On the day that it celebrated its achievement of overhauling 1,000 aircraft, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) quietly announced that the JF-17 was integrated with a stand-off range air-to-surface weapon.
Notes & Comments:
The munition in question appears to be the Range Extension Kit (REK), which is produced and marketed by Global Industrial & Defence Solutions (GIDS).
The REK is a kit for converting MK-80-series general purpose bombs (GPB) into satellite-aided inertial navigation system (GPS/INS)-guided bombs. In addition to the guidance unit, the REK is comprised of a tail-unit with aerodynamic control surfaces and glide wings. As per GIDS, the REK has a range of 50-60 km and accuracy of less than 20 metres circular error probable (CEP).
The GIDS REK is analogous to the U.S. Joint Direct Attack Munition Extended Range (JDAM-ER) and Turkish Tübitak Sage Wing Assisted Guidance Kit (KGK). The PAF’s JF-17s will utilize the GIDS REK to target fixed installations at long-range and, if need be, under adverse weather conditions.
The PAF JF-17 is also equipped with the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) C-802A anti-ship missile (AShM). The C-802A AShM has a range of 180 km. Besides the REK and C-802A, the PAF stand-off range weapon arsenal also comprises of the Mectron MAR-1 anti-radiation missile, H-2 and H-4 glide bombs (i.e. Denel Dynamics Raptor-I/II), and Ra’ad air-launched cruise missile (ALCM). It is not known if and/or when these munitions will be integrated onto the JF-17 platform.
In terms of short-range strike, the PAF’s JF-17s will be equipped with the Aselsan ASELPOD targeting pod. It is likely that this will be accompanied by laser-guided bombs (LGB), though laser-guided rockets and missiles could also be possible. The industry shift to dual-mode INS/GPS and laser-guided bombs, such as the Lockheed Martin Paragon and Roketsan Teber, may also be an option for the PAF.
Global Industrial & Defence Solutions Range Extension Kit
Photo credit: Global Industrial & Defence Solutions