the MFD to the right. However, other languages are also available, but it can be concluded for sure that English is definitely the dominant language.
****There is a monochrome up-front control panel (UFCP) directly under the HUD, above the MFD in the middle. Control buttons are arranged to the left and the right sides of the UFCP, while there are three lines of display similar to that of civilian hand-held scientific calculators in the center, providing information such as dates in English. It appears that the displays of UFCP can only display information in English.
*HOTAS control.
*Intelligent avionics.
**Avionics system is all-digital and fully integrated.
**Distributed structure with open architecture.
***Two independent but exchangeable (can back up each other) STD-MTL-1553B data buses connect all equipment, plus two powerful control computers (that can also back up each other).
***Each computer controls one data bus.
***The current MIL-STD-1553B data bus can be readily replaced by MIL-STD-1773 fiber optic bus, on customer request.
*The seat is inclined more than the normal 13/14 degrees.Fact|date=November 2007


Several radars have been tested onboard prototypes of JF-17, which includes:

;Chinese Nanjing KLJ-7 radar: Many radars on the JF-17 have been tested, and many were selected for the first batch of JF-17s/FC-1s. However, recently, it has been disclosed by PAF Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed that the supplied JF-17s to Pakistan have KLJ-7 radars. [ [http://www.milavia.net/news/2007/jf-17-arrived-in-pakistan.html MILAVIA News - JF-17 Arrived in Pakistan ] ] [ [http://www.jf-17.com JF-17.com : Your Best Resource for JF-17/FC-1 ] ] ;Israeli Elta EL/M-2032 radar: Two delivered to China before the sales stopped under U.S. pressure. At least one was installed on the first Chinese prototypes for testing and evaluation. There are unconfirmed reports that at least one unit was lost when a prototype crashed.;Russian Phazotron Super Komar radar: This is a development of the Komar (Mosquito) radar Russian offered to upgrade Q-5s and J-7s. The Komar itself is a development of the Phazotron Kopyo (Spear) radar offered for the MiG-21-93/98, with newer electronics to drastically reduce the weight by more than a third, from the original 125 kg of Kopyo to 80 kg. With the exception of the sector of scan increased to +/-60° from the original +/-40° of Kopyo, all the rest of the performance parameters of the Komar remained the same as those of the Kopyo. The Super Komar radar has improved capabilities over the Komar in that instead of being able to simultaneously track 8 targets and engage 2 of the tracked like the Komar and Kopyo, it can simultaneously track 10 targets and engage 4 of the tracked. It is reported, however, despite successful tests, that the radar was eventually rejected by both China and Pakistan, because the 60/40 km tracking/engagement range of the Super Komar radar was simply too short, and this was the reason why no more follow-up orders were placed.;Italian FIAR Grifo-S7 radar: Unlike the Russian Super Komar, the Italian radar lacks the capability of multi-target tracking and engagement via semi-active radar homing air-to-air missiles. However, it does have multi-target tracking capability (up to 8) and single-target engagement capability via semi-active radar homing air-to-air missiles and when using active radar homing air-to-air missiles, two targets can be simultaneously engaged. The radar weighs 110 kg and a slotted planar array antenna. This Italian radar has a higher MTBF than the Russian radar, up to more than 220 hours. Furthermore, the ISO-9002-certified radar and electronics manufacturing facility at Kamra of the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex already had vast experience in license assembly / production of earlier Italian FIAR Grifo series radars for the F-7MP/P/PG, and the Italian radar would have an advantage over its competitors should assembly / production licenses be granted like it had been done earlier. This Italian radar emerged as the winner in the competition against the British Blue Hawk and the French RC-400 radars, and it was reported that at least several units would equip the very first JF-17s in Pakistani service.;British GEC-Marconi Blue Hawk radar: This radar is developed from GEC-Marconi's Blue Vixen radar on board the BAE Sea Harrier, with an MTBF of over 200 hours. The radar lacks the compatibility with semi-active radar homing air-to-air missiles, and this was one of the reason it was rejected by Pakistan, but this capability can be incorporated up on customer's request. The radar weighs 104 kg and incorporates a slotted planar array. This British radar remains a potential candidate on export versions of the JF-17, should potential customers require a cheaper alternative to the Italian Grifo-S7 radar.;French Thomson-CSF RC-400 radar: This radar is developed from Thomson-CSF's RDY radar on board the Dassault Mirage 2000, with reduced peak power and maximum range due to decreased size and weight. Like the British GEC-Marconi Blue Hawk radar, this French radar was also rejected by Pakistan for lacking the compatibility with semi-active radar homing air-to-air missiles, but Thomson-CSF had claimed that such capability could be readily incorporated upon customer's request. Another reason for Pakistani rejection of the radar was that, instead of being built to the MIL-STD-1553 standard, the French radar was built to the French DIGIBUS one instead, so extra work must be done for compatibility with MIL-STD-1553, thus increasing the cost. However, for potential customers who had been accustomed with French equipment, this French radar is a logical choice, because although the initial cost for installation is higher, the overall operational cost would be lower when the radar is compatible with all other French equipment in the inventory. For this reason, the RC-400 also remains a potential candidate for export versions of the JF-17 for possible future customers equipped with French systems.

