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First export-bound FC-1 spotted in China
June 26, 2017
Photo credit: FYJS

First export-bound FC-1 spotted in China

Photos from Chinese websites (e.g. FYJS.cn) show the first FC-1 Xiaolong bound for the Myanmar Air Force at Chengdu Aerospace Corporation’s (CAC) facility.

The specific aircraft at CAC shares the standard camouflage and tail insignia of the Myanmar Air Force.

Myanmar was reportedly the launch export customer of the FC-1/JF-17 platform, signing a contract for 16 fighters during the 2015 Paris Air Show. Reports emerged in February that Myanmar was also in talks with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) to produce the FC-1 – possibly the active electronically-scanned array radar-equipped Block-III variant – under license.

Bar the Mikoyan MiG-29, the Myanmar Air Force comprises of Chinese-built fighters, namely the Chengdu F-7 and Nanchang A-5. The FC-1s will likely supplant the F-7 and A-5 in the air defence and attack roles, which would basically transition those squadrons into multi-role units.

Specifics, such as the configuration of Myanmar’s FC-1s, are not known. However, it is worth noting that Israel appears to be one of Myanmar’s defence suppliers. Building a local technical base for the FC-1 could enable Myanmar to customize its fighters using subsystems and weapons of its selection. When the twin-seat variant JF-17B conducted its maiden flight, AVIC said that it had already secured sales for the type. It is possible that the customer for the twin-seat variant (FC-1B) is Myanmar.

The JF-17/FC-1 was initiated as a joint-program between CAC and the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) in 1999. It conducted its maiden flight in 2003. The JF-17, a subvariant configured by PAC for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), was brought into service in 2010 with the No. 26 Squadron Black Spiders. By 2011, the PAF phased-out its Nanchang A-5 fleet with the JF-17.

Since then, more than 80 JF-17s were delivered to the PAF, which are in service with five squadrons in each of the PAF’s three regional commands. In 2015-2016, the PAF began the process of raising a sixth JF-17 squadron. The sixth unit will likely complete the phasing-out of the PAF’s legacy Chengdu F-7P fighters.

In terms of exports, PAC and AVIC also secured Nigeria as a buyer (for three aircraft) in 2016. Efforts were also made to pitch the platform to Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka and Qatar.

  • Steve

    Looks nice! Why CAC facility? Is there a second assembly line in China, and does PAC retain the same workshare for export JF-17? Presumably this is Block I as can’t see the IFR probe though it is usually on the right side. A little niggle of discomfort with making Block-III available for everyone particularly the Israelis to examine. Hopefully export models will not have all the high end stuff of Pakistani Block III.

    • PAC’s workshare is a constant, but the final assembly was done at CAC. It’s Block-II. As for the Block-III, most of its value would stem from the electronics, but I don’t think Myanmar or whoever else’s Block-III will be like Pakistan’s. Myanmar and (potentially) Azerbaijan will probably try fitting their jets with Israeli gear.

    • Abdul Rashid

      According to a Jane’s article (27th January 2016, JF-17 Block II advances with new refuelling probe) the JF-17’s new refuelling probe might be a Chinese design and detachable.

      BTW, the same Jane’s article also cited unconfirmed reports from Chinese sources regarding the possible testing of the Ra’ad ALCM on the JF-17.

      • Steve

        Appreciate the information. That’s good. A fixed probe looks bad on a small fighter. Aesthetics aside, I think aerodynamic performance and pilot view also suffer. I don’t know if Block-III has enough room for a retractable probe, but that is probably too much weight and space, and is more for heavy fighters. Given geography and our adversary, I think IFR will only be used over water for maritime or costal strikes, possibly for CAP too but not sure. We do need a better engine, and a lot more goodies on the Thunder.

        • Abdul Rashid

          Here is a link to an older Quwa article containing some more info on JF-17 IFR probe:

          http://quwa.org/2016/01/29/this-week-in-defence-news-4/

          As BK mentions in the comments section, an IFR probe will be needed on long-endurance missions but it would be preferable to do without it on some tasks.

  • SS_IND

    India and Myanmar have held joint Army and Naval drills….very soon air force would follow…lets hope India gives Tejas good experience of hunting the JF-17. As Mig-29s and Su-30 are over kill !

