JF-17 Thunder

November 23, 2009

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday formally joined the international community of fighter aircraft manufacturers as JF 17 Thunder, the first ever multi role state of the art rolled out of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra and was included to the fleet of Pakistan Air Force. Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani was the chief guest at the ceremony that marked a milestone in the Sino Pak joint venture in air defence system. Senate Chairman Farooq H. Naik, Federal Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira, Defence Minister Ch Ahmed Mukhtar, Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Luo Zhaohui, Pakistan’s ambassador to China Masood Khan and three services chiefs attended the ceremony.

The sophisticated JF 17 Thunder, painted green in the colour scheme of national flag appeared with grandeur as the Prime Minister unveiled the fighter jet before the audience. Manufactured with the cooperation of China, the event has been termed as a beginning of new era of Pak China friendship. Addressing a select gathering of local and foreign dignitaries and PAF officials, the Prime Minister said the goals of progress and prosperity could not be achieved without achieving self reliance in the defence production.

He termed the manufacturing of JF 17 Thunder aircraft as the “achievement of an

JF-17 Roll Out Ceremony

important milestone” in the government’s ongoing efforts to attain self reliance.

The Prime Minister assured full cooperation, support and patronage to the PAF in its projects and congratulated the entire nation, adding the national project would be remembered as a landmark in the country’s history.
Referring to present challenges, the Prime Minister said the fast changing technology intensive battle arena required intense involvement of air power which had emerged as a major player in conflict scenarios. He said the role of air force also becomes vital in tackling the threat posed by the forces of extremism and militancy.

Under these circumstances, he said, a modern air force was a national requirement adding the government was making sincere efforts for a strong and well equipped Pakistan Air Force. He said the PAF had repeatedly proved equal to the task even in most challenging times, measuring up to the expectations of the nation in safeguarding the sacred soil and skies of the country. In the recent drive against militants, PAF side by side with Pak Army was endeavouring to root out terrorism from the country, he added.

The Prime Minister said, “The PAF has been able to achieve, both in the form of meeting its operational requirement by co developing a fighter aircraft and developing Pakistan’s Aviation Industry.”

He said following the example of Kamra, there should be more similar centres of excellence in other fields, to attract youth towards a more constructive approach to life that leads to a better and more prosperous future.
He appreciated that the JF 17 programme had provided employment to about 5,000 people.

The Prime Minister also reiterated the government’s firm resolve in eradicating ignorance, illiteracy and backwardness to carve a respectable place for the country in the comity of nations.

Referring to long and trust worthy relations between Pakistan and China, the Prime Minister said, “It is not trade or economics that we collaborate and cooperate for, but our association and fraternal ties bind us in the everlasting embrace of friendship.” He said, “China has always stood by us in our hour of need its unflinching support and willingness, to go an extra mile for Pakistan, has been a source of great strength for the people of Pakistan.”

Chief of the Air Staff Rao Qamar Suleman highlighted the efforts of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra in establishing itself as a hub of aviation industry. He lauded the support of Chinese government and Aviation Industries of China without which, he said the project would not have succeeded. He said that 40 JF 17 Thunder aircraft would be produced by PAC Kamra within next three years and would be inducted in PAF replacing the existing aircraft. He added that the first JF 17 Squadron would be established shortly.

China’s ambassador Luo Zhaohui on behalf on the Chinese government appreciated the technical acumen of PAC Kamra in acquiring complex skills and expertise in fighter aircraft manufacturing. He said the collaboration between the two peace loving countries in air defence was a major step for the region’s peace.

Earlier Air Marshal Farhat Hussain Khan, Chairman PAC Board Kamra in his welcome address gave an overview of the JF 17 project and highlighted the benefits of co production in terms of incorporation of modern technologies of manufacturing and skill enhancement of personnel. 

Technical Specifications

Role: Multi-role fighter-bomber 

Builder: Chengdu (CAC), Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC)
Variants: FC-1, JF-17
Operators: China, Pakistan

Originally known as Super-7, the FC-1 Xiaolong was developed by the Chengdu Aircraft 

JF-17 Thunder

Industry Corporation under a joint venture of China and Pakistan. The FC-1 is a lightweight multi-role fighter powered by a single Klimov RD-93 (derivative of the RD-33) turbofan. It is capable of beyond-visual-range (BVR) air-to-air combat, as well as laser-guided weapons delivery. Because the FC-1 has been developed primarily for the PAF and export market, it provides a low-cost replacement for many developing countries that are currently operating the ageing MiG-21/F-7 Fishbed and Northrop F-5 series. The unit price is estimated to be US$15 million.

