China-Pakistan-built jet may soon become world’s most widely-used fighter jet

JF-17 Thunder

A JF-17 Thunder at the Kamla Aviation Complex, northwest of Islamabad, March 2007.AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images

  • China and Pakistan jointly developed the JF-17 fighter, which first entered service in 2007.

  • As of October 2021, approximately 145 JF-17s are in service with Pakistan, Myanmar and Nigeria.

  • Several other countries have expressed interest in the jet, and that number is expected to grow.

Early November, 3 JF-17 pakistani air force fighter implementation aerial demonstration at the Bahrain International Air Show.

At the same time, China exhibition A JF-17 at the annual China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, China.

The event was the latest attempt to sell the fourth-generation fighter jointly developed by China and Pakistan to overseas customers.

The JF-17 is in service with only three countries, Pakistan, Myanmar and Nigeria, with a total of 145 in service as of October 2021. aviation week.

At the time, according to Aviation Week data, the total number of JF-17s was set to increase to 185 by mid-2010, and this increase would make China the most widely-used fighter jet abroad by the end of 2023. was expected to be

JF-17 Thunder

Pakistan Air Force JF-17 Thunder fighter

A Pakistan Air Force JF-17 takes off from a base in northern Pakistan in June 2013.Reuters/Zora Bensemura

Developed by China’s Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, the JF-17 first flew in 2003. The single-seat, single-engine jet is known as his JF-17 Thunder in Pakistan and FC-1 Xiaolong in China. .

With a service ceiling of 50,000 feet and a top speed of about 1,200 mph, the JF-17 can perform several missions, including air interception and ground attack. Able to carry approximately 7,000 pounds of ordnance with seven hardpoints, she is armed with one of her twin 23 mm cannons.

The first few JF-17s were built entirely in China, but most production is now in Pakistan. Currently 58% aircraft Made in Pakistan and 42% made in China.

Despite joint development, only Pakistan officially introduced it in 2007. The jet will replace Pakistan’s aging Nanchang A-5, Chengdu F-7, Mirage III and V attack and fighter aircraft.

pakistani air force fighter

Pakistan Air Force personnel check out a JF-17 at the Zhuhai Air Show in Guangdong, China, October 2018.Reuters/Correspondent

With at least 125 in service, the JF-17 is the backbone of the PAF. They have reportedly been used to carry out airstrikes against militants in northwestern Pakistan, 1 reportshot down an Iranian-made drone over southwestern Pakistan in 2017.

present and retired Pakistani Air Force officials also said A JF-17 shot down an Indian MiG-21 during air-to-air combat in February 2019. (India Said The jet was shot down by a Pakistani F-16.

The JF-17 has undergone several upgrades since its introduction. The latest version, Block III, made his maiden flight in late 2019, with several significant improvements, including additional hardpoints, a quad-redundant digital fly-by-wire system, and an active electronically scanned array radar.

Pakistan considers the Block III JF-17 a 4.5th generation jet, which the Air Force plans to acquire. at least 50 of them, the first of which arrived in January.the jet is already seen carrying One of China’s most advanced air-to-air missiles.

affordable and attractive

JF-17 Thunder fighter

A JF-17 at the Paris Air Show in June 2015.Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

Pakistan currently operates the most JF-17s. Our first overseas customer is Myanmar with 6 locations and Nigeria with 3 locations.

At between $15 million and $25 million each, the JF-17s are significantly cheaper than nearly all other fourth-generation jets on the market. Addons that increase lethality, like targeting podsattractive to countries with small defense budgets that need a multipurpose fighter.

“It’s not cutting edge, but it’s a solid performer,” Timothy Heath, a senior international and defense researcher at the Rand Corporation think tank, told Insider.

“It’s not an aircraft designed to go head-to-head with the F-22, so it doesn’t need the most sophisticated engines and parts,” Heath said. It is perhaps the most attractive inexpensive multipurpose budget aircraft suitable for developing countries looking for a basic aircraft for basic defense against similar types of nations.”

Pakistani JF-17 Thunder fighter

A Pakistani JF-17 at a defense exhibition in Karachi in November 2016.AFP by Rizwan Tabassum/Getty Images

Several countries have shown interest in the JF-17.Iraq reportedly agreed buy at least 12and Egypt is Said Interested in acquiring JF-17 as part of expanding defense cooperation with Pakistan.Azerbaijan said many years I want the JF-17 and both Bolivia When Argentina I am considering a jet.

Argentina is also looking to expand its domestic fighter production. If you get a license to build the JF-17 domestically, you can build a jet more attractive to its neighbors.

Increased sales of the JF-17 could help boost China’s market share.”weapon of value– less sophisticated but effective weapons – among low- and middle-income countries that have long relied on Russia for jets, armored vehicles and heavy artillery.

But increased sales of the JF-17 may not increase China’s reliance on military equipment. Many countries still covet high-end Western-made aircraft and are generally wary of becoming dependent on a single supplier. As such, many countries operate a combination of aircraft from the United States, Europe, Russia, and China.

“It’s a fairly common strategy in developing countries,” says Heath. “Most countries want autonomy, so they tend to want to have different suppliers, but that complicates the ability to operate all these foreign systems.”

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