Quantcast
Analysis: Pakistan’s Fighter Modernization Roadmap (Part 2)
June 23, 2017

Analysis: Pakistan’s Fighter Modernization Roadmap (Part 2)

24 February 2016

By Bilal Khan

Monday’s article took a look at how the F-16 will continue forming an integral piece of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF)’s modernization roadmap, at least for the next several years (up to 2020). Today’s piece will review the JF-17 and its role in forming the mainstay of the PAF fighter fleet, not only in terms of the upcoming Block-III, but beyond as well. We will also take a look at how the PAF’s next-generation fighter plans will move forward, especially with regards to the eventual need of replacing the F-16A/B airframes.

The JF-17 is the PAF’s emerging mainstay fighter. One of the central aims of the JF-17 program is to widely diffuse modern air warfare capabilities, such as beyond-visual-range air-to-air warfare and precision air-to-surface strike, to the entirety of the PAF fighter fleet. At present, the PAF is busy with the induction of the Block-II, which offers numerous improvements (namely in terms of on-board avionics) over the Block-I. As of today, the JF-17 is in use with three operational fighter squadrons (No. 2, No. 16 and No. 26).

The next developmental milestone will center on the much anticipated Block-III, which is expected to incorporate an AESA [active electronically-scanned array] radar, HMD/S [helmet-mounted display and sight] system, and potentially even IRST [infrared search and track]. For an understanding as to how these specific subsystems will benefit the JF-17, be sure to refer to Quwa’s previous articles (here and here). But in general terms, the integration of these subsystems will offer a significant overall boost to the JF-17, especially in terms of its capacity to operate in dense electronic warfare (EW) environments.

With the JF-17 in mind, one might ask why the PAF is still looking towards the F-16. When looking at this question (which is valid), there are several issues to keep in mind. First, the PAF has seemingly earmarked a relatively large number of legacy F-7s and Mirage III/5 for retirement by 2020. At a present production-rate of 16 aircraft per year, and that too with no guarantee of an increase in the short-term (given Pakistan’s structural economic problems), the JF-17 alone will not be able to support the PAF’s short-term acquisition needs.

Unfortunately, acquiring aircraft off-the-shelf from abroad is also not an option. Simply put, the PAF does not have the financial bandwidth to easily induct another platform, and it will not commit to the J-10 when in reality is simply another medium-weight fighter. In other words, if it were to invest in another platform (in the short and medium-term), it will have to be something that offers a significant capability boost to the current fleet. Besides a handful of new-built F-16s, the PAF will pursue used F-16s via the Excess Defence Articles program and from third-party air forces. If not upgraded, these used F-16s could be had for a very low cost. The PAF would simply need these airframes to quickly replace aged F-7s and Mirages, i.e. plugin quantitative short-falls and serve as a stopgap until a sufficient number of JF-17s are built.

It is important to understand that the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and the PAF will continue developing the JF-17 over the long-term, well beyond 2020. In other words, while the PAF may not acquire more than 150 JF-17s by 2020, it will acquire a significant number – potentially 250-275 – over the lifespan of the design. Moreover, JF-17 production will continue to be done through “blocks” whereby future batches will be developed in accordance with the technological trends of the day. For example, the Block-III is poised to embrace today’s mainstreaming of AESA radars, a future Block-IV could adopt shifts specific to post-2025. The PAF may even attempt a re-design of the airframe with the aim of increasing the JF-17’s range, payload, and survivability, much like how Saab re-designed the Gripen into the Gripen NG [Next Generation], or Lockheed Martin with the F-16A/B, which was evolved into the F-16C/D.

In time, the F-16s – especially the original Block-15s acquired in the 1980s – will need to be replaced. The PAF’s next-generation fighter program will likely be aimed at coinciding with that event. At this stage, the PAF will most likely pursue the Chinese FC-31, especially from the standpoint of controlling costs, by-passing possible problems with Western vendors, and having the maximum possible flexibility in influencing the design of the platform. Although China did present a proof-of-concept through the J-31 prototype, the FC-31 is still in the infancy of its development. In fact, during the 2015 Dubai Air Show, AVIC announced that it was seeking a partner to help fund the program.

With replacing the F-16 in mind, the FC-31 could basically emerge as the PAF’s next mainstay medium-weight fighter. The twin-engine configuration and potentially larger airframe could enable the fighter to take on a very powerful sensor-suite, i.e. high-powered AESA radar, integrated IRST, and electro-optical targeting system (EOTS – an integrated targeting-pod for air-to-ground missions). The airframe may even be able to incorporate a relatively powerful EW suite, which would allow the FC-31 to serve as a stand-off jammer against radars and communications equipment. In addition to serving as a good multi-role fighter, its internal weapons-bay as well as low-observability design could make the FC-31 a highly effective stand-off strike platform as well.

