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Posts Tagged JF 17 Thunder

Twin-seat FC-1/JF-17 breaks cover

Twin-seat FC-1/JF-17 breaks cover

By: Robert FosterPublished: 19 Jun 2013






Aviation Industries of China (AVIC) revealed a twin-seat model of its Chengdu Aircraft Corporation FC-1 export fighter at the Paris Air Show 2013.

The single-seat version is co-developed and co-produced by Pakistan, which calls it the JF-17 Thunder. A two seat FC-1 has been contemplated since at least 2004, although AVIC officials would not say when a prototype would appear.

Officials refused to comment directly on the two-seat variant’s potential performance other than to say that would be only “slightly less” capable in most parameters. They said that the twin-seat FC-1 compensated for the loss of fuel space – and related range – that second seat created by using an elevated and enlarged spine that also conferred more stability and allowed for a smaller vertical stabiliser.

The idea of a twin-seat version of the FC-1/JF-17 was first mentioned toIHS Jane’s by a Pakistan Air Force official at a 2004 defence exhibition. Since then Pakistani and Chinese officials have offered conflicting opinions about the programme’s status: Chinese officials have usually denied or downplayed the programme while Pakistani officials have been sceptical about funding.

The appearance of the model at Paris suggests that AVIC sees potential in the programme – and that funding has been found. The model in Paris was shown with full weapons outfit. When asked about potential power plants for the FC-1, AVIC officials confirmed that a FC-1 prototype had been flying with a Chinese-designed turbofan engine, but said it was not yet ready for export and that testing would be needed for several more years.




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INDIA ANGRY: Israel manufactures the HUDs for its F-16 fighter aircraft and JF-17 Thunders: Danger of embedded Self-Destruct & Tracking Commands

PAF needs to be cautious of embedded microchips with self-destruct commands In Israeli HUDs and EWs.

Secret arms agents and sweetheart deals

Saurabh Joshi | 17 hours 13 min ago
Last month, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper cited a British government report which listed an application for licences for the export of Israeli military equipment, which contained British components, to a number of countries, including Pakistan.
  • The British department of business, innovation and skills reported the application was for the export of Israeli Head Up Display (HUD) units and Electronic Warfare (EW) Systems to Pakistan.

HUDs are screens installed above the control panel and before the windscreen in the cockpits of typically military aircraft, especially fighters, which provide selected data inputs to pilots without requiring them to look down to check various data display screens and instruments. Israel manufactures the HUDs for its F-16 fighter aircraft, also operated by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in addition to the Chinese-built JF-17.

EW Systems is actually a broad term, and encompasses systems that form the backbone of operations in modern militaries. These are offensive and defensive systems, including directed energy, that work in the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum to identify, track,

confuse, intercept, obstruct, jam or destroy enemy electronic systems.

Israel’s defence industry manufactures some of the most advanced such systems in the world. Not surprisingly, the Israeli defence ministry jumped to deny any such transfers, saying, “The State of Israel strongly denies selling any military equipment to Pakistan,” and that, “Israel has a long-standing strategic relationship with In­dia, a democracy that also und­er­stands what it means to fight terror. Israel would not do anything that could undermine India’s sec­u­rity.”

But the British department which authored the report does not strike one as likely to manufacture data. The Israeli statement tacitly acknowledged this, when it said, “The ministry of defence will be liaising with the UK department for business, innovation and skills (BIS) — the body responsible for export licensing — in order to receive clarifications regarding their official reports.”

How then, could an application be made for export licences for the transfer of Israeli military equipment to Pakistan? First, let’s examine if the Israeli government is likely to be behind such a transfer.

Defence trade with India is important to Israel because of the comparatively small size of their domestic market and the need to combat their regional threat perceptions with cutting edge technology. This is why Israel made the choice to partner with a country like India with a large defence budget and requirements and a technology deficit for joint development of military equipment.

Today, Israel is a close second to Russia as the largest defence supplier to India, with around $1 billion in annual trade and total sales close to $10 billion. According to IHS Jane’s, Israel’s arms sales increased by 74 per cent since 2008, riding on the back of deals with India and made Israel the world’s sixth largest exporter in 2012 with $2.4 billion of business.

