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The Truth Behind Pakistan’s JF-17 Fleet And Its Failure


The Chinese have a peculiar habit, they may build the best of the product for them but when it comes to export, they can give any kind of customisation to their buyer even at the cost of compromising security and performance.

The year 1989, after the closure of Project Sabre II due to Pressler Amendments, Pakistan decided to develop an aircraft with total Chinese help. Soon Chinese aircraft engineers under Yang Wei was put to the task. The Chinese have a peculiar habit, they may build the best of the product for them but when it comes to export, they can give any kind of customisation to their buyer even at the cost of compromising security and performance. Also Read – ‘In The Memory of The Man of Pleasure’: Alcoholic Drink Named After Pakistan Founder Jinnah

Pakistani JF-17 is one such product where Pakistan had to pay a price for a cheap Chinese product. Today, more than 50% of the existing JF-17 fleet is grounded. Pakistan is not only afraid to showcase it in any of the major air shows worldwide but has never taken this aircraft for any joint exercise with any of the major countries of the world. Also Read – China Imports 100,000 Tonnes of Rice From India For 1st Time in Decades Amid Ladakh Standoff

Why is it avoiding the exposure of its so-called best fighter of the world? Also Read – China’s Unmanned Spacecraft Chang’e 5 Makes Successful Landing on the Moon

Isn’t it the fear of exposure of Paki-Chinese propaganda?

Let us see some points which make JF-17 a true mockery of aircraft engineering.

1. Engine – The powerplant used in the system is Klimov RD-93 which is a variant of the RD-33 engine from Russia. Russians found it useless but when Chinese Engineers were developing a cheap fighter for Pakistan, they selected Cheap RD 93. It has an increased thrust level but decreased service interval (From 700hours to 400Hours) and life cycle (From 4000 Hours to 2200Hours). This engine is known to generate thick black smoke (due to partial burning of fuel) resulting in easy spotting of aircraft from tens of miles away. Only JF-17 uses this engine in the entire world. This resulted in a low thrust to weight ratio. Today Pakistani JF-17 cannot pull a 9G manoeuvre even with zero weapon system and 65% of Fuel.

Interestingly, such notorious was the performance of this Engine that when Myanmar decided to buy 16 x JF-17 from Pakistan, it refused to take this RD-93 engine and separately procured original RD33 Engines from Russia.

2. Air to Air Refuelling – Since JF-17 has a higher rate of fuel consumption, it would need to be refuelled in the air for any long-distance operation. Pakistan claims this aircraft to be capable of carrying out Air to Air Refuelling but surprisingly no Air to Air refuelling has ever been carried out till date. Indeed, they carried out this exercise on ground which makes another mockery of the Aircraft Engineering.

3. Weapon Systems – Pakistan boasts of a plethora of weapon systems compatible with JF-17 but the actual scenario is different. It bought its targeting system from Turkish company “Aselsan” but its compatibility with Chinese weapons has never been tested. The most advanced weapon system claimed on JF-17 is Chinese PL-15 Air to Air Missile with a reported range of over 200 Km. Surprisingly, it still carries a conventional Rocket motor which not only decreases its velocity but its more than 4-metre long size makes the killer itself an ideal target.

4. Weak Structure – Because of poor thrust to weight ratio, its structure is exposed to serious threats when going beyond permissible “Gravity” limits. It is reliably learnt that more than 40% of the existing JF-17 are grounded because of cracks in their Strake area. This is the area most affected by Gravity related postures. There are reports that the damage to stake areas of wingtips has even resulted in damage to wingtip hardpoints in few of the machines. There was news of breaking of arresting gear in few aircraft while landing too.

5. Total Reliance on China – Except the airframe and metallic structures, Pakistan is totally dependent upon China and other countries for all its parts and spares. JF-17 is only assembled in Pakistan. Its entire serviceability and life cycle are maintained by Chinese Engineers.

In a nutshell, if someone tries to explain Paki-Chinese JF-17, It will certainly be a mockery of Aircraft Engineering. Just to produce something at reduced costs, they created an example which is totally incapable to meet its objectives. What we see is only propaganda, the reality of JF-17 is far away. China acted wisely resulting in a poor Pakistan having a complete dependency on the Dragon for survivability of its Aircraft Fleet. Pakistan is forced to do Chinese slavery on economic as well as technical fronts


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