The PAF’s modernization objectives could be seen into stages. First, the 2020-milestone, by which many serving F-7 and Mirage fighters will be retired. Given the limited time and resources available, the PAF is of the view that it would need to supplement the production of JF-17s with purchases of new and used F-16s. The second stage, i.e. after 2020, will see the continued development and induction of the JF-17, and eventually, the introduction of a next-generation fighter, such as the FC-31.

  • I agree with what you have said here Bilal. Due to current economic situation, i believe it is a very sensible approach by PAF. But JF-17 Block III is gonna be a really critical endeavor. If done well, this would be an amazing feat.

    One question though are the original F-16 Block-15 upgradeable through the MLU program?

    • Thanks 🙂

      The PAF’s Block-15s have already been given the MLU. The radar, avionics (including JHMCS) and ECM/EW are identical to that of the Block-52+.

  • Catalyst

    Another good analysis.

    Speaking of significant capability boost, the Su-35 can provide that long range & heavy weight capability. The economics of the deal might be shaky and a potential deal breaker, but given the newly emerging realignment among the countries, I won’t be surprised if Russia, China and Pakistan could work out a deal that enables Pakistan to acquire the Su-35. There were rumors that the 24 Su-35s bought by China could potentially find their home in Pakistan as the Chinese are mainly interested in the Su-35 engines (AL41 and its variants). The Chinese intend to improve their engine technology as there have been reports of under-performing chinese engines and is the only area where the Chinese are lacking both from the West and Russia.

    • Good catch, the comment was in reference to the purchase of Su-35 or comparable fighter. But the chances of that happening are a little close to the moon right now, sadly.

    • Nana41

      In the geopolitical sense,when no one is permanent enemy or a permanent friend,what will happen if China stops the supply of Aesa radar and ws-13(?) Engine? Or will Pakistan be manufacturing these two items under licence?.

  • MT

    JF17 program progress depends on china-China spends the R&D– Pakistan is merely a client which places order..As long as orders keep pouring , program will not face setback

    • Perhaps, but I can tell you for sure (which I don’t often say 🙂 ) that the PAF put in a lot into the JF-17, from production to having a say in the design process. It won’t just switch to another Chinese jet. It is actually looking to keep learning from it and building onto it. That’s the attitude, for now … things can change.

      • MT

        I will be convinced if pak on its own can design & develop any variant.

        There is always some learning in license production .

        • Abdullah Aman

          if you are not convince then what the hell are you doing here

          don’t like reading about then go some place else u stupid idiot

        • Muhammad Shahid

          This poor indian chap is doing its dirty job assigned by his masters at a Pakistani forum to earn his living.

        • Muhammad Kamran Shaikh

          @ Mr./Miss RT…. Over 1 billion population and you haven’t got much aggression to produce a fast bowler for almost 7 decades. How can you even dream or have enough aggression to produce killing machines i.e. Tanks, aircraft’s, etc.

          You just simply buy off the shelf solutions and mark it made in India? for over 4 decades you are unable to successfully complete your MMRCA program, if you are that genius why you bought Rafeal what happened to Tejas Mark-I/II…

          • MT

            Bla bla—Batsmen needs skills while bowlers needs beef eaters zombies–

            I am not much interested in cricket but India has managed to create 100 times more knowledge, R&D,IP and product that Bakistanis who cant make simple 2 stroke engine

          • jigsaww

            This is the most stupid comment i have ever read. Forget Leonardo, you the one deserving an oscar in sheer stupidity here. And it also shows how much you or Indians understand bowling.

            But when in doubt, ask ganguly. His whole career has been single handedly destroyed by a pakistani bowler.

          • MT

            Ganguly was always weak against leg side,bouncers & body line bowling-
            Dada retired as successful captain!!

            Why dont you ask Kohli,how he bullies Pak bowlers:)

          • jigsaww

            You are basically a bigot and that word can explain every thought going thru that upper portion of yours.
            Kohli is a great player and Pakistanis have the courage to accept that (though he performs better in south asian region than outside to be truly a class), it’s you indians who have little hearts to come up with idiotic statements like what you are giving.
            That said, it is also true that Kholi recently survived his knock against pakistan because of a second lifeline extended to him by the wrong decision of the umpire. Now you will say it never happened.
            It does not matter what your little bigot minds thinks. Pakistan has produced finest players in the cricketing world. Even with so much political interference in PCB, the overall records speaks better in favor of Pakistan.

            Pakistan has always been a better side vs India. There is so much talent here that indians cannot produce 10% of that.

          • MT

            Learn to pronounce his name correctly which is “Kohli”.
            Pk Lost to Bangladesh & but the fans cant accept that Pak Cricket team is weakest in south asia

            Kohli was adjudged not out and the ball was missing off stump–Look at the slow motion/hawk eye!

