The Pakistani Spectator

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JF-17 Block II & The FC-20

By Ganai Danish • Apr 4th, 2012 • Category: Lead Story, Politics, Worth A Second Look • 2 Comments

Pakistan and China have recently concluded a final agreement for the manufacture of a second batch of JF-17s. According to well-vetted sources from Pakdef (Eagle Hannan), these 50 jets are the final form of the JF-17s. The aircraft will be manufactured at Kamra, Pakistan, but will be flown to China for additional work. This work is said to relate to a new generation of avionics and sensor suite.

The Block II JF-17 is believed to have AESA radars similar to those observed on the J-10B. The integrated avionics, sensors and EW suite is entirely Chinese and is believed to be at the level of Europes best planes. The AESA radar is a slightly smaller version of the one being utilized for the J-10B. The radar is highly sophisticated and its installation is beyond the present capacity at PAC Kamra and will thus require the aircraft to take a trip to Nanjing, China.

The Block II will be the standard version to be used in the PAF with the older Block Is to be retired after the end of production for the first 150 aircraft. This suggests that the structural changes needed to convert the Block Is to Block II standard are significant, suggesting considerable changes to the revised edition. The following are believed to be some of the key changes:

1. AESA radar

2. Comprehensive upgrades for low RCS profile including cockpit glass, RAM paint, refined structure, completely new nose structure for AESA, significant increase in the use of composites and retractable refueling probe. 5/24/2011

3. Awaited integration of A-Darter missiles from Brazil / South Africa with HOBS capability and Brazilian HMS.

4. The BVR missile is the SD-10B which has been found more than a match for the AMRAAM-120 C5s. An unknown Meteor class missile is in the works beyond the SD-10Bs.

A significant export order has been secured and an entire squadron is being dedicated for training and familiarization of foreign pilots (Source: Eagle Hannan, Pakdef).

Contrary to conflicting reports in the media, this writer believes that the order for the FC-20s were finalized and that this order has increased to 58 planes. Given the recent crisis post-Abbottabad, the PAF is being beefed up in a hurry and the FC-20s will play a critical role in the defence of the Western sector. Given the nature of the mountainous terrain and the inability to use the F-16s, these platforms along with the JF-17 will prove to be of significant
deterrence value. China is believed to be sacrificing its own production requirements to meet PAF’s needs in a hurry and unbelievable financial terms appear to have been extended.

These FC-20s are a highly lethal version of the original and incorporate AESA radars, a high degree of composite use, low observability features and an advanced integrated avionics suite. The wide HUD visible on the J-11s are also believed to have been utilized. In Eagle Hannan’s recent update, he notes that the wings have been modified and include over 50% composite use. He also makes the surprising claim that the canard fore-planes have been modified. Both
these factors indicate a significant structural and aerodynamic revamp that would require significant changes even in the FBW.Such a revamp was already suspected given the canted nose and the DSI bump.

The same source also indicates that the plane (FC-20) has been praised by pilots and capable of incredible maneuvers including the Cobra so famously performed by the FLANKERs. He notes that FC-20 not only performs this maneuver but also performs it better, recovering significantly faster. While this maneuver is not of great military importance, the maneuverability and Fly-By-Wire (FBW) maturity this indicates, suggest that the FC-20 is a well-evolved and lethal machine.

Eagle Hannan also indicates that the Pakistan Navy is interested in the J-11Bs with Russian engines. This appears to be counter-intuitive given the sensitive nature of Russia’s copyright relations with China. However, it is possible that Pakistan may attempt to placate this sensitivity by buying Russian engines and paying royalties. It is also possible that Russia is smarting from India’s recent rejection of Russian military gear and move towards Western sources. These all make for a great deal of controversy and are likely to keep arm-chair generals and military analysts busy in the foreseeable future.

What is clear is that Pakistan and the PAF will get a significant boost, in fact a major leap in capabilities in the next 12-24 months.

