Pakistan’s front line fighter jet CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder

CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder

The CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder is a light single-engine multirole fighter plane. The aircraft has been jointly developed by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) of China. It was designed to replace the A-5C, F-7P / PG, Mirage III, and Mirage V fighter aircraft in the Pakistan Air Force. The JF-17 can be used for many roles, including interception, ground attack, anti-ship, and aerial.

The CAC/PAC JF-17 thunder can fly with a variety of armaments, including air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles and the 23mm GSh-23-2 twin-barrel Autocannon. The Guizhou WS-13 or Klimov RD-93 turbofan engine gives it a top speed of Mach 1.6. Pakistan wants to form the backbone of the Air Force (PAF), supplementing the CAC/PAC JF-17 thunder at half the cost of the General Air Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. PAF inducted its first JF-17 into its air force in February 2010. In 2015 Pakistan produced 16 JF-17s. As of 2016, Pakistan is believed to have the capacity to produce 25 JF-17 per year. The JF-17 airframe has 58% Pakistani and 42% Chinese / Russian descent.

The Pakistan Air Force plans, by 2017, to include a twin-seater version of the CAC/PAC JF-17 thunder, known as the JF-17B, for both enhanced capability and training. Preparations for the more advanced and technically sophisticated Block III version of the JF-17 aircraft are underway, and its AESA radar, the KLJ-7A, can simultaneously track up to 15 targets.

CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder Avionics

CAC/PAC JF-17 thunder, an open architecture software, is used. The generals who use the software in the aircraft are written in the ada programming language, whereas JF-17 uses that software to be c programming. Written in the language and f-22 aircraft, which is USA’s same programming language, has been used.

This enables future modifications that if a civilian idea comes into the future, it can be easily implemented in it.

The defense ad system (DAS) of the CAC/PAC JF-17 thunder has many integrated systems such as a radar warning receiver that provides the direction of probability enemy radar, another electronic warfare suite that becomes CAC/PAC. The JF-17 is mounted on the tip of the tail fin of the thunder.

The electronic warfare fair suit is also connected with the missile approach warning system, which protects the aircraft from radar-guided missiles.

The missile approach warning system is mounted around the JF-17 as optical sensors that detect the missile’s rocket and provide 360-degree coverage.

The data that the missile approach warning system has for the incoming inbound missile is shown on the head-up display of the cockpit, and the counter major dispensary systems release decoy flairs to avoid enemy radar and missiles.

The CAC/PAS JF-17 thunder can also be fitted with a self-protection radar jamming pod while carrying on the external head point.

CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder Radar

The first 42 Pakistani Airforce production JF-17 is equipped with KLJ7 radar, which is a variant of KLJ10 radar, which is used in J-10 then. It is a multi-mode radar and tracks about ten targets in track pile scan mode. And engage two targets semantically.

The operational range, which is said to be 5 meters square for RCS objects, is more than 105 kilometers, so these numbers are classified.

This range is for lookup mode. Where is the range for people down? It is said to be more than 85 kilometers.

It can also be a forward-looking infrared pod (FLIR) according to the mission, and an infrared search and track (IRSC) system can also be installed according to the requirement for the passive target.

China has also developed a mounted helmet site for the CAC/PAC JF-17 thunder, which was prototype tested in 2006.

CAC/PAC JF-17 thunder is equipped with two very high frequency and ultra high-frequency radios, so the high-frequency radio’s capacity is the communication of data linking with ground control centers as well as with AWACS aircraft. Capability is that close of data linking that makes it not as capable of sharing information on network centering work platform, but it is very close to sharing information.

So you can say that the JF-17 thunder is the pilot, which provides very good situational awareness.

Any modern fighter aircraft needs a targeting pod for precision ground attack rolls. Pakistan felt in 2016 that a targeting pod should be put in JF-17, so the pod that was running in their mind at the time was French. Was but Pakistan did a pod test of Turkey in 2017.

CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder

CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder engine

The engine fitted to the JF-17 is the Russian kamov RD93 engine, which is a variant of the kamov RD33 used in mig-29 aircraft, so the position of its gearbox in RD33 Compares has been changed slightly.

The thrust numbers have been increased, but the compromise has been done on its service life, which is only 22 hours, which is very poor as the RD33 engine has a service life of 4000 hours, which is almost half of its life.

CAC/PAC JF-17 thunder engine afterburner Thurst is 5.6 kg newton while as dry thrust is 50.4 kg newton.

In the future, the CAC /PAC JF-17 thunder engine can be replaced with the Chinese WS13 engine; its size is slightly less than the RD93, the weight is 20 kg more, and the thrust difference is 5 kg newton, i.e., It is more than RD93, but it is not the main thing. The main thing is that the service life is more in the RD93 Compares, than the RD93 engine, which has a problem with it is Black Smoke, and the problem is carried forward. Even with the RD93 engine, the current JF-17 has this problem, and it makes this fighter visible in front of the enemy aircraft, which is a big disadvantage.

Airframe and cockpit

The airframe of the JF-17 is of the semi-monocoque structure made primarily of aluminum alloys, with high-strength steel and titanium alloys partially adopted in some key areas. The aerial frame is designed for a service life of 4,000 flight hours or 25 years. JF-17 block 2 uses more composite materials in the airframe to reduce weight. The position and shape of the inlets are designed to give the airflow required for jet engines during maneuvers with high angles of attack.

The mid-mounted wings of the CAC/PAC JF-17 thunder are of cropped-delta configuration. Near the wing, the route is LERX, which produces a vortex that provides additional lift to the wing at higher angles of attack encountered during maneuvers. It incorporates a traditional triangular aircraft-building arrangement, all with a moving stabilizer, single vertical stabilizer, rudder, and twin ventral fin. The flight control system (FCS) includes stability control in the yaw and roll axis and conventional controls with a digital fly-by-wire (FBW) system in the pitch axis. The leading-edge slats/flaps and trailing edge flaps are automatically adjusted during a maneuver to increase turning performance. The FCS of serial production aircraft allegedly consists of a digital quadruplex (quad-redundant) FBW system in the pitch axis and a duplex (dual-redundant) FBW system in the roll and yaw axis.

CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder

The JF-17’s glass cockpit is covered by a transparent, acrylic canopy that gives the pilot an excellent, all-around field. It has three large multifunction color displays (MFDs) and smart heads-up displays (HUDs), with built-in symbol generation capability. A center stick is used for pitch and roll control, while the hull keeps the paddle under control. A throttle is located to the left of the pilot. The JF-17’s cockpit includes a hands-on-throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) controls. It also has a Pilot Martin-Baker MK-16LE-Zero ejection seat. The cockpit includes an electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) and a wide-angle, holographic head-up display (HUD), with a minimum area of ​​25 degrees. The EFIS includes three color multi-function displays that provide basic flight information, tactical information, and information on engines, fuel, electrical, hydraulics, flight control, and environmental control systems. HUD and MFD can be configured to show any available information. The central MFD is placed at the lowest to accommodate a control panel between it and the HUD.

Up to 3,629 kg (8,001 lb) of ordnance in the JF-17, and fuel can be placed under Hardpoints, two of which are on the wing-tips, four under the wings, and one under the torso.

CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder variants

CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder has the following variants

1. JF-17A Block 1:

It is a single-seat variant. Its production in China began in June 2006. The first three Chinese weapons to be integrated into it are PL-5E II AAM, SD-10 AAM, and C-802A anti-shipping missiles. The production of Block 1 was completed on 18 December when the fifty-fifth aircraft to be produced in Pakistan – 58% were delivered. A JF-17 block one costs around the US $ 15 million per unit.

JF-17A Block 2:

It is also a single-seat variant. Its production began on 18 December 2013, and initial testing began on 9 February 2015. The aircraft has air-to-air refueling capability, improved airplanes, load-carrying capacity, data links, and combat capability. Its construction has been going on since 2016, after which the structure of Block 3 is planned. A JF-17 block two costs around the US $ 25 million per unit. The chairman of the PAC, Air Marshal Javed Ahmed, said: “We will hand over 16 Block-II JF-17s to the PAF every year”, and the manufacturing plant has the capacity to manufacture 25 units a year. According to local media, the PAC rolled out the 16th Block 2 aircraft, enabling the formation of the 4th Squadron of the JF-17 in December 2015. The JF-17B is a tandem two-seat variant that began testing in September 2016.

JF-17A Block 3:

It is also a single-seat variant. It features helmet-mounted display and vision (HMD / S) systems, a new single-panel multi-functional display (MFD), an active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar pair such as infrared detection and forward tracking along the track Is projected to present. (IRST) the system, and a cockpit with a flight-control stick on the side, an NRIET KLJ-7A AESA radar, greater use of composites, a new engine, and a two-seater cockpit giving it a top speed of Mach 2.0 Does. Pakistani Air Force officials have called it a “fourth generation plus” fighter jet. According to unconfirmed media reports, the induction is expected to start around 2019. As of September 2016, the design of the JF-17 Block III was finalized.