          • jigsaww

            Get your eye sight checked on how i spelled (though how you heard me pronouncing that i out of my understanding), and while you are doing that get a medical check up of your brain as well, which is giving symptoms of being demented.
            Second off, I am under no obligation to pronounce any indians name right, i will pronounce it as i feel and you can STFU for all i care. My freedom separates me from that petty enslaved mind of yours. You might as well start worshipping him, but keep it to your hindustani self.
            Thirdly, he was out, your hateful hindustani brain is unable to fathom that. Not my problem.
            Aamir is far superior talent for your little self to accept that.

          • MT

            1. Timestamp for previous post is updated–
            2. Kohli is one of the best LOI player
            3. Aamir is a good bowler with murky past–I have no bad vibes towards him but Kohli got the better of him in last match.Pakistani experts believe the same

            4. Pakistan have never invested in r&D, ideas—All it has is crude manpower–

            Where is Pakistani SAM,AAM, BVRAAM, indigenous Surface to surface Missile(Shaheen is copy of M11,M18)?

            India is 20-30 years ahead of Pak in indigenous military technology-India is 40 yrs ahead of Pak in space technology!

          • jigsaww

            Man, you are such a liar i swear. Shameful but expected.

        • Additional development work will generally be done with Chinese help, but the intent is to absorb as much competency as possible, so (at least in certain respects) development work can be done independently.

    • Abdullah Aman

      Pakistan did R&D work on JF-17 Pakistan is not merely a client and it is not under the license plane pakistan took part in research and in development too because of that if Pakistan want in future it can 100% JF-17 in pakistan and it was said in JF-17 introduction video please watch not every country and production is like Indian

      • MT

        Could you name one technology built by Pakistan for Jf17.

        I m aware that pak is co partner of jf17 product & so is India for Pak-Fa

        • jigsaww

          You can’t name a single technology India has created on its own since its creation except a lungi and a dhoti. Instead of obsessing over Pakistan, get a lifeline to failing Tejas. Throughout india’s history, some country has always been found spoonfeeding the indians for their inherent incapability to produce…emmm…*everything*!
          The fact is JF-17 is a Pakistani project, envisioned, initiated, and conceptualized by PAF, NOT china. There is not a single chinese jet in entire chinese history that has gathered the appreciation that JF-17 has, not to mention the technological success JF-17 has seen. Yes China is a worthy partner, and has co-developed JF-17 for it being a JV not a fakely branded “indigenous” plane.
          Fortunately Pakistanis are not diseased with a twisted personality disorder that calls for fake pride by hook or by crook. People in PAF are more focused on results and JF-17 is a successful result.
          This is an era of partnerships, JV’s, and joint production and India has learnt that lesson 30 years later and wasting billions on own failures projects. See the thing is, you don’t need Make in india, if you had the IQ to produce something on own. Personally i say, even Make in india will fail, simply because it is an indian initiative. lol

          • MT

            full of rants. India have created many technology & it filed 1000s of patents in defense technology for year2015-16 but discussion is about jf17 and capabilities of pak aeronautical complex.

            How does fuselage assembling help pakistan industry.
            I understand that pak airforce is beneficiary of low cost fighter jet irrespective of pak contributions

          • jigsaww

            If you were in front of me, i’d make you cry like a little girl in public, which i already feel i have here as well. Go burn yourself in hate.

          • Ashi Sidhu

            dont worry i know u r frustrated since the unconditional surrender of 1971
            but u hav new worry now as made in india nuclear submarine INS Arihant armed with nuclear ballistic missiles has cleared all tests and will be inducted soon

          • Abdullah Aman

            1)Pakistan want to make sale to Qatar for J-17
            Qatar and Bahrain do not have good relationship so pakistan picked Qatar
            2)There was never a official news for JF-17 participation from pakistan it was only from Indian media
            3)tejas display was never that good look at JF-17 display in Paris and after that look at tejas u will see the difference It’s appearance in Bahrain most likely is the result of Pakistan’s
            recent success in selling it’s JF-17 Thunder abroad. Nigeria is
            expecting three to be delivered this year and Myanmar is also a rumoured customer. No JF-17 is scheduled to appear in Bahrain, however. Powering the Thunder is the Russian designed Klimov RD-93 engine.Any foreign sale of Tejas jets however is as unlikely as…. well, India buying the JF-17. The program is too troubled for any foreign nation to be interested in. Displaying the aircraft in Bahrain is a matter of politics and prestige, not economics.