Head-up display (HUD)

When Chinese Su-30MKK and Indian Su-30MKI were deployed in the humid subtropical and tropical zones, both had experienced significant fogging problems for the Russian SILS-30 HUDs, which was originally designed for arid environment in arctic/subarctic zones, thus a great deal of effort was spent to solve this issue so that the holographic HUD of Chinese origin on JF-17 could be deployed in any environments like its western counterparts. Alternatively, western HUDs can be incorporated directly into the aircraft with little effort due to the modular design and the adoptation of MIL-STD-1553B. The Chinese designed HUD for J-10 has inherited Russian/Soviet tradition of doubling as a radarscope, enabling the pilot to keep his eyes focused at infinity while working with his radar at the same time, a feature originally reverse engineered from MiG-23s obtained from Egypt.Fact|date=August 2008 The Chinese further expanded this function to include the projection of monochrome images from electrical optical pods JF-17 carried, though the colored images from these electrical optical pods would still have to be displayed on the head down displays.

However, many domestic Chinese sources have claimed that based on the feedback of the Chinese, Pakistani and other foreign pilots invited to evaluate the system, the result of such attempt to combine the best of Russian/Soviet and western practices is mixed at the best. While pilots accustomed to Soviet fighters including MiG-23 and MiG-29 welcomed the move, many others were rather not impressed at all, feeling that it was nothing other than merely pasting a transparent map on the HUD, because there was no three-dimensional presentation that would accurately cue a pilot's eyes to look for a target as it appears in a particular direction/angle, so the overall true effectiveness was still rather questionable. Such claimed are supported by the official acknowledgement of the manufacturer when Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation publicly announced at 6th Zhuhai Airshow held at the end of 2006 that this function did not come as a standard feature. Furthermore, the unit training device (UTD) presented at the same airshow also lacked this feature. As of early 2008, this function of HUD doubling as a radarscope is marketed by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation as an extra feature if the customer is willing to pay extra, rather than as a standard feature that comes with the aircraft. However, incorporating this feature might be helpful to attract customers who operates Soviet fighter with the same feature, such as MiG-23 and MiG-29.