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Click For More Articles By Ganai Danish Mr. Danish Ganaie is a young Defence and Military Strategist based in Srinagar (Summer capital of Indian Occupied Kashmir). His Mother is from Lahore, Pakistan and is very interested in writting about Defence and Security issues related to Pakistan. He has Bachelor of Technology in Aeronautical Engineering from IIT-Delhi. Currently, he is pursuing M-Tech in Aeronautical Engineering at MIT. Apart from his studies, he is interested in research and writing. His areas of specialization are geopolitics between the US and Pakistan and writing briefs on intelligence leads.
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2 Responses »

  1. I wish you may point out also - how much COMMISSION was paid to few Generals on this deal when the rich wage war, it is the poor who die why do you forget later on these planes were suppose to KILL own innocent homeland people just to act upon American Directive why do you forget this Army has been planning — Sara Sirr - Rah-e-Khawari Operation at North Waziristan. A curse should rest on me when very few of Armed Forces Generals are READY to receive US$ & ready to Stamp on American Droned Attacks— because they love this war against some million of US dollars. I know it’s smashing and shattering the lives of thousands of own homeland innocent people every moment — and yet — I can’t help it — Few Generals enjoy & I feel Curse every second of it.

    Pata - Nahi - Kaisay - Inn - Bay- Ghairatoun - Ko- Raat - Sakoon - Ki- Neend - Aa-Jati-
    Against - Few Millions of US Dollars - Apni - Hee - Qaum - Ki- Kharaid-o-Farkhout- Ki-Jati-
    Kissi - Eik - Molk - Ka - Naam - Hum-Ko- Butlao- Jehan - Iss- Qisam - Ki - Tijarat - Ho-Ki-Jati-

  2. I think it was General Kayani who categorically refused
    to oblige the American demand to launch
    operation in North Waziristan soon after
    successful military strike in South Waziristan. As far as SWAT is concerned, Read my article penned down two years back

    ”Against all odds-Pakistan Army Fighting back”
    The news stories from Pakistan have been
    bad across the board for quite some time
    now. Recent days have seen the TTP-led
    forces within 70 km of Islamabad, “peace”
    deals in Swat and a rising tide of attacks on
    major cities. However, all is not lost for the
    Pakistan Army. In fact, all was never lost; it
    has been a carefully planned strategic move
    on the part of General Kayani.
    Politically, by giving the Pakistani Taliban a
    chance for peace, he has won the
    sympathies of the people of the region and
    broad national support. The local population
    have also had a chance of looking at life
    under the Pakistani Taliban, a large part of
    whom are former thugs and thieves. This
    has bought the Pakistan Army a great deal
    of political mileage. Meanwhile, militarily the
    Pakistani Taliban are overstretched. They are
    also dangerously close to being strategically
    dissected, outflanked and caught with their
    pants down.
    Pakistan Army offensives have thus far been
    successful, and are likely to cut off Swat
    from TTP reinforcements from the South.
    Bajaur-Malakand-Buner axis would leave the
    Pakistani Taliban in Swat dissected from
    their friends in Mohmand Agency. The Swat
    Valley has very few exits and is accessible
    mainly from the South and North, with
    limited access to Shangla to the East and Dir
    to the West. All of which can theoretically be
    closed by the Pakistan Army.
    The TTP have underestimated the Pakistan
    Army and overestimated their position and
    moved towards more conventional ground
    holding operations over classic guerrilla too
    quickly. They are likely to pay the price in
    blood, and complete loss of their northern
    flank. The only silver lining for the TTP will be
    the use of massive American weaponry
    including borrowed choppers that are likely
    to be used in such an operation. This would
    equate the Pakistan Army=stooges of
    The Pakistani game plan has been
    masterminded by General Kayani, who is
    now emerging as a seasoned chess-player
    and a veritable Pakistani Putin. He has deftly
    fixed the political crisis without directly
    interfering in the affairs of the state. “The
    Kayani Model”, a term coined by former Chief
    of Army Staff Jehangir Karamat, represents a
    new framework for the Pakistan Army. As
    Karamat puts it, - “invisible but around, fully
    informed and acting through well timed and
    effective influence”.
    In a parallel development, a new consensus
    appears to be emerging, that can be called
    the “Zaid Hamid Consensus” that charts out
    a broad policy of independence from the US
    and an Islamic state in the philosophical
    lineage of Allama Iqbal rather than a
    Taliban/Salafi style interpretation. This
    consensus, if it can gain critical mass, could
    prove to be an antidote to both foreign
    designs against the country as well as the
    internal threat of the Salafists and terrorists.
    The Americans are also in the game. The
    American game plan is represented by a
    rehash of the “Sunni Awakening” strategy in
    Iraq under the brand name of “Sunni
    Tahreek” a so-called Deobandi outfit. This is
    perhaps the biggest danger for Pakistan, as
    it will in the long-term move the battle from
    far flung and remote areas to the city
    centers of the country in a rehash of Iraq
    post US conquest, with the violence, militias
    and terror that it accompanied. With the
    political government’s cooperation and US
    funding, this could easily turn very nasty.

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