          • Ashi Sidhu

            yes the best thing about jf 17 is that it is cheap so u can sell it to poor countries but it wont be able to match tejas or even other comparable aircraft like mig 29

          • Ashi Sidhu

            pakistan also backed out of baharain air show after it realised tejas is taking part in it

          • Abdullah Aman

            India have created many technology in defense please name few of them

            2nd Pakistan is not just assembling the JF-17 in pakistan but they also producing 58% in pakistan not just the Airframe but also it’s subsystem too and for your question on where pakistan getting their raw material for JF-17 from they are getting it from pakistan steel mill

          • MT

            Let’s keep discussion to jf17.

            According to PaC kamra; Pakistan only have 58% right to assemble/build frames/fuselage.
            Airframe are made from aerospace aluminum alloy.Steel usage is bare minimal
            There is no info on subsystem. List those subsystem whixht are made in pak.

            On kamra website’s video I see knocked down kit assembling and lots of testing unit

          • Ashi Sidhu

            tejas is not failing but is going to go in serail production since 2017

          • Ashi Sidhu

            the Junk Fighter 17 is only a modern version of obsolete mig 21. if u dont believe me have a look at design of both aircraft

    • jigsaww

      Pakistan is moving the integration of strategic missiles from Mirages to JF-17. That is what has confused you with calling integration problems with ra’ad on JF-17. Since mirages will be there for 5 more years at least, therefore the plan is well ahead of time, with latest ra’ad being reportedly fired from JF-17.

      I told you don’t put your head into things that call for better IQ than bestowed on your little brain by your bhagwan.

      • MT

        Raad was built and designed by Denel Dynamics south africa.
        Their contract included integration of it with mirage.

        No sources have confirmed test of raad with jf17.

        Pak got design and production equipment from south africa.
        Currently pak only makes fuselage while it sources INS,sensor and electronics , engine from china

        • jigsaww

          What do you know of what the contract included or not. Don’t create a schmuck of yourself by creating stories here.

          Also, It’s a strategic weapon. No source will EVER be revealed confirming integration of strategic weapons, genius – and don’t take that word literally now.

          PAF has a history of successful integration of cross platform systems.
          Ra’ad is Pakistani system, developed in Pakistan. Your certificate is not required.

          • MT

            The denel guy on defense forum will give you more info.

            raad was built by South Africa after development of MUNSPOW.

            many pakistani expert will openly admit it

          • jigsaww

            Ra’ad may or may not have its roots in denel. The fact is it is being constantly developed in Pakistan for extended range, capability, and accuracy, just like 90% of israel’s defence systems are of US origin and 100% of indian defence systems are of russian/israeli or french origin.

            What matters is its certain capability to neutralize the problem.

          • MT

            look at babur and compare it to raad.
            Both hav complete diff design.
            One came from china and other came from South Africa. if pak had little r&d then it would have removed booster from babur and got it turned into ALCM.

            but reality is that pak doesn’t hav design & r&d experience..
            Name me 1 airframe which went through wind tunnel test in pak.

            Tell the name of indian missile which are of french and russia origin.

            India reverse engineered SA6 russian surface to air missile in 1970 & made a complete different SRBM: prithvi with indian electronic,gyro and navigation systems.
            India is working on Nirbhay missile for 7-8yrs & its still undert development while got readymade babur from china.
            pak dont make engine for cruise missile.Inertial guidance , flight control systems are imported.

            Barak8 is joint project so is brahmos.

            Of course pak have those missile..it doesn’t matter how you got them.

            But contary to your claim pak cant do anything much beyond plug and play chinese systems.

            Can pak make turbofan engine??
            I do not see them doing in decades.
            Can pak make thrust vector flex nozzle for babur booster and replace shaheen primitives jet vanes with thrust vectoring.

            space rocket tech is 90% or more similar to missile tech. India tested its SlV in 1970 with solid rocket engines.
            Pak killed all its r&d and became more of procurer/integrator of chinese technology.

            where is Pakistani radar,AAM,Sam,anti tank missile??

            pakistan used to blame drdo for those missile failure when most failed test were attributed with quality issues. India is now among top5 missile and space power.

            Pak cant develop Slbm and icbm for decades.
            Recently pak asked china for 《300km slbm tech which was denied.

            India is totally in different league.
            How long can pak sustain such arms race with imported technology.

          • SP

            True India has tried harder to acquire the know how to develop systems independently whereas Pakistan relied upon buying things off the shelf but as you said so long as you got the product it does not matter how you got it.

            Can Pakistan sustain the arms race with imported technology? Yes it can as its main supplier is taking leaps in r&d and Pakistan would benefit. Even without the above the west would not like to see Indian hegemony in the South Asia and would supply Pakistan enough to maintain deterrence. In the process Pakistans technical ability is increasing.

            Progress by Indian is good as it pushes Pakistan towards progress as well. It is rivalry with Indian that has made Pakistan a formidable power and will continue to do so in the future.

          • MT

            Finally there ia someone who talks sense.

            India is aware of American duplicity in arming pak to weaken india with weapons from free doles.
            Usa is also aware that it cnt play zerosum game in asia.
            I agree with your assertions of china devloping those tech and selling them to pal at affordable price.

            But I haven’t seen much technological improvement from local r&d

            Can pak make next gen babur??
            Has pak ever attempted to design a CM in house.Have they ever carried out wind tunnel test?

            what good is shaheen if pak hasnt been able to modify

          • SP

            US wants to use India to contain China, but it does not want to end relations with Pakistan as it is useful tool in case of Indian duplicity. India has not intention of being used against China but is going through the motions in order to gain what advantage it can. China is about 40 years ahead of India in terms of development.

            I am happy that India is working on all those things that you mentioned. In turn it will spur Pakistan to new heights. It does not make any difference where Pakistan gets the solutions so long as it can counter Indian and maintain detterence. That detterence is a fundamental base not only for Pakistan but for other major powers. The base for Pakistans technological base is being laid.

            I believe that false sense of pride does not serve anybody. We are all patriots but we need to be realist and acknowledge shortcomings where they exist. War are never won by underestimating ones enemies.

          • MT

            1. I know 1 country in this region who have been arming taliban, providing safe heaven and ground support to terrorist which have caused death of 10000 ISAF soldiers including 1000000 Afgani muslims

            India on the other side pays money for the weapons– So who is duplicitous??
            1.A country that gets doles,weapons from american for free-That country kills American soldiers & provided safe heaven to Laden!

            or

            A country who buys weapons at market price–A country who doest ask American for doles!

            2. SP- China is 1 decade ahead of India-you need some basic economic understanding—Chinese GDP was same as Indian GDP in 2005-6– On purchasing power parity their GDP in 2008 was same as todays Indian GDP

            3. Pakistan simply imports stuffs—
            Where is the technological base for Pakistan???

            =>
            Name me 1 technology made by Pak in last 20yrs?? Can Pak have their SLV by 2040????India achieved it in 1979!

            Can pak make a SAM,AAM,BVRAAM, Cruise missile, AWACS, Air craft carrier, destroyers, frigates, nuke subs,SSN, SSK on their own???

            How long can Pak sustain buying chinese missiles and equipment??

            4. Pak does have some deterrence now..-But with the american aid getting off from 2017..how will Pak sustain those costly weapons??

            Pak is nuisance to America–Americans simply want to get off from the afghanistan–Pak have extorted US with 40 bil$ of doles and 20 bill$ of debt rescheduling while it has supported taliban for last 20 yrs!

            5. US & Europe have used Pak to contain India but lately they have realized that Pak is not going to help their cause as China is the main threat to western democracy- India is the only country in Asia that can contain China!

          • SP

            The GDP per capita of India is at best $2000 whereas for China it is $8000 excluding Hong Kong. I cannot see India catching up with China for 40 years even if Chinese economy only grew nominally.

            India is an old civilisation, it will not let itself be used by the West against China which is its neighbour. It is only going through the motions of being against China whereas the trade between the two countries is grewing. Indian duplicity is acting as it will allow itself to be used by the West against China in return for help from the West but backing out when it would come to the crunch.

          • jigsaww

            The crux of all arguments with an indian is, as long as you pamper them with fake stories and fake pride, they will be happy, the moment you show them their true face, they start accusing you and everything. The problem is this entire nation is used to its pathetic media filling their heads with mindless crap, so to them all world is like that frog of well.

          • jigsaww

            This forum has become senseless because of you indians who come with their cheap comments on everything and expect people to give them respect for their low life comments.

            I have never ever seen you giving a constructive comment or putting a word of praise to any pakistani acheivement. so please, keep this BS aside. You are what you are. Cant change your hindustani aukaat.

          • jigsaww

            India is a fake country. It’s all basis is on fake pride, and brand name. India has been lying about its GDP growth to its terrorism against Pakistan. I am absolutely sure about it, and so is every country, person or anything that has anything to do with India. The latest being french coming to know indian lies on MMRCA and all.

            With that established, it also is true that every indian defence project is of russian or israeli origin. All indian missiles are bought or copied from Russia back in the 80’s when india started its missile program. Indian nuclear weapons are russian based. The tejas is a failure that is 80% foreign and a dud. The arjunk is a knock off of german leopard. The rustam and nishant UAVs are knock off of israeli UAVs. The brahmos is a russian missile lacking stealth or terrain hugging and is a russian gift to india. All indians navy is based on russian ships and subs. Indian air force is 99% russian/french/american/israeli. Indian army is all russian or israeli and american. India has been diverting all of USAID to these projects while having biggest slum population in the world.

            when indians see the success pakistan has pulled off with fraction of budget, obviously people like you come into being automatically because of your littleness.

            this is the truth which is not getting into your head.