The origins of the ‘Super-7’ can be traced back to 1986 when Pakistan and China wanted to modernize the J-7 with western avionics and engine. The project was named ‘Saber II’ by the PAF and would replace its F-6s. In January 1987, Grumman Aerospace was selected as primary contractor and several other western firms competed to provide the engine and avionics. By 1989 the projected costs had significantly increased (some sources say 40%) and was deemed a highly financial risk by the Pakistan Air Force. On top of that, Chinese relations with the west broke down. Subsequently the contract was cancelled.

Fighter China-1
Chengdu continued the development under the new designation FC-1 (Fighter China-1) aimed at creating an affordable fighter for the export market. In 1995 Pakistan regained interest in a joint development with China. The 1993 US sanctions prevented the PAF from acquiring Western technology or weapons. In June 1999, China and Pakistan signed the joint development and production agreement to co-develop the FC-1. Chengdu was selected as primary contractor and the Russian Mikoyan Aero-Science Production Group (MASPG) was contracted to provide the Klimov RD-93 turbofan engine and design assistance too. The FC-1 design of today has little in common with the J-7 and is believed to be based on Mikoyan’s concept for a single-engine fighter based on the MiG-29. The FC-1 also shows features from the F-16 design, although the layout is somewhat more conventional.

In Pakistan the new fighter received the designation JF-17 (Joint Fighter-17) and is planned to replace the F-7, Mirage III/5 and Q-5. The Pakistan Air Force will probably be the biggest customer and thus is strongly involved in the development of the aircraft. However Chinese avionics were not meeting the PAF requirements and introducing Western avionics still proved to be a problem with the sanctions in place. It was not until the platform development and avionics system were de-coupled in early 2001, that the program started making progress. Also progressing was Chinese technology. PAF agreed to the use of Chinese avionics, although it still have to made its mind up regarding the fire-control radar. The most likely contender being the Italian-built Grifo S7 radar, PAF F-7P, F-7PG and Mirages are also equipped with Grifo radars.

The first FC-1 was rolled out on 31 May 2003. It made its first flight on 24 August 2003, although some say 2 or 3 September 2003. It was quickly followed by a second airframe (PT-2) for static tests and two more flying prototypes. The third prototype PT-3 has joined PT-1 in the flight testing program on 9 April 2004 and PT-4 is scheduled to fly later in 2005. PT-4 will be testing integration of the Chinese radar and PL-12/SD-10 BVR missile.

The PAF has comitted to the acquisition of 150 JF-17, whilst China is expected to buy 250 for the PLAAF depending on the outcome of the evaluation. Pakistan will initially produce 50% of the aircraft locally, progressively increasing to 100%. Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) formally opened their JF-17 production facility at PAC Kamra factory on 6 April 2005. Production will start in 2005 and the first four locally-built aircraft will be handed over to the PAF in December 2006, another four will be delivered by March 2007. Full rate production is planned to start in 2007 turning out 20 aircraft per year. Earlier news reported 16 aircraft to be delivered in 2006, if this is still true, 12 will be produced by CAC of which four will be delivered to Pakistan.
The initial production aircraft will probably feature a Chinese radar which would enable use of the Chinese BVR SD-10 missile. But Pakistan plans to put the GRIFFO radar in the initial production aircraft for evaluation and testing of the avionics with the GRIFFO.


The Pakistan Air Force have offered the FC-1/JF-17 to the Royal Malaysian Air Force. China Aviation Import and Export Corporation (CATIC) and CAC are marketing the FC-1 to potential customers currently including Bangladesh, Egypt and Nigeria, more are likely to follow soon. Future variants will include a two-seat fully combat-capable training version, which is scheduled to begin flight testing in 2006. It features a lengthened fuselage to accommodate the additional cockpit. China may also develop its own power plant for the FC-1, although it is also possible that the co-produced version of the Klimov RD-93, called the WS-13, will equip future FC-1s. Also there are plans to include air-to-air refueling probes and modifications incorporating modern avionics. Pakistan is also looking at adding advanced Western weapons and avionics in the future. It is also looking at the possibility of acquiring anti-radiation missiles, which could be the same as the BVR missile with a different seeker head.

Technical Specifications FC-1/JF-17

Powerplant: one 49.4 kN (11,103 lb st) dry or 84.4 kN (18,969 lb st) with afterburner Klimov RD-93 turbofan or equivalent co-produced WS-13 turbofan.

