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Pakistan formally equips fifth JF-17 squadron
March 25, 2017

Pakistan formally equips fifth JF-17 squadron

Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) formally handed over the JF-17 multi-role fighter to Minhas Air Base’s No. 14 squadron (named the “Tail Choppers”) on Thursday, 16 February 2017.

Notes & Comments:

No. 14 had previously been flying F-7P and FT-7Ps, which are Chinese-built variants of the Mikoyan MiG-21. Prior to the F-7P, No. 14 was one of the initial users of the PAF’s F-16A/B Block-15s.

With No. 14, the PAF operates five JF-17 units comprising of four operational fighter squadrons (i.e. No. 2, No. 14, No. 16 and No. 26) and a training unit at Combat Commanders School (CCS).

This is a significant upgrade for No. 14. With the JF-17, the squadron is now equipped with a network-enabled (via Link-17) multi-role fighter capable of deploying beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, and precision-guided air-to-surface munitions. No. 14’s aircraft are also equipped with in-flight refueling probes.

In December 2016, PAC stated it had delivered more than 70 JF-17s to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). Photos from January 2017 had shown that JF-17 Block-II production crossed 30 aircraft.

Most of the PAF’s F-7Ps have been phased out, with the remaining unit being the No. 18 squadron, which is an operational conversion unit (OCU) flying F-7Ps and twin-seat FT-7P. It is possible that this squadron will switch over to a mixed JF-17 fleet comprising of two-seat JF-17Bs.

The PAF’s Block-II order of 50 planes will likely be completed in 2017. Aviation Week reports that PAC will produce 12 additional Block-IIs (in addition to the 50 ordered by the PAF) in 2018.

The JF-17 Block-III will – tentatively – enter production from 2019, but the PAF will issue its Block-III order in 2017. The Block-III will be equipped with an active electronically-scanned array radar, new electronic warfare and electronic countermeasure suite, and helmet-mounted display and sight system.

The Block-III will likely replace the PAF’s non-Retrofit of Strike Element (ROSE) Mirage III/5s. The F-7PG and Mirage ROSE I/II/III will continue flying with the PAF for the foreseeable future.

  • Naveed AHMAD أحمد

    Is the JF-17 Block II refuelling probe retractable? When is Block III starting test flights?

    • Not retractable. It’s external but can be removed or re-attached in a short period of time. Not known when the Block-III will undertake test flights, but if they intend to start producing in 2019, then the test-flight would need to be late 2017, leaving all of 2018 for tests.

    • truthseeka

      retractable is not necessary as this is not a stealth machine, and adds undue weight and complexity, more parts to break.

  • Anis Subhan

    How long will it take for Block I & II to be upgraded to Block III

    • Not known yet if the PAF will upgrade Block-I/II to Block-III.

  • Sami Shahid

    I thought we inducted JF-17 B but I was wrong. Bilal Khan when will PAF induct JF-17 B ?

    • They’re reportedly aiming for mid-2017.

      • Sami Shahid

        Oh Alright thanks 🙂

  • Anis Subhan

    Any chance of engine upgrade in Block III or will it be a consideration in later Blocks if any ?

  • truthseeka

    good news, keep developing your own aircraft industry, slowly but surely in 2 or 3 decades, you wont need anyone else to rely on for parts and support. No one is a friend of a Muslim nation other than Allah swt and fellow Muslim states, stop relying on the west or east, look only above and to your own strength.

    What Muslims need desperately is their own NATO and EU like cooperation. The OIC needs to be rejiggered to make it a real and effective org, right now its useless, toothless tiger.

    We need a Muslim NATO, we need a Muslim gathering of research and development universities, our own defense industry cooperation, where parts for an airplane for example are built in several Muslim states, just like Airbus does, engines made in one nation, airframes in another, and so on. We need to wake up, 1.8 Billion Muslims are asleep, need to rise up from this slumber.

    The people have to rise up and get rid of useless leaders.

    • Tan

      Are u mad?

  • Derek Bisaccio

    Would these 16 just inducted all be Block IIs?

    • Zill e Hussnain

      all of them are Block II with air refuelling system

  • S.K

    what is need of Mirage III/5 and Mirage ROSE I/II/III when JF-17 is being retrofitted for Aselsan POD and is already using Black rose NVG as per MoDP 2014 or 2015 book? The only thing left is to carry Ra’ad cruise missile. If PAF able to mate ALCM with JF-17. Mirages would get retired sooner than we thing

    • Zill e Hussnain

      as of now, JF 17 Thunder Block I and II can carry one Ra’ad Missile, very sone rest of the Block II will replace all the F7s and Block III will replace none Rose Mirages

  • ahmria

    The sooner we can replace all the legacy jets with new build JF17 Thunders including the Mirage 3and 5s and the F7s the better. Induction of block 2 JF17s and eventually the block 3s will improve the overall capability of the PAF and PN and will also allow replacement of these older jets that are harder to maintain and also increasingly obsolete. It also allows the PAF to streamline maintenance to parts and schedules for 1 type as opposed to two or three different airframes.

  • rneggade

    Jf block 1 and 2 are meant to be the back end backbone of Pak Airforce which basically means that their job is defensive support of strategic areas and not to go and fight at the frontline or in enemy territory. Mig 29 and M 2000 will not be problem for Jf 17 block2 but su 30 one to one might be an issue, also when pak airforce inducts block 3 variant with all its goodies then we will be fine.

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