Africa Aerospace & Defence 2016

Thunderous co-operation [AAD16D3]

16 September 2016

At a media briefing at AAD 2016 hosted by both the China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC) and the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), the focus was on the co-operation between the two groups in the design and development of the JF-17 Thunder over a long period of time.

Co-operation in the marketing of the jet fighter was also highlighted. It was stressed that it was an ongoing project and would continue to adapt to changing circumstances.

The partners feel that the jet is suitable for marketing in middle income countries because of its design and cost. Capabilities such as beyond-visual range and within-visible range air combat and long-range air-to-surface precision attack come with a high price tag and high operating costs for modern fighters. However, it is stated that the JF-17 is designed to achieve a good balance between advanced technology and cost effectiveness.

The designation “JF-17” by Pakistan is short for “Joint Fighter – 1”. The Chinese designation is “FC-1 Xiaolong”, which means “Fighter China – 1 Fierce Dragon”. A detailed description of developments over a number of years – from the 1990s – and ongoing was provided and a JF-17 test pilot spoke about the capabilities of the aircraft. It is described as a new-generation multirole light combat aircraft, designed to meet the demands of current and future threat scenarios. The aircraft has formidable air combat capability and comprehensive surface attack capability combined with excellent manoeuvrability. A variety of weaponry can be carried and it has an advanced integrated avionic system as well as a digital glass cockpit. This is topped off by an advanced integrated logistic support system.

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