Friday, December 10, 2010

JF-17 Thunder( JF stands for Joint Fighter )/FC-1( FC stands for Fighter China ) is a light weight multi role fighter aircraft jointly developed by the Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and Chengdu Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAC) of China and is powered by single turbo fan engine . The basic purpose of it's development was to replace the aging A-5, F-7 and Mirage III/V fighters of Pakistan Air Force with a locally developed low cost fighter aircraft although it is also considered, as a competitor of hi tech western fighters for developing countries. So far, ten countries have expressed their interest in purchasing the JF-17 including Azerbaijan, Sudan, and Zimbabwe.

The estimated cost JF-17 thunder is approximately US$15 million per unit. Pakistan Air Force has already placed an order for 150 JF-17 thunder aircraft and also stated that they may incorporate 250 or even more JF-17s to it's existing fleet.

The body of JF-17 mainly consists of aluminum alloys, although some parts of the body contains titanium alloys and high quality steel as well.There are plans to reduce it's weight further by using composite material. The airframe's life is four thousand flight hours and and overhaul is required after twelve hundred hours flight. Equipment and fuel can be mounted at seven different points and all of these seven points can collectively carry the weight of 3629 kg.

The software of JF-17 thunder comprises more than one million lines of codes and is developed in C++ rather than ada(The language used in majority of military related soft wares). The behind using is that there is a large number of C++ programmers available in Pakistan.

The aircraft incorporates NRIET KLJ-7 radar which is smaller version of KLJ-10 radar deployed by J-10 warplane. NRIET KLJ-7 radar enables the pilot to engage forty targets simultaneously whether they are in air, on ground or in the sea. This radar can track ten beyond visual range(BVR) targets simultaneously and can engage two of them at a time. JF-17 can hit the ground target from 85 km distance and can hit the air target from 105 km distance. The aircraft can fly in both daytime and at night and can execute various missions in all types of weather.

JF-17 is powered by single Russian Klimov RD-93 turbofan engine which is a variant of RD-33 engine employed by the Russian Mig-29 warplane. The two major advantages of turbofan engine over turbojet engine are more thrust and better fuel consumption. The use of single engine also caused significant reduction in the cost of JF-17 Thunder. The aircraft can achieve thrust to weight ratio of 0.99(without any external payload). JF-17 incorporates two bifurcated air inlets to maintain supply of air to the engine instead of single nasal inlet like the one used in F-6 fighter aircraft.

Guizhou Aero Engine Group of China is working to develop an advanced engine for JF-17 with the name of "WS-13 Taishan", which would also be a turbofan engine. It would be an advanced version of Klimov RD-33 with several technical advancements.

The internal fuel tank of JF-17 Thunder has the capacity of carrying 2330 liters of fuel while the three external fuel tanks can collectively carry 3000 liters of fuel. JF-17 is also compatible with in-flight refueling and can get refueled by tanker aircraft during flight.

JF-17 Thunder has seven hardpoints, all of them can collectively carry 3629 kg of warhead, weapons and other necessary stuff. The hardpoints at the tips of the wings would be used mainly to carry short range air to air homing missiles. The hardpoints under the wings and fuselage have the capability of carrying avionics and equipment such as targeting pods etc. JF-17 can fire BVR(Beyond Visual Range) missiles and it is expected that the warplane would incorporate China made PL-12/SD-10 as it's main BVR missile. The aircraft is also equipped with the three Chinese short range homing missiles based on infra-red technology, PL-5E, AIM-9L and PL-9C. There are plans to arm JF-17 with short range fifth generation missiles( IRIS-T or A-darter are the major candidates).

Pakistan and China has also signed an agreement for developing a fifth generation version of JF-17 Thunder aircraft and it is expected that the first 150 aircraft would be fourth generation aircraft and after that only fifth generation variants would be developed.

Recently, JF-17 was displayed at the last Farnborough International Airshow(FIA) which occurs from 19 July to 25 July 2010. This event is considered as one of the world's top avionic events. JF-17 was highly appreciated by several visitors at the occasion and many countries have expressed their interest in buying JF-17 for their air force. Few analysts are also saying that JF-17 Thunder was the most appreciated product in this exhibition and was remained the center of attention throughout the event.

JF-17 Updates

  • On 21 December, 2010, chief of Pakistan Air Force(PAF)Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman confirmed that Pakistan has successfully built it's facility to indigenously build radar for JF-17 Thunder aircraft. Air chief said that the radar is built at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and from now onwards, the JF-17 Thunder would be equipped with this radar. It is believed that this new radar is actually the Chinese CETC/NRIET KLJ-7 radar that would be now manufactured in Pakistan. Previously, all other parts of JF-17 were produced locally by Pakistan except it's engine and radar. Now as Pakistan has locally manufactured a radar for JF-17, therefore, from now onwards, the JF-17 Thunder's engine would be the only part that would be imported and rest of the whole aircraft would be manufactured locally at PAC. China and Pakistan are also working to locally produce the engine for JF-7 fighter plane.
  • So far, Pakistan have manufactured 50 JF-17 warplanes. All of them are block-1 JF-17 aircraft. Also, work has been started on the production of 50 more aircraft. Note that after the production of 50 units, block one has become history now. Afterwards, all the developed aircraft will be block two. Means right now, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) is manufacturing block two version. First batch of block two units is expected to roll out in June 2014.

That's enough for JF-17 Thunder and now it's time for something related to cats. I have also created a great blog related to cats where you can find a lot of useful information regarding the behavior, needs, diseases and issues related to cats. Please visit cats

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