JF-17 THUNDERS PARTICIPATE IN THE ZHUHAI AIR SHOW

By Raja G Mujtaba

Zhuhai Aircraft Show

At Zhuhai, JF-17 (Thunder) that was co-developed (by PAF & CATIC), and co-produced by PAC (Pakistan Aeronautical Complex) and CATIC (China Aero-technology Import Export Corporation) was put up for static as well as aerial display in the Air Show.

At present, JF-17 aircraft stands prominent in its own class of fighters. In the present environment, when defence budgets are shrinking and Air Forces face difficulties in affording modern combat aircraft, JF-17 offers a highly cost effective solution with cutting edge capabilities. In the shape of JF-17 aircraft, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and CATIC offer a cost- effective, highly potent, multi-role combat aircraft which is capable of meeting the challenges of present and future Air Power employment.

Today JF-17 is to Pakistan what Mirage was to France in the 60s. If cards are played properly, JF-17 can turn around the economy of Pakistan much like as Mirage turned around the French economy.


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The JF-17 Thunder is an all weather, multi-role, light combat aircraft that has the potential to be the main stay & work horse of any Air Force. The design of JF-17 aircraft is based on modern concepts of aerodynamics. The aircraft is equipped with a digital fly-by-wire flight control system that gives it the agility in all regimes of the operational flight envelope. The JF-17 has a complete glass cockpit, excellent man-machine interface and modern self”protection suite, which enhance combat potential and survivability of the aircraft. The JF-17 is equipped with fourth generation avionics systems, wide range of conventional & smart weapons, long range glide bombs, BeyondVisualRange & short range Air-to-Air missiles, Anti-Ship missile and Air-to-Surface missiles. The aircraft requires remarkably short lengths of runway for take-off & landing, which offers flexibility of aircraft operations at short air strips. The aircraft are being planned to have Air-to-Air refueling capability, which will further enhance its combat potential and employment options.

Pakistan Air Force has inducted JF-17 in its fleet and with the co-production in full swing the aircraft are rolling out from Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra. The JF-17 Program has been a success story since its inception in 1998. Developmental work on the aircraft commenced in the year-1999 and detailed design was finalized in September, 2001. After flight testing, a Small Batch of 08 aircraft was produced in year-2007 and finally serial co-production of the aircraft started in Pakistan in the Year-2009. So far PAFs two Squadrons have been equipped with JF-17s, while the third is planned to be raised by early next year.

There is no doubt that PAF has a large number of obsolete inventory to replace with JF-17s but it would be highly desirable to have simultaneous export program also so as to create display windows outside. What it would mean is to expand the production facility to meet both demands at home and abroad. This policy would pay rich dividends in the long run. Its a jewel crafted with precision to cherish the eyes and same time provide a lethal punch thats needed to defend the skies.

(Feel free to contact your VT rep for a test drive)