Electro-optical systems

JF-17 is full compatible with the Chinese indigenously developed electro-optical (optronics) system originally developed for J-10 by Sichuan Changhong Electric Appliance Corporation. ( [http://changhong.co.bokee.net 四川长虹电器股份有限公司] ) The domestic Chinese optronics system is more advanced than the Russian Izdeliye series which lacked the infrared imaging (ImIR) capability. The Chinese system is named as Type Hongguang-I Electro-optical radar (虹光-Ⅰ型光电雷达), with Hongguang meaning Rainbow Light, and it is a third generation optronics with ImIR capability and utilizes HgCdTe focal array, and received its certification on March 3, 2005 and subsequently entered service. A year later, the system was revealed to Chinese pubilc at the Conference on (Making) Sichuan Province a Strong Industrial Province ( [http://finance.sina.com.cn/stock/t/20060327/0454615260.shtml 四川工业强省工作会] ). During the conference that lasted from March 26 to March 31, 2006, many cadres attending the conference including the Sichuan provincial (communist) party secretary Zhang Xuezhong (张学忠) were shown and operated an actual system demonstrated at the conference. Type Hongguang-I Electro-optical radar is also designed to be compatible with H-6, JH-7, J-8, J-11 and other large aircraft. Based on the limited information released, Hongguang-I optronics has a maximum range up to 75 km, longer than the Izdeliye OLS-27 (36Sh) optronics with 50 km on Su-27, but shorter than the Izdeliye OLS-30 (52Sh) optronics on Su-30.

In comparison to Russian Izdeliye family of optronics such as OLS-27 (36Sh) on Su-27 and OLS-30 (52Sh) on Su-30 that weigh over 200 kg, the Chinese system is much more lighter and compact, but still not enough to be fitted into the nose of the aircraft when the current available radars are installed. As a result, only the podded version can be carried by earlier production models of JF-17. Many domestic Chinese sources have claimed that this is the reason why the radar selection of JF-17 has not yet been finalized, due to the need for a more compact and lighter one while maintaining the same capability at the same time in order to install the domestic optronics system internally like similar systems on F-14, MiG-29 and Su-27.

Helmet Mounted Sight (HMS)

Though the exact type of helmet mounted sights for the JF-17 has yet to be determined, it is known that the HMS will be standard. The JF-17 is compatible with a wide range of HMSes, and its HMS will be at least equal or better than the HMS offered for the Chengdu J-7E/F-7PG (J-7), which first appeared in 2002 at air shows and various defense / electronics exhibitions, such as CIDEX held in China. According to staffmembers from the developing firms and their advertisements at these exhibitions, the HMS offered for the J-7 is already better than the latest Russian HMS available on the export market, in that the Chinese HMS is specifically designed to improve the performance of the Russian system, and it outperforms its Russian counterparts including the ASP-AVD-21, Shchel series and Sura series in various fields:Fact|date=April 2008

*In comparison to the original standard Russian ASP-PVD-21 HMS on board the MiG-29 Fulcrum and the Flanker family, the field of view of the Chinese HMS for the J-7 is +/-90°, which is far greater than the mere +/-8° of the Russian ASP-PVD-21 HMS.
*In comparison to the latest Russian HMS available with +/-60° of field of view, the Chinese HMS for the J-7 still enjoys much greater field of view at +/-90°.
*The elevation of the latest Russian HMS designed to replace the original ASP-PVD-21 HMS on board the MiG-29 and the Flanker family is only +/-40°, while in contrast, the Chinese HMS for the J-7 is already +/-45°.
*The Chinese HMS for the J-7 already had a higher reliability than the Russian HMS.
*The Chinese HMS for the J-7 is easier and much cheaper to manufacture than its Russian counterparts.

Although the Chinese HMS for the J-7 has already enjoyed numerous advantages over the latest Russian HMS developed later, it still might not be the final type of HMS selected for the JF-17, because even as the Chinese HMS for the J-7 was first revealed in 2002, the Chinese manufacturers such as the 613th Institute had already started the development of newer HMS designed to replace the HMS for the J-7. Three major Chinese manufacturers, XBOE, the 613th Institute, and Luoyang Optoelectro Technology Development Center have already developed a variety of HMS systems with improvements including the adaptation of common attachments and power sources so that all night vision goggles and HMS are interchangeable, without the need to replace the entire system. The weight would be further reduced from the 200-gram weight of the Chinese HMS for the J-7, while the performance is further increased (mainly in the increase of elevation angles). While claims by various sources that the more advanced Chinese HMS on board the Chengdu J-10 developed from the HMS on board the J-7 would be selected for the JF-17 cannot be confirmed, the aircraft is certainly compatible with the more advanced Chinese HMS on board the J-10.Fact|date=April 2008

Electronic warfare

It has all the standard electronic warfare systems, such as radar warning receiver, missile approach warning system, etc.

*The computer can store more than 500 existing radar signals for identification, which is around 5 times of that F-7MP/P, and actually already stores more than 250 known radar signal patterns.
*360-degree field of view for the missile approach warning system with both infrared & ultraviolet spectrum detection.
**Very sensitive to the "afterburn" of missiles.
**The detection range is 60+ km.
**One detection sensor is in the tail and two at the front.
**Moreover, it can provide a certain capacity of tracking and positioning of approaching missiles.
*BM/KG300G Self protection jamming pod.
*KZ900 Electronic reconnaissance pod.
*Blue Sky navigation pod: Low altitude navigational and attack pod
*FILAT Forward-looking Infrared Laser Attack Targeting pod
*Other targeting pods


The JF-17 has two communication radios; one of them has the capacity for data link to exchange data from either a ground control center or an AWACS/AEW.

The modular design of solid state avionics has enabled the data link for the air-to-ground precision guided munitions to be carried internally, thus eliminating the need to carry external data link pods that are common for current Russian and Vietnam War era American systems, but this only applies to the radar or GPS guided air-to-surface missiles, because for television, infrared, or laser guided munitions, the aircraft lacks built-in electro-optics targeting and weapon control systems, so an external electro-optic targeting pod must be carried such as the Chinese built Blue Sky.


The current engine in the JF-17, the Russian RD-93, is now completely smoke-free. Truly impressive is that considering all its misgivings, the acceleration and quick response it can achieve is well within expectations. According to most test pilots, the engine's response is virtually instantaneous. Here is a comparison between the RD-93 and the Chinese WS-13:

:"Source: [http://www.grandestrategy.com/2007/06/light-sabre-for-third-world-fc-1-jf-17.html RD-93 / WS-13] "

Engine maintenance

Instead of being required to be sent back to the main overhaul factories in the rear for engine replacements, the aircraft engine can be readily replaced at the forward airbases in field conditions within two hours (one hour forty-five minutes has been achieved), providing the necessary maintenance equipment is all in place.

Fuel system

*Total internal fuel: 5,130 lb [http://www.pac.org.pk/amfsite-final/jf17specifications.html JF-17 Specifications] ]
*Single point pressure refueling system
*External Fuel:
**One (1) centerline droptank, 800 liters
**Two (2) under wing droptanks, 800/1,100 liters

Ground maintenance equipment

In comparison to Russian ground maintenance equipment for the Flanker family such as the Sukhoi Su-30, the Chinese claim that its indigenously-developed ground maintenance equipment for the JF-17 offers significant advantages to the current Russian one on the market, and the PLAAF has already begun to replace Russian ground maintenance equipment for the Flanker family for the following reasons:

*Like its Western counterparts, the Chinese ground maintenance equipment is not limited to serve a single type of aircraft; instead, it is designed to service a wide range of aircraft, including both civilian and military. In comparison, most Russian ground maintenance equipment for the Flanker family are purposely built and can only serve the aircraft in that family.
*The Chinese ground maintenance equipment utilizes solid state electronics, and has better reliability.
*Chinese equipment is based on the commercial off-the-shelf products that greatly reduce the logistic problems due to its commonality with similar commercial equipment available, while meeting the military standards in same time.
*Due to the adaptation of the commercial off-the-shelf products, Chinese equipment is cheaper to purchase, and, more importantly, cheaper to operate than the specially designed Russian ones, which have unit prices from at least $0.5 million to more than $1.0 million United States dollars.
*Chinese equipment adopts the multi-tasks workstation principle of similar American systems, and thus much fewer equipment is needed like the American ones. In comparison, most Russian ground maintenance equipment offered for export for the Flanker family is single-tasked, thus forcing the buyers to spend more money on purchasing every type in order to meet the complete maintenance requirements.
*Due to its similar design that follows Western systems, Chinese equipment is compact and can be deployed by air, like its Western counterparts. In contrast, Russian equipment for Flanker family is bulky and can only be transported on land, since it cannot fit inside cargo airplanes.
*Chinese equipment is versatile like similar Western systems, in that it can either be truck-mounted to increase mobility, or trailer-mounted to reduce cost. In contrast, the current Russian ground maintenance equipment on the market for the Flanker family only comes in truck-mounted form (as of 2006).
*Instead of being built by a single production complex associated with the aircraft manufacturer like the ground maintenance equipment of the [Flanker family, the complete set of the Chinese ground maintenance equipment is developed by different manufacturers of similar equipment used for commercial airplanes, so that buyers would have wider choice of suppliers, and would not have to pay higher prices, because they would not to be locked into the deal forced upon them by the aircraft manufacturer. The purchasers of Chinese equipment therefore are open to purchase Western components should they choose to, when there are better deals to be found.
*More importantly, since most of the Chinese equipment is for civilian use, there is far less likelihood of being embargoed like the Russian equipment for the Flanker family, which is purely for military use.
*The civilian usage of the multi-tasked Chinese equipment also means that the equipment can be better utilized for civilian aircraft, and thus reducing the cost of operation like similar Western systems. In contrast, not only is the Russian counterpart limited to military aircraft, it is also only limited to a single family of military aircraft, because many of the single-tasked Russian ground maintenance equipment purposely built for Flanker family can only be used for Flankers.
*Like similar Western systems of modular design, the Chinese ground maintenance equipment also has the option of modular design, so that when newer subsystems become available, they can be readily incorporated into the system by replacing the older ones on the racks.


Russia and China had signed an end-user certificate for the RD-93 engines, preventing China from exporting the JF-17 to Pakistan after Indian protests. In 2007, in a surprise move the Russian President Vladimir Putin intervened and allowed re-export of the engines to Pakistan and six other countries [http://www.kommersant.com/p792862/r_500/China_to_re-export_RD-93_to_Pakistan/ Russia President allows re-export of engines to Pakistan.] ] [http://www.kommersant.com/p762182/r_500/deal_fighter_jets_Pakistan/ Chinese Fighter Jets to Reach Pakistan.] ] , following this the former Russian PM Mikhail Fradkov visited Pakistan to boost relations between the two countries. [http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C04%5C11%5Cstory_11-4-2007_pg5_7 Russian Prime Minister visits Pakistan to boost relations.] ]

Pakistan Air Force JF-17

The first 50 JF-17s entering Pakistan Air Force (PAF) service will only incorporate Chinese avionics and weapon systems. Subsequent upgrades will be made on PAF JF-17s every five years, planned additions include Infra-Red Search & Track (IRST), In-Flight Refueling (IFR) and possibly engine change from the Russian RD-93 to Chinese WS-13 and maybe some minor stealth features. Anon. [http://www.pac.org.pk/amfsite-final/jf17.html JF-17 Thunder] . "Pakistan Aeronautical Complex".] Anon. [http://www.pac.org.pk/amfsite-final/jf17specifications.html JF-17 Thunder - Specifications] . "Pakistan Aeronautical Complex".]

Beyond the initial 50 PAF JF-17s, the remaining may be equipped with European avionics and radars. Pakistan had begun negotiations with British and Italian defence firms over potential avionics and ECM/EW systems for JF-17. In fact, one of the radar options for JF-17 is the Italian Grifo S7. Anon. [http://www.selex-sas.com/datasheets_ga/Grifofamily.pdf Italian Grifo family] . "Sensors and Airborne Systems".]

The first two have arrived in Pakistan and are part of the initial 150 order. The PAF aims to boost the JF-17 fleet to 200-300Fact|date=August 2008.


All weapon systems are designed to be compatible with both Western systems (ie. supporting MIL-STD-1760 data bus), Chinese systems and Pakistani systems as well. A total of 3,629 kg (8,000 lb) of ordnance can be loaded on the JF-17 Thunder. [http://www.pac.org.pk/amfsite-final/jf17.html Pakistan Aeronautical Complex ] ]


One internal GSh-23-2 twin-barrel 23-mm [ [http://www.milavia.net/aircraft/fc-1/fc-1_specs.htm MILAVIA Aircraft - Chengdu FC-1/JF-17 Thunder Specifications ] ] cannon has been installed on JF-17, which can be replaced with a 30-mm single-barrel cannon. [ [http://www.sinodefence.com/airforce/fighter/fc1_specs.asp FC-1/JF-17 Specifications - SinoDefence.com ] ]

Air-to-air weaponry

The JF-17 is primarily an export-oriented fighter, thus it can be built according a customer's specifications and use a variety of Chinese and Western weapon systems.

These include air-to-air Beyond Visual Range missiles (BVRs).

;Non-Chinese weapons:
*R-Darter BVR-AAM (proposed at IDEAS 2006, Karachi, Pakistan)
*A-Darter WVR-AAM (also proposed at IDEAS 2006)
*T-Darter BVR-AAM (also proposed at IDEAS 2006)
*IRIS-T WVR-AAM (also proposed at IDEAS 2006)
*AIM-9L/P Sidewinder WVR-AAM
*AIM-7F Sparrow BVR-AAM
*Magic-II - R550 Magic [ [http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Aircraft/Missiles/Magic-II.html Matra Magic-II ] ]
*BLU-107 Durandal

;Chinese weapons:
*PL-9 Chinese copy of Python-3 for within visual range combat
*SD-10 BVRAAM, a Beyond Visual Range missile

Air-to-ground weaponry

In addition to unguided bombs and rockets, the aircraft is adopted to deploy a wide range of precision guided munitions, including:

;Non-Chinese weapons:
*GBU-10 Paveway II
*GBU-12 Paveway II
*Mark 82 bomb
*Mark 84 bomb
*DPGM (Precision Guided Bomb) - Denel (South Africa)
*Raptor-I precision-guided long-range glide bomb (60 km) - Denel (South Africa)
*Raptor-II precision-guided long-range glide bomb (120 km) - Denel (South Africa)
*Rockeye - CBU-100 Cluster Bomb
*Anti-ship missile such as Exocet and Harpoon missile.
*Russian KAB series laser guided bombs; these Russian bombs cannot be directly mounted on weapon pylons like Western or Chinese munitions, instead, added special adapter rails are needed for JF-17s when using them

;Indigenous Pakistani weapons:
*H-2 Air to Ground Munition(60 km)
*H-4 Air to Ground Munition(120 km)
*Ra'ad Stand-off cruise mssile (350 km)
*HAFR-2 Anti-Runway bomb

;Chinese weapons:
*FT (Fei Teng) series of GPS guided bombs
*LT (Lei Ting) of laser guided bombs
*LS (Lei Shi) series of GPS glide bombs
*C-101 Supersonic Anti-ship missile
*FL-7 Supersonic Anti-ship missile
*C-701 Air-to-surface missile
*TL-10 Anti-ship missile for boats with displacement up to 500 tons
*TL-6 Anti-ship missile for boats/ships with displacement up to 1,000 tons
*C-704 Anti-ship missile for ships with displacement up to 3,000-4,000 tons
*C-801/802 Anti-ship missile for ships with displacement greater than 4,000 tons

All precision guided munitions listed above are either GPS or radar guided, and when the television or laser guided munitions are deployed, addition electro-optical targeting pods such as the Chinese-built Blue Sky pod must be carried externally in order to provide guidance and targeting information.

Operational history

Serial production begun in June 2006. A total of 8 aircraft have been delivered to PAF. 2 were delivered prior to March 23 parade in 2007 and the remainder 6 were delivered in 2008. Serial production after 2008 is planned at an annual 10-15 planes per year, while from 2009+ it will be at 25-30 planes per year. After the 2008, earthquakes in China, this figure may not be achievable.

