skip to main content

Second JF-17/FC-1 Block III prototype spotted carrying PL-10E AAMs

An image has emerged in online forums showing that a second Block III prototype of the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex/Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (PAC/CAIG) JF-17 Thunder/FC-1 Xiaolong multirole combat aircraft has been built.

The photograph, which was first published on 27 April on the website, shows the prototype during flight bearing number ‘3001’ and carrying what appeared to be two PL-10E short-range air-to-air missiles (AAMs), marking the first time a JF-17 has been seen armed with the infrared (IR)-guided weapon.

According to the website, the image was taken in March 2021 in Pakistan. The first prototype, which bears number ‘3000’, made its maiden flight in December 2019 from CAIG’s production facility at Chengdu-Huangtianba.

A further development of the Block II variant, the JF-17/FC-1 Block III will feature the China Electronics Technology Group (CETC) KLJ-7A active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, enhanced electronic warfare systems, increased payload, as well as the capability to deploy more sophisticated and longer-range weapons, as Janes reported.

The aerodynamic configuration of the Block III variant remains the same as that of the previous variant. The prototypes have yet to be seen fitted with a detachable in-flight refuelling probe.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...