By Bilal Khan
The Pakistan Air Force (PAF)’s No. 2 fighter squadron operating out of Masroor Air Base in Karachi has formally inducted the JF-17 Thunder. The squadron was previously flying the Chengdu F-7P Skybolt, a Chinese derivative of the Russian MiG-21 and one of the current backbone fighters in the PAF. This is the third operational fighter squadron (not including Combat Commanders’ School) to be equipped with the JF-17, in addition to the No. 26 and No. 16 squadrons in Peshawar.
The No. 2 squadron is also the first Southern Air Command squadron to be equipped with the JF-17. Be sure to check out Quwa’s previous articles discussing why the JF-17 is an important program for the PAF as well as the multitude of improvements it offers over the existing fleet. That said, there are some specific comparisons to be made between the two fighters.
In general, the JF-17 is a vast improvement over the F-7P, especially in terms of range and payload, not to mention the added capability of beyond visual range air-to-air and precision air-to-surface warfare capabilities in the Thunder. For Southern Air Command in particular, the inclusion of the JF-17 will greatly boost that sector’s anti-ship warfare (AShW) capacity: The JF-17 has been integrated with the C-802A and CM-400AKG anti-ship missiles (AShM), and the Block-II will also be equipped with aerial-refuelling probes. These two elements are important gains in as far as PAF’s maritime responsibilities go, the No. 2 squadron’s JF-17s will greatly augment the present AShW cadre in the sector’s specially equipped Mirages.
You article is just discrediting Pakistan for building JF17 also you are asuming that Pakistan is not going to buy SU-35. Pakistan will definitely consider it because can fly a long distance with good payload.
On the contrary, i believe this is the only think tank that gives a very realistic picture of the JF-17 platform. Hype aside, JF-17 is meant to provide pakistan with an F-16-like fighter at all times without having to worry about weapon integration, security, future and sanctions. JF-17 was never meant to become Eurofighter or F-35.
I am not sure about SU-35. There are known maintenance issues with Sukhois. It all depends on PAF strategy. If they are able to handle all threats without SU-35 they will not buy it, otherwise they will give it a thought since it is indicated by russia to be a possible sale. At present, it does not look likely more than 20% probability. I believe PAF will rather opt for J-10C as a stopgap (if such a need for another platform arises) and wait until J-31or J-20 becomes available in next 5 to 8 years.
I don’t think terming the JF-17 a vast improvement over the F-7P and a solid capability boost in AShW is “discrediting” PAF.
As for Su-35. No one is doubting that the Su-35 would offer a boost in terms of extending the PAF’s range or combat capabilities, that is what fighters of the Su-35’s nature are designed to do. But unfortunately that is not the basis to conclude that PAF would go for Su-35. I could be wrong, heck, I would love to be wrong, but unfortunately things aren’t looking good for the ‘Su-35 to Pakistan’ discussion.
RD-93 has more thrust than engine used on F-7P then why speed of JF-17 is less than F-7P?
JF-17 is a larger and heavier aircraft.