Pakistan has received another six
JF17 fighters from China. The first two had arrived last Summer. Production
will increase to 25 a year over the next three years. Pakistan has agreed to
buy at least 150 aircraft, and possibly as many as 250. Over the next two
years, most of the manufacturing (60 percent of the airframe and 80 per cent
avionics) will shift from China to Pakistan. The first fifty aircraft will have
Chinese avionics, but the rest will use equipment from Pakistan and
(also known as FC-1 and Super 7) uses a Russian engine, the RD93. For several
years, China could not export the fighter because Russia did not want to offend
India, a major arms customer, and would not allow China to use the RD93 in
The 13 ton
JF17 is meant to be a low cost ($20 million) alternative to the American F16.
The JF17 is considered the equal to earlier versions of the F16, but only 80
percent as effective as more recent F-16 models. The JF17 uses the same Russian
engine, the RD-93, that is used in the MiG29. The JF-17 design is based on a
cancelled Russian project, the MiG33. Most of the JF-17 electronics are
Western, with Italian firms being major suppliers. The JF-17; can carry 3.6
tons of weapons and use radar guided and heat seeking missiles. It has max
speed of 1,600 kilometers an hour, an operating range of 1,300 kilometers and a
max altitude of 55,000 feet.
JF17s are replacing the Mig-21 (the Chinese F-7 copy), and Mirage III fighters,
and A-5 light bombers (a Chinese variant of the MiG-19).