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Azerbaijan invites Pakistan to showcase the JF-17 at ADEX 2016
March 28, 2017

Azerbaijan invites Pakistan to showcase the JF-17 at ADEX 2016

By Bilal Khan

Yavar Jamalov, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Defence Industry, invited Pakistan to participate at the Azerbaijan International Defence Exhibition (ADEX 2016) due to take place this September.

In fact, Minister Jamalov reportedly singled out the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) JF-17 Thunder in his comments, indicating that Azerbaijan may once again be interested in the lightweight fighter.

Reports of official Azerbaijani-Pakistani talks over the JF-17 initially emerged in 2011, but a deal evidently did not come to fruition. In January 2016, the President of Pakistan, Mamnoon Hussain, told the Pakistani media that Azerbaijan had renewed its interest in the Thunder.

While PAC and the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) pushed the JF-17 for export for a number of years, the JF-17’s watershed moment was the 2015 Paris Air Show, when it was announced that an undisclosed buyer inked an order. This customer is widely believed to be Myanmar.

Since then, PAC had begun driving momentum towards its leads, namely Nigeria and Sri Lanka, but with mixed results. Although an order of three aircraft was reportedly secured from Nigeria, Sri Lanka walked away from a possible deal for eight units.

2016 is shaping up to be a busy year for PAC. The JF-17 made a visit to Qatar in February, with PAC potentially keeping an eye on the prospect of replacing the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF)’s Alpha Jets. PAC is also attending the 2016 International Marrakesh Air Show in Morocco.

The JF-17 has a reasonable chance in earning a place in the Azerbaijan Air Force (AzAF). Azerbaijan is fairly close to Turkey, though it maintains productive ties with Russia as well. In that environment, Pakistan’s chances of running into political problems as a result of a neighbour’s pressure are not as high as say the problems it evidently ran into in Sri Lanka.

Financing could be an issue, especially since Pakistan does not have mechanisms to issue loans or line-of-credit; whether China steps in remains to be seen. However, if China were to offer a financing mechanism, it could incentivize Azerbaijan to buy other Chinese goods in the future.

At present, the AzAF operates 13 MiG-29s, 11 Su-25s, and five MiG-21s. PAC could position the JF-17 as the replacement for the AzAF’s MiG-21, but emphasize that the JF-17 is a fully capable multi-role asset.

The provision of the SD-10 active radar-homing (ARH) beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) and PL-5EII all-aspect within-visual-range air-to-air missile (WVRAAM) will offer assuredly good air-to-air capabilities, especially given Azerbaijan’s threat prospects, which center on Armenia.

The air-to-surface department could be very interesting as well. Azerbaijan could select from China’s inventory, which center on the WMD-7 targeting pod and LT-line of laser-guided bombs (LGB). The JF-17 could also use the LS-3 and LS-6 GPS/INS precision-guided bombs (PGB). NORINCO even offers a stand-off range glide-bomb capable of carrying sub-munitions in the form of the GB6. The AzAF can choose from numerous anti-ship missiles (AShM) on offer as well – TL-7, C-802, C-705KD, and CM-400AKG.

Alternatively, Azerbaijan could opt to separate the acquisition of the JF-17 from its munitions. On the air-to-ground front, it could tap into its good defence ties with Turkey to acquire the ASELPOD targeting pod, SAGE TUBITAK’s HGK PGB kits and Roketsan’s Teber LGB-kits.

A key point to drive with Azerbaijan is that with the JF-17, it is free to integrate its choice of avionics and weapon systems. This is an important advantage. Not only does it provide Azerbaijan the flexibility to equip the JF-17 at will, but the JF-17 can be its primary driver to attain and maintain a qualitative edge.

Engine commonality between the JF-17 and the AzAF’s MiG-29s is another benefit, at least in terms of simplifying some maintenance overheads, whilst still being able to field distinct fighter types. An assured transition to the forthcoming JF-17 Block-III would also be key, especially in terms of cementing the JF-17 as a viable long-term solution with growth potential.

Overall, engaging with the Azerbaijani market will probably be one of the better shots PAC will have at achieving market-share. It cannot be taken for granted, but compared to Sri Lanka or some of the Balkan states, it is a much more reasonable prospect.

  • Ashi Sidhu

    already rejected by many once azeris see it they will also send pak packing home

    • Abdul Rashid

      You forget to up-vote yourself this time.

    • Mustafa O

      As far as countries are themselves inviting to showcase JF, its any ones wild guess. But in this case, as mentioned, india doesnot enjoy any influence over azerbaijan, hence a very frustrated indian response and disappointment.

      • MT

        India azerbaijan trade is 10 times more than Pak azerbaijan trade

        India is also constructing north south corridor from chabhaar to russia via azerbaijan

        Coming back to jf17

        1. Pak is license producer of JF17 which adds barely 10 % total value by money to the product

        2. No body buys a fighter plane from a country which itself relies on another country for 90’% of systems

        • Javed

          Are you talking to yourself or us? Read all the coverage moron the coverage Western aviation journals and media has given to this aircraft for past 5 year, the endless possibilities, the price/performance point.
          This is not an IT hellhole where you can put few Indian coolies to work for minimum wages. Aircraft and specially fighter assembly is a very sophisticated and intricate activity that is beyond your comprehension. But to be serious it is Pakistan first attempt at such endeavor and we are succeeding with flying colors. There no reason for you to loose sleep on it.If India can assemble SU-30MKI and call it “made in India” then WTF any one should have problem with that?

          • MT

            SU30MKI engine to airframe r made In india.

            kamra only have contract of 58% of fuselage which cost les than 10%.

            No country is buying su30;dromt india which produces around 40% systems locally.
            y ll they buy cheeni jf17 from pak

          • Mustafa O

            Wait 6 months more and u will have ur behind burning assessing why sales to Nigeria, Myanmar, srilanka went ahead.
            Then ask them why a cheeni JF was selected instead of vintage tweety bird

          • MT

            Keep dreaming & wasting ur money behind a failed junked product which despite being inducted 7yrs ago lack full Bvr capabilities in block2.
            aluminum tin can jf17 is too rigid with poor semi digital fly by wire & pathetic 70 era rd93 engine which emits white smoke making them blind target

          • Mustafa O

            Oh HINDU, every jf has an indian ass f.. k.. g sd 10 capability. Every jf has link 17 datalink, every jf hasIN as f.. k… g c802 xapability. If ur fat mind is able to comprehend, its a digital aircraft that needs a software upgrade to have a certian capability common to other blocks. Hard ware is common. The only thing is i will agree is the smokey engine, but a reliable one after installation of DEEC. So keep on living in a fools Paradise.
            War strategist san tsu says”KNOW THY ENEMY”
            in ur case, its the opposite. Dont cry modi toady

          • MT

            cheeni data link not compatible with western system.
            now dont make cock bull story about deec/fadec in rd93.

            Rd93 is among worst engine if compared to Rd33Mk,rd33 series3 which are only 2 engines with deec/fadec.

            why not visit klimov site & confirm it

          • Mustafa O

            Oh maa choda, jf has a deec engine. Jts no fuckin sevret. Wondet ur making a big deal out of it. If ur shitty are without it, go ask russians. And link 17 is a pak national solution. Now suck it up and go jerk urself off.

            Btw, as said cheeni r a tleast 3 decades ahead of Hindu in defence tech. With carrier klers, anti satellite missiles, 5th gen fighters, submarines, frigates, aircraft carriers etc

          • MT

            moron I hv seen klimov spec & it doesnt say of rd93 being deec

            nothing credible abt cheeni 5th gen jet which is way inferior to 4.5 gen rafale.
            india has pretty much similar submarine frigates destroyer of similar capabilities.
            Carrier killer missile is all propaganda. U just need to read them in detail on armswonk
            All we know is that indonesia gave cheen yakhont which is only credible cheeni anti ship missile.

            Anti sat capabilities is with in reach of Isro but it’s on hold

          • Mustafa O

            Now dont expect me to paste dashone of jf to prove my point. But no doubt, ur an ignorant hindu in denial

          • MT

            the blog moderator confirm to my view point.

          • Mustafa O

            Refer to my response above please

          • Mustafa O

            This Modi toady is a raw sleuth paid to respond with stupid logics. Just ignore as he will respond, no matter how stupid his reply is.

        • Mustafa O

          Myanmar has bought 4, nigera has bought 4, srilanka agreed to buy 8 but dropped, albiet temporarily due intense Indian pressure. Azerbaijan has itself invited PAC to show case JF. Wonder why ur rationale is not being heard by these stupid countries. 😄

          • MT

            Let’s see if these countries r ready to buy plane from second class assemblers.

            how many of u ll b ready to buy Toyota cars from some third party country??
            Pak govt is simply hyping up this achievement of plane as your country has nothing good to talk except nuclear blackmail,terrorism,taliban.

            There are 50 countries who have better aeronautical industry than pak.

            India is also pathetic in aerobatic but it is among 10-15 countries

            No client ll buy pak assembled aircraft as your industry is too naive to even understand technology of aircraft.

            so u guys ll never get more than 3-4 order

          • Mustafa O

            Doesn’t matter about significant numbers as far as u have customers helping promoting marketing. So RIP tejas grand pa

          • MT

            First deliver an aircraft before bragging abt cheeni made kit assessmbled aircraft

          • Mustafa O

            We are more than ready but then mother india comes in with legs wide open offering everything in return to our potential customers. Stop whining and compete like pros, dont act like whores

          • MT

            When did pak ever make an indigenous missile,uav .
            so we all can see ur capabilities from no of patents filed by pak

          • Mustafa O

            Typical hindu, aborting and switching topics

  • Abdul Rashid

    I wonder what impact will the recent heightened tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia have on a potential deal. Azerbaijan might be maintaining good relations with Russia but the Russians have traditionally been closer to Armenians. Might not be too much of an issue if just replacing the 5 MIG-21’s but would be interesting to see how things play out if the deal (if any) looks to tilt the balance too heavily in Azerbaijan’s favour.
    Looking forward to some more qualified feedback on this article. Where are all you JF-17 watchers hiding?

    • It will be interesting. Interest in the WS-13 makes a lot of sense in this context.

      Between Azerbaijan and Armenia specifically, the introduction of the JF-17 would be a genuine game changer. Let’s assume that we just sell them the airframe, engine and radar, and it is up to Azerbaijan to outfit everything else…

      Well, it’s an open platform. They can do whatever the heck they like with it, at least from our end. If they need a good ECM/EW suite, they can talk to Aselsan in Turkey (or Indra in Spain, Airbus DS, Thales, Finmeccanica, etc).

      If they need a good precision-guided air-to-ground kit, they can talk to Aselsan and get the ASELPOD. The AzAF can also talk to TUBITAK SAGE and Roketsan, and get LGB and PGB kits too. If that front somehow fails, then GIDS and AWC can sell them PGB and LGB kits too, if need be.

      I think air-to-air munitions could be an issue, but then again, the SD-10 isn’t a new weapon, so it’d introduce a genuine ARH BVRAAM to the Azerbaijan-Armenia mix. Besides PL-5EII, they could even pick up A-Darter from South Africa, even without the HMD/S slaving it is a good WVRAAM (thanks to its own TWS-like feature).

      • Abdul Rashid

        If the Russians are displeased with the deal then simply replacing the engine with WS-13 won’t quite solve the problem, will it? Pakistan needs to continue to maintain and enhance defence relations with the Russians. This is in Pakistan’s interest for the planned procurement of helis and on-going improvements to JF-17 Blk 3 etc. Also, Russian-Turkish relations took a big hit after the Turkish Air Force shot down Su-24M. Russians are unlikely to see an open platform sold to Azerbaijan, especially in significant numbers (whatever that might be), allowing the latter to integrate equipment from Turkey on to it. This seemingly straightforward deal is also potentially riddled with complications. I feel a small number of platforms as a MIG-21 replacement with the RD-93 and Chinese/Pakistani munitions stands more chance of success than larger numbers with Turkish/Western munitions.

      • Ashi Sidhu

        jf 17 is just too obsolete to be bought probably block 3 would have a much better chance

        • Javed

          If India can assemble this junk (mig-21) for the longest period (with pride) of time and fly it even longer with dismal record then nothing would be obsolete.
          JF17 would be a great asset to any AF that has flown notorious, accident prone mig21…. what is obsolete then, Indian pilots?

  • Armagan Akram

    Correct me if I’m wrong but there has not been any official announcement on Sri Lanka not being interested in JF-17. Only a report in an indian paper (the indian media is notoriously inaccurate). On the Other hand after the indian article there was a release from the Sri Lankan Air force to the effect that JF-17 had neither been accepted or rejected yet. So if someone has any news on this please provide.

    On sales to Azerbaijan, We could sell them the JF-17 with a Chinese WS13 of course(its been flight tested on JF-17 since last year). If they don’t want a russian engine. Something no one mentioned.

    • MT

      Srilanka will never buy Jf17- Even if you sell them for free!

      1. Pak is license producer of JF17 which adds barely 10 % total value by money to the product

      2. No body buys a fighter plane from a country which itself relies on another country for 90’% of systems

      • Armagan Akram

        Please do send us a picture of your face, next time you hear about the next sale of the JF-17. We enjoy the agony on it.

        • jigsaww

          He won’t have a face to show if that happens.

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