The JF-17 aircraft, co-developed by China & Pakistan to meet the Pakistan Air Force requirement for a cost-effective, modern, multi-role combat aircraft will be delivered “in the near future.”
The parent companies, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and Chengdu Aircraft Industry Cooperation have produced eight and four JF-17B aircraft respectively.
The JF-17B aircraft will be accessible in an attack and trainer variant. According to an IHS Jane’s interview with the Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan from January 2020, the JF-17B will help revolutionize pilot training procedures in the Pakistan Air Force.
Air Chief Marshal Khan had also congratulated PAC and CAC for the successfully accomplishing the 2019 production target and on completing the first 8 dual-seat JF-17 aircraft in a record time of five months.
The PAF expects to obtain a further 14 JF-Bs in 2020 and four more in 2021. The first prototype of the JF-17B twin-seater was reportedly finished in late 2016 while it could only conduct its first flight in April of 2017.
In contrast to prior JF-17 variants, the JF-17B is a twin-seat aircraft and has features like a deeper dorsal spine and added fuel capacity.
The JF-17 pilots were posted to Lockheed Martin F-16, Chengdu F-7PG or Dassault Mirage IIIEA ROSE aircraft before being converted into the JF-17 pilots but they will be starting straight to a JF-17 OCU after completing their advanced jet training told Khan to IHS Jane’s.
Islamabad and Beijing have been close allies, finding in India a common opponent. JF-17 seems likely to make an appearance if there any future confrontations between Pakistani and the Indian Air Forces.
The latest single-seat variant of the aircraft, the 17 Block III, conducted its first flight in December of 2019. Remarkably, this new variant may be fitted with the Chinese WS-13 engine as an alternative of the Russian Klimov RD-93MA found on JF-17 Block I and Block II aircraft.
According to PAF sources, the service is being selected for the Nanjing Research Institute of Electronics Technology’s KLJ-7A AESA radar system.
The latest variant of the aircraft will also feature additional technical upgrades, Franz-Stefan Gady, a senior editor at The Diplomat explains that F-17 Block III fighters will apparently receive a new electronic warfare system, upgraded avionics including a three-axis fly-by-wire digital flight control system, a helmet-mounted display and sight system, and Pakistan’s first Chinese-made active electronically scanned array radar system.
Early JF-17 models priced out to a cheap $15-28 million, the new Block III will supposedly cost around $32 million each. The Pakistan Air Force has seemingly placed orders of aircraft between 250 and 300 which will be initiated into the air force in order to stop the ageing aircraft models that are still in action.