Dimensions: length 14.97 m (49 ft 1 1/2 in); height 4.77 m (15 ft 8 in); wing span 9.46 m (31 ft 1/2 in)

Weights: empty 6,411 kg (14,136 lb); Normal Take-Off Weight 9,072 kg (20,000 lb); Max Take-Off Weight 12,474 kg (27,500 lb)

Performance: max level speed ‘clean’ at altitude Mach 1.6 or 1,909 km/h (1,186 mph); service ceiling 15,240 m (50,000 ft); ferry range 2,037 km (1,266 miles); operational radius 1,352 km (840 miles); G-limit: +8.5

Armament: one internal GSh-23-2 twin-barrel 23mm cannon; up to 3,629 kg (8,000 lb) of ordnance including PL-7, PL-10, R550 Magic-2, A-Darter, PL-5C, AIM-9L/P, Mica, Aspide, air-to-air missiles, AM-39 Exocet anti-ship missile, Mk.82 Mk.84 GBU-10, GBU-12, Durandel, Rockeye, and Chinese equivalent air-to-ground weapons, unguided rockets, auxiliary fuel tanks, carried on up to 7 external stations. Two wingtip station, four underwing and one centerfuselage.

JF-17 Airframe Diagram

JF-17 Airframe Design

  • ·         1. Aerodynamic Configuration
    • Bifurcated side air inlet.
    • New wing with ability of high angle of attack
    • Leading edge maneuvering flap
    • Trailing edge flap
    • Tip missiles
    • Twin Ventral Fin

Aerodynamic Changes in PT-4

2.      New Landing Gear

  • Nose gear with steering
  • Main gear with paddle controlled hydraulic brakes and automatic anti-skid braking system

3.      Comfortable Cockpit and Safe Escape System

  • Cockpit geometry conforming to US MIL Standard, suitable for 3% to 98% pilot anthropometrics
  • Single Piece stretch acrylic transparent canopy providing a good all around Field of View
  • Ejection Seat
  1. Martin Baker high performance ejection seat
  2. Canopy severance system for additional safety
  3. French oxygen regulation system

4.         New Environment Control System, providing:

  • Air supply to control cockpit pressure and temperature
  • Air supply for cooling Avionics
  • Air supply to pilot pressure suit
  • Air supply for windscreen defogging
  • Oxygen supply duration three hours

5.         New Designed Flight Control System

  • JF-17 has composite flight control system comprising conventional controls with stability augmentation in roll and yaw axis and fly by wire in pitch axis.
  • Simple autopilot
  • Control system of lift increasing device, leading edge slats / flap and trailing edge flaps will be an automatic control system referring to air speed and angle of attack for improving aircraft maneuvering

6.         New Electrical Power Supply System

  • Main power supply system will be 115V, 400Hz three phase AC and 27V DC combined system.
  • Essential power will be provided by a hydraulic driven AC / DC combined generator in case of Main System Failure
  • Emergency power will be provided by a set of batteries, in the event of engine flameout, for engine restarting, communication and navigation

7.      Fuel System

  • Total internal fuel 5130 lb
  • Single point pressure refuelling system
  • External Fuel
    • One center line drop tank 800 liters
    • Two under wing drop tanks 800/1100 liters

8.      Strength and Fatigue Life

  • JF-17 airframe is made of semi-monologue structure
  • High strength steel and Titanium alloy adopted partially at some critical places.
    Max speed: 1350 KPH (Mach 1.8)
  • JF-17 aircraft would be designed, tested and proofed against the requirement tailored for MIL-A-8860 and Chinese National Military Specification GJB67-85
  • The desired fatigue life of the JF-17 airframe is 4,000 flight hours or 25 years
  • The period to first overhaul would be 1,200 flight hours

Avionics Suite

Weapons Capability

  1. The aircraft would be fitted with modern Stores Management System incorporating accurate weapons delivery modes and solutions involving minimum pilot work load
  2. The system would be based on Mil-Std-1760 architecture for all stations including the wingtip stations
  3. The aircraft would be capable of carrying some of the most modern as well as conventional weapons, including:
    1. 70-100 Km range beyond visual range active missiles
    2. Highly agile Imaging infra red short range missiles
    3. Air to sea missiles
    4. Anti radiation missiles
    5. Laser guided weapons
    6. Programmable delays cluster bombs
    7. Runway penetration bombs
    8. General purpose bombs
    9. Training bombs
    10. 23 mm double barrel gun


Filed under Defense Industry, Industrial sector, Pakistan Economy

7 responses to “JF-17 Thunder

  1. Pingback: PAF JF-17 in Farnborough Air Show 2010 - Page 21

  2. Pingback: J-10A/B Vanguard.

  3. I am most like (F17)J F thunder fighter plane
    I like fighter pilot (PAKISTAN ZINDABAD)

  4. You really make it appear so easy together with your presentation but I to find this matter to be actually something which I believe I’d never understand. It kind of feels too complicated and very large for me. I’m looking ahead for your subsequent publish, I’ll try to get the cling of it!

  5. Great post, you have pointed out some excellent points, I likewise believe this is a very superb website.

  6. pakistan zindabad pakistan must to improve jf17 thander to f16 jet fighter

  7. Yasir Afzal Rajput

    We need to improve the JF 17 to the modern standards

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