Why are Pakistani so proud of their JF-17 Thunder?

Mudassir Ali
Dec 26, 2019 11:59 AM 0 Answers
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Why are Pakistani so proud of their JF-17 Thunder?

Mudassir Ali
- Dec 26, 2019 12:00 PM

There are various reasons for it.

In late 1980s Pakistan ordered 60 F-16s from United States under Peace Gate III/IV after receiving 40 units under PEACE GATE I/II. 28 F-16s were ready and Pakistan paid $680 million for them. By the end of Afghan War when US realised it doesn’t need Pakistan anymore so US Congress passed “Pressler Amendment, 1990” which stopped the sale citing nuclear ambitions as the reason for it. Pakistan had to pay storage fee for those F16s who were left in Arizona boneyard $50,000 per jet for every month. Typical US way of conducting business.[1]

Pakistan had to rely on Chinese version of Mig-21 called J-7/F-7 Airguard, old Mirages from Australia and South Africa were procured this is the same era when India had MiG-29s, upgraded Mirage-2000s and by 2002 IAF inducted air superiority fighter Su-30MKI. All this time Pakistan had F-16s sitting in Arizona and paying for their storage. To make matter worse when India was inducting 4++ gen Su-30MKIs, China delivered new batch of F-7 or J-7 Airguard in early 2000s.

Pakistan Airforce F-7 Airguard

China was developing a cheaper similar to J-7 aircraft for export. Pakistan showed interest to develop it more than a budget aircraft. Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and Chengdu Aeronautical Complex (CAC) decided to develop this as 58% PAC and 42% CAC partnership of airframe and parts.

Pakistan initially named it F-17 because it was designed to complement F-16s but later on “J” was added to bring Joint Fighter-17. It was designed to be in 3 blocks from I to III so newer avionics and technology can be incorporated over the years with further improvements in airframe & weapons.

Thats the short story even after induction in 2007 Pakistan was still looking for F-16s and Chinese J-10 but only after seeing the results Pakistan decided not to pursue J-10 anymore. Pakistan did get its F16s eventually when US needed Pakistan again in Afghanistan plus 14 second-hand F-16s free of cost. As i said typical US way of conducting business.

Now its has come long way from a fighter that was marginally better than F-7 or the poor man’s F-16.

JF-17B dual seater for training, reconnaissance, EW and night missions.

Block-III is coming at the end of this year and by 2020–2021 will be fully inducted.

Future is bright for Pakistani aerospace and aircraft development. Pakistan Airforce had lauched “Project Azm” for fifth generation aircraft which to me looks near impossible but there must be some ideas behind it otherwise why bother to announce and set up Knowledge City in KAMRA PAC. China has recently done a deal with British BAE for unlimited access to radar equipment and research. So with this kind of technology transfer and Chinese Stealth J-20 things have changed big time in the East.

JF-17 Thunder Nigerian Airforce

JF-17 Thunder Myanmar Airforce

Iran, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, Egypt have shown interest so this will generate revenue and secure political for both China & Pakistan.

Best thing about this aircraft is that Pakistan can modify and upgrad it with no restrictions. China is coating its J-10 variants with stealth and radar absorbing coating (RAM) so that may be the next step.

Thanks for reading

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