          • MT

            How many countries apart from china can reverse engg SAM and turn it into surface to surface SRBM- short range ballistic missile.
            Google about : Project Devil

  • Abdul Rashid

    Interesting article. However, it gives rise to a few questions.
    “One of the central aims of the JF-17 program is to widely diffuse modern air warfare capabilities, such as beyond-visual-range air-to-air warfare and precision air-to-surface strike, to the entirety of the PAF fighter fleet”. Is this the entirety of JF-17 fleet only or is BVR is an option on the F-16 too? Bearing on mind the already stringent F-16 terms, if the PAF is going to be further limited with options on what can be made available for it, the point of having a modern platform is hardly relevant.
    Also, with the Block-III being a significant step up from earlier Blocks, it might perhaps not be feasible to upgrade Block-I and Block-II to the new standard. If this is the case and with the Block-III some time away yet PAF might be deliberately not looking to boost the production at this stage rather than inhibited purely by economic factors.
    I would add my usual caveat. This is all speculation on my part based on what I read about PAF and JF-17 on the internet, nothing more substantial.

    • It’s in the sense of the JF-17 becoming the majority fighter of the fleet. So right now the F-7s and most Mirages are not BVR capable, but the JF-17 replacing them would result in those squadrons becoming BVR capable.

      I don’t think PAF will upgrade Block-I/II to Block-III in its entirety. For example, it is doubtful AESA will make its way to the older blocks, not until the technology is power-efficient and very light. But I do think HMD/S and improved ECM/EW will reach Block-I/II.

      As for not boosting production. It doesn’t necessarily matter since the PAF had always planned for 100 Block-I/II. The remaining 50 will be Block-III. But after 2020, it’s anyone’s guess. The PAF could make Block-IV based on III, but minor changes. Alternatively, Block-IV could be a major re-design.

  • SP

    If PAC continues to produce 16 aircrafts without any further increase in production then by the end of 2020 it will enough aircrafts to retire all Mirages and 1 squandron of F7. F7 is a relatively newer airframe can be retired in the early 2020s.

    It does not matter if JF-17 is produced by China or Pakistan as it will do the exact same job irrespective. Pakistan may not have brought much technical expertise to JF-17 but it bought in design input which was equally important.

    • Zeeshan Khan

      for 2017 the target set for PAC is 20 Aircraft in one year.. PAC and PAF guys are working out of their skins each day to make it happen.

  • The question then arises after 2020 with major numbers of Mirages have been retired, and some F-7. Do you think that PAF could perhaps invest in design & development of a flanker version of JF-17 after Block-III has been inducted?

    • jigsaww

      No such possibility and with current PAF combat strategy, flanker-type jets do not fit anywhere. Unless PAF changes its posture from defensive to an offensive force (which it should), there are no flankers or flanker-type jets coming.

      • @jigsaww:disqus thanks for the clarification on this. Appreciate it :). Can you clarify this if possible: Suppose if PAF inducts a flanker aircraft such as SU-35, would it:

        1. Put restrictions on the JF-17 Block III & future blocks development?
        2. put F-16 in a more supportive role in combat operations?
        3. Since PAF doesnt have experience in operation flankers, would possible induction of such aircrafts be restricted to a specific area such as protection of naval combat assets etc.

        Thanks.

        • jigsaww

          Our F-16s are already in a support role only, primed mainly for precision ground targeting and BVR roles. There is no full fledge use of F-16s allowed in PAF inventory (except for MLUed ones, but technological concerns remain) by US. They are barred from carrying out operations outside Pakistan and without American consent which is why it makes no sense to purchase this system with people’s money. This is the reality we have to live with. Now whether and how much the restrictions go into effect in a battle zone or not, is another thing and will be determined at the volume and time of engagement. Any more F-16s that PAF will acquire directly from the US will always be heavily restricted in roles and technology.

          1- I’m not sure if you meant technical or political restrictions on JF-17 by acquisition of SU-35? In that (and any) case, it’s a NO. JF-17 has nothing to do with restrictions and will always be at PAF’s disposal for whatever role is assigned to it. JF-17 is a nuclear capable platform. Also, JF-17 is a light weight fighter. Such fighters are acquired to close the gap in capability and quantity vis a vis adversaries. JF-17 has a role that SU-35 will be an overkill for. Acquisition of SU-35 will only strengthen PAF’s combat strategy, not weaken it in any way.

          2- Yes. An acquisition of SU-35 will put F-16 in more and more supportive role and will lessen PAF’s reliance on F-16 for certain ops especially for external threats. SU-35 will never be used for inside ops.