How many JF 17 does Pakistan have?

Pakistan has about 150 fighter aircraft of all variants of CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder.

Specifications CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder

Crew:(single-seat) or 2 (dual-seat)
Length: 14.93 m (49 ft 0 in)
Wingspan:9.44 m (31 ft 0 in)
Height: 4.77 m (15 ft 8 in)
Wing area:24.43 m2 (263.0 sq ft)
Empty weight:6,586 kg (14,520 lb)
Max takeoff weight:13,500 kg (29,762 lb) 
Fuel capacity:2,330 kg (5,137 lb) internal fuel; 1 x 800 kg (1,764 lb) centre-line drop tank; 2 x 800 kg (1,764 lb) or 1,100 kg (2,425 lb) under-wing drop tanks
Payload: 4,600 kg (10,100 lb) external stores
Powerplant:1 × Klimov RD-93MA afterburning turbofan with digital electronic engine control (DEEC), 50.4 kN (11,300 lbf) thrust dry, 85.6 kN (19,200 lbf) with afterburne

Performance CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder

Maximum speed:1,910 km/h (1,190 mph, 1,030 kn)
Maximum speed:Mach 1.6
Cruise speed:1,359 km/h (844 mph, 734 kn)
Stall speed: 150 km/h (93 mph, 81 kn)
Range:2,500 km (1,600 mi, 1,300 nmi)
Combat range:1,352 km (840 mi, 730 nmi)
Ferry range:3,500 km (2,200 mi, 1,900 nmi) with 3 external drop tanks
Service ceiling: 16,920 m (55,510 ft)
g limits: +8/-3 (limited by the flight control system)
Rate of climb:300 m/s (59,000 ft/min)
Thrust/weight: 0.95 with RD-93 (with 50% internal fuel and 2*SRAAM), 1.10 with WS-13 engine

CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder Weapons

  • Guns: 1 × 23 mm GSh-23-2 twin-barrel cannon or 1 × 30 mm GSh-30-2 twin-barrel cann.
  • Hardpoints: 7 (2 × wing-tip, 4 × under-wing, 1 × under-fuselage) with capacity for dual ejector racks on each under-wing hardpoint.
  • Missiles: Air-to-air missiles

  • PL-5EII (within visual range missile)
  • PL-9C (WVR missile)
  • PL-10(Short-range)
  • AIM-9L/M Sidewinder (Short-range)
  • MAA-1 Piranha (Short-range)
  • PL-8 (Short-range)
  • PL-15 ( Very Long range Beyond Visual range missile)
  • R-Darter (beyond visual range missile)
  • SD-10A (PL-12 export version) (beyond visual range missile)

Air-to-surface missiles

  • CM-102 (anti-radiation missile)
  • LD-10 (anti-radiation missile)
  • MAR-1 (anti-radiation missile)
  • Ra’ad (Nuclear Stealth Cruise missile)
  • Ra’ad MK-2 (Nuclear Stealth Cruise missile)

Anti-ship missiles

  • C-802AK (anti-ship missile)
  • Exocet (anti-ship missile)
  • C-803 (sea skimming anti-ship missile)
  • Harpoon block-2 (anti-ship missile)
  • CM-400AKG (anti-ship missile)


  • Mk-80(General-purpose bomb)
  • Mk-82 (General-purpose bomb)
  • Mk-83 (General-purpose bomb)
  • Mk-84 (General-purpose bomb)
  • 250 kg Pre-fragmented bomb
  • Matra Durandal (Anti-runway bomb)
  • AWC HAFR-2 (Anti-runway bomb)
  • AWC HAFR-1 (Anti-runway bomb)
  • AWC RPB-1 (Anti-runway bomb)
  • CBU-99 (Anti-armour cluster bomb)
  • CBU-100 Cluster Bomb (Anti-armour cluster bomb)

Guided bombs

  • GBU-10 (Laser-guided bomb)
  • GBU-12 (Laser-guided bomb)
  • GBU-16 (Laser-guided bomb)
  • LT-2 (Precision-guided bomb)
  • JDAM (Precision-guided bomb)
  • H-4 SOW Standoff weapon (Precision-guided glide bomb)
  • H-2 SOW Standoff weapon (Precision-guided glide bomb)
  • Takbir (GPS/INS guided glide bomb)
  • LS-6 (GPS/INS guided bomb)


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