Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Pakistan to mass produce JF-17 Single Seat Multirole Chinese Fighter Aircraft

Pakistan began on Tuesday Jan 22, 2008, the mass assembly of a JF-17 fighter at an aircraft-manufacturing plant in the northwest of the country, national television reported.

The JF-17 Thunder, also known as the FC-1 "Chao Qi" Fierce Dragon in China, is a single-seat multirole fighter aircraft developed by China. It is based on the design of Russian MIG 33, which was rejected by Russian Airforce. Earlier the costs odf these planes was said to be $10 million but the curretn reports suggests that the costs have escalated to $20 million per piece with production of 300 planes. Earlier the serial production was to be started in Jan 2006 but got delayed due to modifications/upgradations sought by pakistan air force.

China had made a deal with Musharraf in 1998 to manufacture 150 such aircrafts in Pakistan. About 50% of the on-board equipment and avionics for the fighter will be manufactured in Pakistan at the Kamra plant, while the rest of the assembly parts are to come from China.Pakistani Air Force Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed, said last year that 15 aircraft would be manufactured in 2008, and a further 20 next year, with an ultimate goal of achieving the capability to manufacture 25 to 30 aircraft per year.Pakistan has announced that it could procure 150-300 aircraft to meet the tactical and strategic needs of its Air Force and to replace the Chengdu F-7P fighters in current service.Beijing delivered two $20-mln JF-17 fighters equipped with Russian-made RD-93 engines to Pakistan in March 2007, prompting Indian protests. India claimed the deal was a violation of the end-user agreement between Russia and China.

The JF-17 is a light weight, all weather, multi-role aircraft having a capability to fly at a speed of Mach 1.6 and a high thrust to weight ratio. The aircraft has the ability to engage targets at all speeds and altitudes within the conventional flying envelope. In the surface attack and interdiction role, the aircraft can strike at long distances. The combat jet has been installed with an advanced flight control system, which is a mix of conventional and fly-by-wire controls, making it highly agile and manoeuvrable.
The aircraft would be capable of carrying short-range, beyond visual range, anti-ship as well as anti-radiation missiles. Additionally, the carriage of high and low drag bombs, laser guided bombs, run away penetration bombs and cluster bombs would be catered for.

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