For Israel, India is one of its largest markets, which included systems like the Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), unm­anned aerial vehicles (UAVs), radar, HUDs, electronics and Barak missile. Israel also hopes to get orders for anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), and surface to air missiles (SAMs).

On the face of it, the size and nature of this trade appears to preclude any venture that could jeopardise it by antagonising India for the sake of hypothetical,

but almost certainly smaller, deals with Pakistan. So, it is easy to believe the Israeli protestations.

That leaves the prospect of an arms transfer being attempted by a possibly freelance enterprise posing as the Israeli government or without its knowledge.

The problem is that the colour of international arms trade ranges from white to black, with a lot of grey in between. When conducted between governments such trade is subject to documentation. But when conducted by private entities regulation and documentation can be casualties.

For instance, last week, news reports in the UK revealed a British arms dealer admitting in a UN report to being approached by North Korean representatives to facilitate the sale of its “inter-continental missiles.”

This broker, by the way, was jailed last year for violating ex­port controls, when he arr­a­nged the sale of around 100 SAMs to Azerbaijan from North Korea.

Another British arms dealer was jailed last December for arranging the sale of thousands of AK-47 rifles, pistols and millions of rounds of ammunition from China to Nigeria without a licence.

India has hardly been imm­une to the influence of disreputable but organised arms ag­ents. The latest scandal over allegations of kickbacks being paid to supply the IAF 12 AgustaWestland VVIP helicopters remains unresolved.

With all this in mind, it does not require much imagination to conclude the likelihood of the attempted transfer of HUD units and EW systems to Pakistan having been a private project. But it must also be noted that if an application was made to permit the sale of these systems, the applicant, whoever she or he was, must have had a buyer in mind.

And until more facts emerge, the takeaway from this episode is that in the absence of legitimate avenues, and not withsta­nding the denials of its Inter Ser­vice Public Relations (ISPR), the Pakistan military is shopping underground to acquire export restricted advanced weapon systems.

– The writer is the editor of the defence news website StratPost.com



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JF-17’s features and capabilities

IN FOCUS: Yang Wei, the designer of the JF-17


The atmosphere in the Dubai air show briefing room in November 2011 was electric. Journalists occupied every seat and photographers squeezed into the back of the room. Also present were a dozen senior Pakistan air force officials, who were forced to stand along one wall, as well as several Chinese executives in business suits.

The occasion was a briefing about the Chengdu/Pakistan Aeronautical Complex JF-17 Thunder fighter.

 Yang Wei, the designer of the JF-17, Chengdu J-10 and China’s stealthy J-20, gave a presentation about the JF-17’s features and capabilities.

The head of the Pakistan air force used warm words about the aircraft, and commended the close relationship between Islamabad and Beijing.

The good turnout reflected the defence media’s love affair with the JF-17 as the successor to cheap, value-for-money Cold War fighters such as the Northrop F-5 and Mikoyan MiG-21 

JF-17 Thunder, Sharpshot gallery on AirSpace



Female pilots of Pakistan Air Force.
Photo: Female pilots of Pakistan Air Force.




 Sharpshot gallery on AirSpace

The Pakistani air force is the first customer for the JF-17-17 in China’s future export efforts cannot be ­disputed – Pakistani officials take pains to stress the joint nature of the programme – Beijing is quietly trying to sell small numbers of different types of aircraft, including ­advanced jet trainers, utility helicopters and transport aircraft.



Chengdu J-10 


“The Chinese have had considerable success penetrating the less expensive end of the market, especially countries that have been isolated from other suppliers by political considerations,” says Stu Slade, Far East editor at research firm Forecast International. “They have also established a secure position as an aircraft supplier to cash-strapped users. Their position has been limited by the ageing technical standards of the aircraft they have been willing to export. They are still perceived as being the supplier of 1950s knock-offs, even though that has not been true for a decade or more.”

CATIC, in close cooperation with its Pakistani colleagues, appears determined to secure the “breakthrough” that Wezeman speaks of. It has told Flightglobal of its hopes of selling 300 JF-17s over the next five years. So far, only Pakistan has ordered the type, with firm orders for 150 examples, although it has said it could eventually buy up to 200. CATIC says key markets for the jet include Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

“CATIC sales and customer support teams are highly motivated and CATIC is looking forward to making the upcoming years fantastic for the JF-17 and its users,” says Zeng.

An industry source in Pakistan who is familiar with the JF-17 programme says joint Chinese/Pakistan sales efforts have made “considerable progress” following the type’s appearance at Dubai.

Joint marketing efforts at air shows are increasingly reminiscent of those mounted by major Western players such as BoeingEurofighter and Lockheed Martin. In addition to detailed briefings, in English, about the aircraft and its capabilities, CATIC and Pakistani officials are happy to give journalists one-to-one interviews. They will also discuss the aircraft over the phone and reply to email queries.

The theme of JF-17 marketing efforts is summed up by a keychain the Pakistan air force delegation passed out to visitors at 2010’s Zhuhai air show in China. This lists five selling points: affordable, survivable, flexible, supportable, lethal.

“The focus is on capability at affordable cost,” says the source in Pakistan. “Support is assured, the cost is affordable, and there are no embargoes on our side. We have a forum with China to discuss how we construct the sales teams that go into specific countries. We are comfortable partners.”


Although it is easy to dismiss the JF-17’s capabilities vis-à-vis those offered by more advanced Western types, let alone state-of-the-art aircraft such as the Lockheed F-35 or F-22, on paper it offers a respectable array of systems and capabilities that became common only in Western aircraft in the 1990s. The aircraft can carry a maximum external stores load of 3,600kg (7,930lb), including short- and beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles. Other weapons and sensors can include the LT-2 laser-guided bomb and WMD-7 day/night laser designation pod, C802A anti-ship missiles and the KG300G SPJ airborne self-protection jamming pod.

“An increasing number of developing countries are likely to welcome the promise of decent-quality Chinese military aircraft at competitive prices,” says Andrew Erickson, associate professor in the Strategic Research Department at the US Naval War College.

“Beijing appears willing to offer creative financing and training and other support packages that more established aircraft producers may not offer. Faced with a choice between fewer or no military aircraft and Chinese versions, growing numbers of countries in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America are likely to consider the China option,” he says.

In addition, CATIC and Pakistan both appear to be aware of the crucial issue of through-life support for their products. Historically, a major criticism of Russian aircraft is the lack of spares and delays in conducting major repairs. One former Royal Malaysian Air Force logistics officer told Flightglobal at 2011’s LIMA air show in Langkawi that it could take one year for a MiG-29 engine to be repaired if were sent back to Russia, adding: “The MiGs are a maintenance nightmare.”

China, clearly, sees after-sales support as an important differentiation point.

“CATIC offers high-quality life-span integrated support through its global network for all customers on a continuous basis, including spare parts supply, warranty services, field services, technical training, overhaul and repair, modification and upgrade, engineering consulting, technical documentation management and claims management,” it says.

In a worst-case scenario, [customers] must worry not only about maintaining good relations with China, but also with Russia. This substantially reduces China’s independent leverage in the lucrative and strategically potent area of military aircraft sales, which competitors are loath to cede to China,” says Erickson. He believes China will find it particularly challenging to make headway in Russia’s “near abroad” of former Soviet republics, with Moscow using its political clout in the region to ensure sales for Russian airframers.

However, SIPRI’s Wezeman notes that potential customers for the type tend to have good relations with both China and Russia.

China is also marketing the Hongdu L-15 lead-in fighter trainer and Guizhou FTC-2000 advanced jet trainer. The L-15 is powered by two Ivchenko Progress Al-222K-25F engines, and the FTC-2000 by a single Chinese-developed powerplant, the Guizhou Liyang WP-13F.

CATIC says six countries have tested the L-15, which it expects to be “exported very soon”. Both aircraft types can be purchased with a basic combat capability, offering a degree of flexibility to air forces with limited budgets.

The key, then, is for China – with strong Pakistani support – to secure that first major overseas deal for the JF-17. The goal of selling 300 within five years may seem fantastic, but Beijing and Islamabad are determined.

1., 3 Jul 2012 

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