          3- PAF’s current combat strategy does not call for or account for heavies in the fleet. Experience is not a problem here since PAF pilots already fly pretty much all of the modern 4++ gen jets including russian, french, american, and european. Absorbing SU-35 will also not be a problem. The problem is mental shift and of course mutual agreement. If SU-35 are acquired, they will be assigned roles of both deep strike as well as naval protection, although JF-17 is being readied to provide all round protection to naval assets and carrying out anti-shipping ops in coop with navy as well as army.

          • @jigsaww:disqus Thanks for your reply :). It clarified a lot of things for me. Appreciate it.

          • jigsaww

            glad be of help.

          • Wajahat Shafi

            dear,, i failed to understand ur plea that f16 is barred from external use, i mean in future conflict with if paf trie to use it against adversaery then wat will happened ?and i too heard that pak has first use of nuclear strike policy,through F16, plz clarify it to e?

          • jigsaww

            Block 52’s were only released officially for WoT ops inside Pakistan. That is why you hear hindustanis lobbying and taking use of that arrangement and american lawmakers raising noise on that. Pakistan gave US arrangement on basing them in isolation. These machines are highly technology controlled.
            It is anyone’s guess to guess what will happen if and when PAF will use them against an adversary. Nothing could happen or alot could happen. Depends on where US interests lies on allowing PAF to using these machines to their independence. When agreements stand anything can happen. The thing to remember is the switch exists and US has ability to control these machines. This does not apply to MLUed F-16s which are under PAF’s control but technical concerns remain there too. PAF has every right to use every machine in its arsenal against an aggressor but in wars things happen and they will. Don’t be surprised if they do.

          • Ashi Sidhu

            u can forget Su 35 for 2 reasons
            1. india will never allow such a deal if u know tht india and russia are in strategic partnership and russian ambassador already dismissed the media talk tht pakistan was in discussion for Su 35.
            2. Su 35 is high-end extremely expensive twin-engine fighter which pakistan will never be able to afford.

          • jigsaww

            1. In case you didnt notice, india is one with begging bowl towards russia, not the other way. and as it goes, Beggars cant be choosers. Russia will sell india what it wants and what it not wants, e.g. S400. If you think indians can flirt (read beg) with every country, what makes you think Russia is not going to sell to Pakistan? There is certainly more on horizon when it comes to russia and pak relationship.
            2. Su-35 is still cheaper than F-16 for which Pakistan will pay around 90 million USD per aircraft.

          • Ashi Sidhu

            do u know the definition of beggar : requesting without paying for it.
            Pakistan is getting f 16s at 46% subsidy it is only paying 54% price
            whereas russia has negative growth coz of economic sanctions and low oil price therefore india does not beg india pays full price and buy whatever it wants and S 400 is the best missile defense system in the world.
            if russia chooses Pakistan for selling a few su 35 then it will lose all multi billion contracts from india and hence u can forget su 35

          • jigsaww

            If this is any respite, PAF will also bomb you indians to hell with the same subsidised F-16s, just to double down on your F-16 trauma. F-16 is an anti-terrorist system in Pakistan, and it’s best use is against indians in that spirit.

            Do what you can. Can’t care less for your little tears.

          • Ashi Sidhu

            try it out then u will see Su 30 MKI knocking the hell out of GHQ Rawalpindi

          • jigsaww

            You wish. and No. It’s not Pakistan who wants to “try out” anything. It’s you indians, who are itching for a war and creating cheap dramas of pathankot and mumbai attacks with pretext and national disorder of “teaching pakistan a lesson”. Pakistan will only defend itself. You are the ppl where fault lies and where war hysteria is taking its roots.

            I remember after fake drama of mumbai how india sent its migs only to picked up/locked on by PAF jets and trailed by PAF jets.

            In case of any misadventure, india will see a retaliation that will see its strategic and financial sites reduced to zero. Pakistan will see to that the excuse that india provides to Pakistan will have india thrown back 30 years financially even if the war ends in any other stalemate. You bet.

          • Hassan Nasir

            Danda diya tu ne lundian ko woh b sahi wala…………Bravo jigsaww.

          • jigsaww

            Hindustan is an eternal enemy of Pakistan and that is the way they want to see themself towards Pakistan, by choice not by circumstances. They will never ever give up their hatred and enmity for Pakistan even if we were to reduce our military and defenses to nothing. This is not a country that Pakistan can EVER expect peace or sincerity from, nor from its people in general; majority of them want to see a damaged, weak, and terrorism-hit Pakistan; and as much I’ve tried to reach other conclusions, every event in last 70 years has proven me wrong.

          • Wajahat Shafi

            ur whole patan kot air base was destroyed in 1965 war, and IAF loses 1/3rd of its air force in 1965

          • Smoking a Tejas

            Money is the means not the end Good Shiekh. Start with the fit not just the money.