    • Shafiq Ahmed

      These jets are the export version of JF 17 designated as FC 1.PAF JF 17s may surprise Tejas which after pathetic 33 years of development is not fully operational

      • MT

        Already discussed numerous times in threads that tejas mk1 is far superior to jf block2

        • Fanboy Fanboy

          Yes on paper

          • MT

            Why not describe one aspect of jf17 block 2 superiority over tejas mk1

            Pak hasn’t yet shown full fledged bvraam. No HOBS, no helmet cueing system and flir pod isn’t yet tested.

            Twr is Lower than tejas and so are ITR and STR rates.

          • Steve

            This is a thread about export of FC-1 to Myanmar, not LCA. We are already sick of hearing about it as you guys just can’t stop waxing lyrical at every possible opportunity. This nonsense of ‘mine is bigger and better than yours’ is pathetic.

          • Headstrong

            Says the man who never fails to mention your ‘enemy’ in every single post, regardless of the context.

          • Steve

            Welcome back mr headstrong. I though you may have been run over in Bombay’s appalling traffic lol. Well let’s all pretend we are not enemies but best friends, allies, and to use an Indian term, bhai bhai! How about that! BTW I would like to do you a favour and allow you to take back your Champions Trophy related comment about weak wickets! And please don’t say how you are an expert in ‘exposing people’. That is an Indian habit that is really annoying Lol.

          • Headstrong

            Thanks ‘Steve’.
            I have no doubt that you people consider India your enemy. That is reflected in everything you people say and do. The point I made, and I guess I have to spell it out, is that it is ironic that you beseech Indians not to post irrelevant stuff when, in fact, you people (and you in particular) bring up India in every comment, regardless of context.
            And, since we’re being generous, I must say that Pakistan has made an incredible turnaround since the particularly insipid first game. Kudos! The final should be good. However, on that day, for you to talk of ‘weak wickets’ was too tempting to pass on. No doubt, you’d do the same given the opportunity, which may be as early as this Sunday.
            May the best team win!

          • Abdul Rashid

            May the best team win but TBH cricket is an INCREDIBLY boring game!

          • Steve

            Agree but the ‘masses’ are poor, miserable, and have no real fun. Adds a bit of fun to their lives.

          • Abdul Rashid

            Fun?! Some fun cricket looks and sound. What’s a silly mid wicket? Is there any such thing?

          • Steve

            Haha it’s a silly position where you have to protect your face and bits with a helmet and padding to avoid being hit by a ball as hard as a rock. The aim is to catch the ball travelling at ~70 mph after being hit by a wooden bat swung hard a few yards away from your face. For some subcontinental types it’s more important than religion. We British invented it but to the Yanks brought up on baseball its a mystery. I can see you are not an aficionado lol

          • Abdul Rashid

            Out of pure curiosity, just been Googling cricket fielding position names. Short third man, backward square leg. These two sound very interesting.

          • Steve

            We don’t beseech anyone but tell them off lol. This is weapons forum and who do you think is our adversary? So Indian reference is relevant. However repeated trolling with ‘mine is bigger than yours’ type comments in every article is stupid, and will be called out as such. As far as cricket, you do realise what an opportunity to give our poor peoples some entertainment in their otherwise miserable lives Indians are passing over, along with an opportunity to make a lot of money by this Modi/Doval jingoistic combine. I can tell you now, this ‘isolation’ BS won’t work, and nobody can suppress Pakistan or subcontinental Muslims for that matter, historic grievances notwithstanding. Indians should be concerned at the direction their country is taking, not that we care lol.

          • Headstrong

            The fact that you ‘don’t care’ is very evident. After all, you never ever talk about India, never ever lament the fact that India ‘stopped’ weapon sales to Pakistan, never ever compare yourselves to Indians, in fact never obsess about India and Indians.
            India is coming along quite well, thank you. You people should be concerned about yourselves. After all, Indian Muslims have turned their backs on you, in spite of your expectations. Your claim of representing Muslims of the Indian subcontinent is as hollow as you are.

          • Kash

            how do come up with these figures??…like I said earlier u have a overactive imagination…plz consider therapy

          • MT

            Those statements are backed by facts, academic publications and citations

            The only advantage of JF17 over Tejas is numbers. Othewise ;technologically tejas will always enjoy superiority over JF17.

            1. Tejas MK1(ITR,STR, fully digital FBW, Radar, BVRAAM, HOBS, HMDS , Litening pods

            Vs

            JF block 2( No composites, Very lower ITR(due to higher wing loading), bit lower STR, Radar dont work more than 60 km in look down mode, BVR SD10(chinese) <<< Derby(Israeli), No HOBS missile( in 20/30 Km range), No Helmet mounted display cueing system, Newbie Turkish FLIR pods(HW of ASELPOD may be at par with Litening 3 Israeli but ASELPOD embedded sw which is crux of any system is not sophisticated enough to beat Litening pod FLIR systems where Israeli companies have developed 5th gen of pods(HW+ SW with software features backward compatible)

          • Kash

            again…source for this info?..ur imagination!!!..plz believe me, I m a well wisher…seek professional therapy

          • MT

            It has been discussed numerous times in this forum.

            Why not read quwa discussion on jf17 vs tejas

          • Shafiq Ahmed

            You speak with such an authority as if you have flown JF 17 but what you comment is your wishful thinking.The fact is after 33 painful years of development Tejas is no where near being an operational and combat ready aircraft and IAF is not inducting it in numbers.A small
            number of jets has been pushed on account of Make In India project to prove DeshBhakt.IAF is inducting large numbers of off shelf aircrafts from France and other countries while JF 17 is rapidly evolving into 4+ gen aircraft with AESA Radar, IRST ,HOBS AAM perhaps A Darter,Anti Radiation Missile Mar 1 and ALCM Ra’ad.Proof of pudding is in eating.PAF is a highly professional force and is pride of our nation.With five JF 17 squadron raised nearly 100 JF 17s in service and JF 17 entering Third block facts speak for themselves

          • Shafiq Ahmed

            You must have flown a JF 17 to find all these facts.Radar don,t working more than 60 km??Did you actually take part in a sortie or perhaps you saw it in your dreams.The fact is that JF 17 is being exported to Myanmar and Nigeria and Tejas not being inducted in IAF in numbers and 100 JF 17 in service and put to use in combat and JF 17 entering its Third Version on way to become a 4+ gen Fighter with HOBS Perhaps A Darter, Anti radiation Missile Mar 1,AESA Radar,IRSTin only less than 20 years the facts speak for themselves

          • amar

            Dude seriously, there is no way JF17 can have a lower STR than our LCA. It is simply impossible. The delta heritage of our LCA,although provides a lot of advantages, has some disadvantagwas as well and lower STR is the most souring of all. However thankfully the RSS coupled with all digitial FBW remedies it to a great extent in fact that is what makes it superior to JF17. The control systems of LCA is just leagues ahead of JF17.

          • MT

            Tejas has an STR advantage over the Viper C/D at all speeds, and over the Viper A/B above Mach 0.65.

            Tejas isn’t a simple delta wing

          • amar

            Dude and I’m a student here at IITM. I know what I’m talking. The STR advantage you’re talking is quite dubious — I don’t agree with the conclusion of that ahuja guy who came up with his simulations. Also the cranked delta helps in producing strong vortex at high AoA thus increasing max AoA. The problem lies in not so high AoA and Lower speeds. I don’t even consider anything above mach 0.8 for dog fight. Dog fights usually take place in the vicinity of .6 or so.

            Americans always place utmost importance to STR and viper has one of the highest STR– in fact greater than our beloved fulcrums– in a lateral plane there’s no way a fulcrum can outmanuvre a viper(both of them in clean configuration). However in longitudinal plane the story is entirely opposite.

          • Shafiq Ahmed

            1-JF 17 can land properly.A little ago I came across a news report that Tejas was grounded because its landing gear did not work
            2-JF 17 is being exported to Myanmar and Nigeria and there are many potential customers
            3- Five JF 17 Squadrons raised
            4- JF 17 entering its third iteration
            5-JF 17 has been used in combat

          • FAUJI JAT

            JF 17 is only used against terrorist who don’t have air force,air defence Sam, EW systems.

          • Shafiq Ahmed

            Nevertheless its precision strike capabilities has been tested and deployed.So what are you going to say about it????

          • Shafiq Ahmed

            Nevertheless its ground attack capabilities have been tested and put to use so what do you think????

        • Kash

          lol..only in ur dreams

        • Dot

          Why it is not get full production ?

  • Superior Shakeel

    I agree we are showing nothing but pure hypocrisy here.

    These jets are going to be used to carpet bomb our Muslim brothers as a nation founded on the concept of global ummah and Muslim brotherhood this action is a disgrace on our values and principles.

    How are we going to be any different from India or west who kill and butcher Muslims .

    A sad day indeed in our history much like the black Friday for the Palestinians who were slaughtered by our very own general Zia

    • Steve

      As a matter of principle (taking an emotional viewpoint) I tend to agree, but looking at this pragmatically the same ‘Ummah’ has kicked us in the teeth multiple times, won’t even support the Kashmir cause, and are friends with our sworn enemy. Who among the Ummah is our true friend and ally? Thankfully statecraft is not conducted emotionally. If we sell something to Burma we may have some influence. If we don’t sell we have nothing at all, and Rohingya conditions remain unchanged. Logically speaking which is the better position? We could attach conditions like the Americans do, but they may buy Tejas for all we know.

    • Salman

      Right, and not sending these planes to Myanmar, will gain the favoritism of countries who themselves dont do any effort for their fellow Muslims by even a bit? Years, have passed. They haven’t given a flying fudge to what’s happening there. Actually, it’s very better and very more and more so, that a souring boils between us and these uncivilised mischievous crooks. We must steer a path for our country without being reliant on them, and without a prime minister who has never shown such great impulse for the Ummah than now with the ongoing Qatar crisis. For all we know, these Two-Faces are the primary instigators of trouble in the world.

  • Ali Afzal

    Bhai , Pakistan is not the father of Islam or Muslims

  • Ali Afzal

    Why can’t Pakistan sell these fighter jets to countries like Iraq and Bosnia ? If Myanmar will ask Israel to upgrade the JF-17 then for sure it is a risk because Israel will share the information with India.

  • zia

    Wrong decision taken. If we cant help those Muslims we should not provide machines that can drop bombs on them. Above all, india has very strong influence and relationship with myanmar. Maynmar asked for technology transfer on indias request so that they can learn in depth how JF-17 can be defeated. anyways. Wrong decision.

  • Asif Khan_47

    Please leave the Muslim issue aside. As Ali Afzal said, these Burmes aircraft look to me as FC-1 as indicated by BK

  • Muhammad Irfan

    these aircraft will be of the Block II variant, which was first rolled out from the PAC’s Kamra plant in 2015 and which, unlike the Block I variant, features an air-to-air refuelling capability and improved avionics and electronics. @unit price of 16 million USD

  • FAUJI JAT

    From a cursory look at its performance specifications, the JF-17 appears to be a mediocre aircraft. It doesn’t fly particularly fast, or exhibit a spectacular turn rate, or possess an outstanding thrust-to-weight ratio. The Russian-made Klimov RD-93 engine that powers it is notorious for its short life and lack of reliability. The avionics package and weapons suite are austere by modern standards. It lacks a fly-by-wire flight control system: a vital piece of technology that is present on practically every modern fighter. So lacklustre is its performance that the country that led its development—China—isn’t inducting a single unit of the type.

    • Headstrong

      Don’t let out state secrets, Jat!

    • Steve

      I don’t really want to reply to you, but got some free time so here goes. If the plane is that bad then you Indians have nothing to worry about. Keep having ecstatic rapturous fanboy discussions about Tejas, along with your morning exercises wearing baggy shorts, and your other nightly duties, but do us all a favour and do all this silliness elsewhere LOL. Would you also kindly inform us why 2 countries other than Pakistan have already inducted the Thunder and a number of others are going to? It may become the SAARC fighter, which would be totally ironic giving the ‘isolation’ Bollywood drama! This is despite us never pretended it is better than F-22, but we do say it does what’s it’s designed for very well, unlike you guys who routinely compare your rather mediocre non-inducted fighter to F-22. Why do you keep talking the plane down uninvited? That clearly betrays your worry about it, particularly in its Block-III iteration, as we will build 250, and install all the goodies you say it has not got. Please don’t say you are ‘exposing’ or ‘bursting bubbles’ or other annoying hinglish terms LOL.

    • Shafiq Ahmed

      You are suffering from IBAB syndrome

  • Headstrong

    Look who’s talking about cowering minorities. I suggest you set your own house in order before pointing fingers at others. You people don’t even spare your own kind.
    Modi may not be their hero but they have no plans to emigrate to Pakistan any time soon. That bus has left a long time ago. They’re doing far better in India than they would have there.
    And your ‘substantive comments’ amount to little more than platitudes. Before claiming to be the saviours of Muslims of the Indian subcontinent, you people should look after your own first. No Indian Muslim wants anything to do with you people

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