The Rtd. Gen, ex-President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, declared in his Independence Day speech on August 14, 2006 that the JF-17 will be flying in Pakistani skies by March 23 2007. The first 2 JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft were delivered to Pakistan Air Force on 2007-03-12. The JF-17 Thunder aircraft had its first public appearance in Islamabad, on March 23, 2007 during a fly-past performance in the Pakistan Day Joint Services Parade in Islamabad. Anon. (24 March, 2007) [http://www.paktribune.com/news/index.shtml?172945 JF-17 Thunder main focus of attention at Pak Day fly-past] . "Pak Tribune".]

On 2007-03-31, Pakistan Air Force Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed said, "PAF would soon induct fourth and fifth generation high-tech fleet of fighter-bomber aircraft with the aim to modernize the country’s air force which includes the induction of 10 to 12 squadrons of JF-17 Thunder aircraft." He also said, during this year, six more JF-17 aircraft would be received from China (now received), as in 2008 the serial production of the aircraft would commence at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra, Pakistan. The PAF Chief said, 15 aircraft would be manufactured in 2008, while 20 in the next year with the aim to achieve capability to manufacture 25 to 30 aircraft per year, also hinting the PAF was set to acquire up to 250 JF-17 Thunder aircraft. Pub. (31 March, 2007) [http://www.aaj.tv/news/news.php?pg=3&show=detail&nid=61769 PAF to induct high-tech aircraft in numbers soon; aging fleet to be replaced till 2015: Air Chief] . "APP/Aaj TV News".] Anon. (31 March, 2007) [http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=6815 PAF to seek more Chinese aircraft, says air chief] . "The News, Pakistan".]

The ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan Shaukat Aziz in a recent press conference held in Islamabad, Pakistan after the visit of China termed the project as JF-17 was "Pakistan’s proud programme and a unique example of cooperation and friendship between the two countries". He also said that serial production of JF-17 Thunder aircraft would soon start next year and Pakistan would like to sell fourth generation JF-17 Multirole Aircraft to those interested. The Prime Minister also confirmed that JF-17 Thunder aircraft in Pakistan had also completed 500 combat missions and sorties. Tariq, Iqbal (23 April, 2007) [http://www.defence.pk/news/publish/Pakistan_wants_to_sell_JF-17_Multirole_Fighter_20070421.php Pakistan wants to sell JF-17 Multirole Fighter] . "Pakistan Defence".]

Potential customers

The Zimbabwe Air Force reportedly ordered 12 JF-17 2004, [http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/jun10_2004.html] [ [http://img61.imageshack.us/img61/1167/worldmilitarybalance200zl6.jpgIISS Military Balance 2006] ] [ [http://worlddefensereview.com/pham062807.shtml] ] Verify source|date=September 2008 but there are no current sources that confirm payment or intent of delivery.

The Azerbaijan Air Force is currently negotiating with Pakistan for the purchase of 24-26 JF-17s, worth between 16 and 18 million dollars each. [http://www.iwpr.net/?p=crs&s=f&o=341032&apc_state=henh Azeri Defence Spending Under Fire] ] The Sudanese Air Force is also reported to be negotiating for 12 aircraft. [ [http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article25992] ]


Four variants are expected to be designed, built, tested and produced:

* FC-1
* FC-3 [http://english.gov.cn/2006-04/28/content_269203.htm Advanced China fighter aircraft makes test flight ] ]
* FC-4 [ [http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htairfo/articles/20060501.aspx Warplanes: New Chinese F-16/MiG-29 Competitor ] ] [ [http://www.air-attack.com/news/news_article/1509/Advanced-China-fighter-aircraft-makes-test-flight.html Air-Attack.com News - Advanced China fighter aircraft makes test flight ] ] [ [http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?contentBlockId=b0084d51-5ce9-475c-8e91-dc1f16aada65 Aero-News Network: The Aviation and Aerospace World's Daily/Real-Time News and Information Service ] ] [ [http://www.upi.com/Security_Terrorism/Analysis/2006/05/01/upi_intelligence_watch/6792/ UPI Intelligence Watch - UPI.com ] ] [ [http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-04/28/content_4487258.htm Xinhua - English ] ]
* JF-17 Twin Seater - A future variant two-seated fully combat-capable training version, which was scheduled to begin flight testing in 2006 [ [http://www.milavia.net/aircraft/fc-1/fc-1.htm MILAVIA Aircraft - Chengdu FC-1/JF-17 Thunder ] ]

Prototypes and their roles


* Pakistan Air Force - The only current user of the JF-17 Thunder with 10 delivered, 150 ordered and 250 required;PRC
* People's Liberation Army Air Force - Under evaluation

pecifications (JF-17 Thunder)

aircraft specifications
plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=jet
ref=2008 Aviation Source Book2008 Aviation Source Book, Aviation Week & Space Technology, January 28, 2008]
payload main=
payload alt=
length main= 14.94 m
length alt=49 feet
span main=9.45 m
span alt=31 ft
height main=4.77 m
height alt=15 ft 8 in
area main= 24.4 m²
area alt= 263 ft²
empty weight main= 6,441 kg
empty weight alt= 14,200 lb
loaded weight main= 9,100 kgFrawley, Gerald. "Chengdu FC-1", "The International Directory of Military Aircraft, 2002/2003". Aerospace Publications, 2002. ISBN 1-875671-55-2.]
loaded weight alt= 20,062 lb
useful load main=
useful load alt=
max takeoff weight main= 12,700 kg
max takeoff weight alt= 28,000 lb
more general=Fuel Capacity: 5,130 lb [ [http://www.pac.org.pk/amfsite-final/jf17specifications.html Pakistan Aeronautical Complex ] ]
engine (jet)=Russian RD-93
type of jet=turbofan
number of jets=1
thrust main= 50 kN
thrust alt= 11,240 lbf
thrust original=
afterburning thrust main=81.4 kN
afterburning thrust alt= 18,300 lbf
max speed main= Mach 1.8
max speed alt= 1,120 mph
max speed more=
cruise speed main=
cruise speed alt=
stall speed main=
stall speed alt=
never exceed speed main=
never exceed speed alt=
range main=
range alt=
range more=
combat radius main=1,352 km
combat radius alt=890 nmi, 1,025 mi
combat radius more=
ferry range main=3,500 km [ [http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?contentBlockId=b0084d51-5ce9-475c-8e91-dc1f16aada65 Aero-News Network ] ]
ferry range alt=2,100 mi
ferry range more=
ceiling main= 17,000+ m [ [http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htairfo/articles/20060501.aspx Strategypage ] ]
ceiling alt= 55,000 ft
climb rate main=
climb rate alt=
loading main=
loading alt=
power/mass main=
power/mass alt=
more performance=
*G-limit: +8.5 g
hardpoint capacity=

ee also

* Chengdu J-7
similar aircraft=
* JAS-39 Gripen
* F/A-18 Hornet
* F-16 Fighting Falcon
* Dassault Mirage 2000
* HAL_Tejas
* List of fighter aircraft
see also=


External links

* [http://www.jf-17.com/ Jf-17.com, Largest Website dedicated to JF-17]
* [http://www.cac.com.cn/cpzs/index.asp/ Official CAC website]
* [http://www.paffalcons.com/main.php PAF Falcons Website]
* [http://www.pac.org.pk/ Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) website]
* [http://mil.jschina.com.cn/huitong/J-10_J-11_FC-1.htm/ FC-1/Super-7/JF-17 Thunder Dragon at Chinese Military Aviation]
* [http://www.defencetalk.com/world_military_aircraft/fighters/jf-17_thunder_fc-1_20040730.php JF-17 factsheet, news, pictures and updates at DefenceTalk.com]
* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/china/fc-1.htm/ JF-17/FC-1 at Global Security]
* [http://www.sinodefence.com/airforce/fighter/fc1.asp JF-17/FC-1 by Chinese Defense Today]
* [http://www.defence.pk/jf-17_thunder.html JF-17 Thunder at Defence.pk]
* [http://www.grandestrategy.com/2007/06/light-sabre-for-third-world-fc-1-jf-17.html JF-17 Thunder at GrandeStrategy.com]

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