          • Smoking a Tejas

            Ummm logistically a big potential problem. PAF is already using quite a mixed bag of planes with very different airframes, engines and avionic fits. One of the main reason for developing the JF 17 was the commonality factor around a base platform you could develop for multi purpose roles thereby phasing out a multitude of platforms. The SU 35 will bring a whole new batch of logistical challenges which are going to be difficult to work out without economies of scale in your favor meaning large numbers inducted. I wonder if operating a squadron of Su 35’s is worth the money maintaining them? And they’re not low maintenance platforms. Also, what has better odds; Limited number of fighters successfully conducting deep strikes in heavily defended airspace as opposed to saturation with air and ground launched medium range cruise and ballistic missiles?

          • jigsaww

            True. It will pose an initial task for PAF to set up a new logistic and maintenance facility, but that’s not how militaries think or should think at any given time. The primary purpose of PAF is to be able to defend and punish the enemy, not take care and worry about where the expenses are coming and how much it should be spending. There is a need for minimum credible deterrence and capability in a time of conflict and that negates the cons associated with everything on absorbing and introducing a new platform. They need to do it if required. I think the strategy is put clear. PAF will pursue every capability if and when “pushed to the wall”. This basically outlines all current and future plans. When the aggressor comes, logistics and maintenance is no more an issue, capability and capability to punish is all that matters.
            Despite STOW and other platforms of delivery, air forces will continue to hold the most crucial place in a military’s strategy. PAF is the only force that needs to provide support to all other forces in the military namely the navy and army. The requirements are high and so are expectations. The basic mode of warfare is same, it’s just that new layers have been added.

          • Smoking a Tejas

            I take your point. Although I’m still not too convinced that the SU 35 is the platform to do all that taking into consideration its complexity and maintainability problems. In such a case I’d be looking more closely to the Chinese clones under development simply because they may be integrated more quickly into our systems. In the future, linked platforms may compensate for individual weakness in capabilities to an extent. Something the Indians maybe struggling with considering the multiplicity of disparate systems in their arsenal.

            Also, I’ll consider the available fighter in wartime being ten times the worth of a hanger queen who needs extensive looking after between sorties. Unless you have logistical capabilities like the yanks to compensate.

          • jigsaww

            Chinese clones were created without permission from Russia. China can only use these for personal use, not export them. That route is closed and out of consideration. The only chinese fighter available and close enough for PAF needs is either J-10B or JH7B, as of now both are out of question for many reasons.
            Pakistan does not have a lot of choices at the table. PAF just might as well drop adding more F-16s or the US could simply refuse. It is very much a possibility now.
            You cannot buy any European jet as well with how it looks.
            SU-35 is a bleak possibility and possibly the most capable 4.5 gen fighter. If PAF finds its induction unavoidable and Russia agrees, they will go for it instead of any western jet. SU-35 is not a hanger queen. They should be able to maintain anywhere between 65-80% availability up time.

            Look at it this way:
            Availability is the first problem for Pakistan.
            Qualifying for PAF’s needs is the second (some fighters are not available in full config).
            Arranging finances is the third.

            On that front, you’re not in position to really be at ease.

          • Smoking a Tejas

            Wasn’t keen on 35 anyway. Worst case scenario, go for a larger number of j 10 ‘ s as a less palatable option 2. Not sure why it would be permanently off the table. Maturity is an issue though.

          • jigsaww

            PAF thinks they can make JF-17 block 3 more or less equally capable to the J-10B and C, so there is really not much need to go for J-10 now. To some extent it is true. JF-17 has had a far better flying, integration, and maintenance record than J-10. J-10 has had crashes and is not finding any international appreciation. PAF will most likely not go for J-10 as long as JF-17 keeps maturing (read never). To aviation experts, JF-17 looks to be a better option than J-10B.

            I think you underestimate the SU-35 a bit too much if i’m getting it right. It has received very high rated reviews in the aviation circles and under the hood share many tech similar or better than the PAK-FA.

            In any case, so far we are able to see, the only sure thing coming is JF-17 block 3. More F-16s may or may not happen. SU-35 may just never happen. I don’t think even PAF has decided on its future choices at this time.

          • Smoking a Tejas

            It’s an excellent platform no question, superior to most fighters out there. It’s just that too few of them are like silver bullets. Great to show off but limited in their use. We’d need to go in for 30 to 50 to really make the most of them. Not something we could afford at the time. Any less and they’re an expensive one shot. Think me 26 2’s vs mustangs and tempests.

          • Smoking a Tejas

            The hanger queen reference was for complex twin engine monsters in service with countries with limited logistical capabilities.

Social Media

Facebook
LinkedIn
Twitter

Quwa Daily

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement