As of right now, a lot of countries are taking an interest in the JF-17, the result of collaboration between Pakistan and China. The Block III version of the JF-17 is a significant landmark for the multirole fighter. It features some of the most advanced systems and weapons that are generally associated with a 4+ generation fighter. These systems and weapons include AESA Radar, Advance BVR missiles, Helmet Cueing System, and IRST & advance BVR active missiles.
The JF-17 Block 1 and 2 models are quite capable as well. They can be used for achieving air-dominance using short-range and medium-range missiles. The JF-17 Block III along with modifications to its airframe has shown excellent potential for growth. There was a time when JF-17 was from the DNA of Super 7, which itself was derived from the MiG-21. However, with these modifications, the JF-17 Block III has become an entirely modern design.
Some qualities of the JF-17 Block II include being as agile as the early mode F-16A. The JF-17 is the premier fighter of the PAF. It makes use of a proven Russian engine that is currently being produced under license in China. The engine is from the MiG-29 Fulcrum, thus making the JF-17 an ideal jet for the countries that already have the MiG-29. It comes with a reliable supply chain management that is being maintained by China and Pakistan. Furthermore, it is an excellent export opportunity for the countries that cannot afford Russian or Western jets or have been denied purchases with a per unit price of only $25 million. The JF-17 is easier to maintain and was developed while utilizing Pakistan’s experience in using the F-16. It features a Fly-By-Wire and also comes with an inflight refueling probe. All of these qualities render the jet as a strong player in the fighter market with countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, evaluating the potential of the jet.
As of right now, Saudia Arabia, Albania, Morocco, Bulgaria, Malaysia, Egypt, Sudan, Iraq, Oman, Lebanon, Argentina, Algeria, Jordan, and Peru are evaluating the JF-17 Block III. With a cost of $25 million per jet, any air force will be able to build itself by numbers without breaking a sweat. For a total cost of $1 billion, countries can acquire 40 units along with training, spares, and weapons. China and Pakistan are willing to sell the JF-17 to any nation other than the United States. The F-16 cost is estimated at $50 million to $75 million per unit.
According to the specs that have been released, the JF-17 can fly up to 3,200 kilometers on efficiency settings that are based on Lo-Hi-Hi-Lo. Whereas, it can achieve a travel distance of about 3,800 kilometers if flown at an efficiency-height of 30,000 ft and at optimum speed. It is a viable option, long term, for any nation that is looking to procure a modern jet fighter. It employs the use of an enhanced MiG-29 engine that is being built in China. Pakistan’s thirty years of operations on the F-16 Fighting Falcon have played a great role in making the JF-17 to be an efficient and technologically advanced machine that can be repaired and maintained easily and up to the Western standards.
Check out this official promotional video for complete details: