Procurement: More JF17s Arrive In Pakistan

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March 19,2008: 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 Europe.

The JF17 (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 exported JF17s.

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.

The Pakistani 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).

 


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