Pakistan and China plan to upgrade their jointly- produced JF-17 Thunder fighter jet to enhance “informatised warfare” its capability and weapons for an effectively defence.
Yang Wei, a Chinese legislator and chief designer of the China-Pakistan co-developed fighter jet was reported to have said that “the development and production of the JF-17 Block 3 are underway.”
According to a report of China Aviation News. Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst told Global Times that the JF-17 Block 3 is likely to be fitted with an active electronically scanned array radar, which can gather more information in combat, enabling the fighter jet to engage from a farther range and attack multiple targets at the same time. A helmet-mounted display and sight system could also allow pilots to aim whatever he sees.
Pakistan, the main user of the JF-17, could further share information between the fighter and other platforms taking advantage of the whole combat system to effectively defend against strong opponents, Wei said.
With the new upgrade, the JF-17 Block 3 will match an improved version of the F-16 fighter jet, he added. JF-17, or the FC-1, is a single-engine multi-role light fighter jet jointly developed by China and Pakistan for export.
When asked about which countries have inquired about the JF-17 Block 3, Yang said “A lot of countries have come to buy. You sign [a contract for the JF-17], you benefit.”
The JF-17 is often described by its manufacturer and military observers as an advanced but also cost-effective fighter. It is currently contending with India’s Tejas and South Korea’s FA-50 in Malaysia’s new fighter jet purchase plan, with the JF-17 being the most competitive option, Wei said.
A JF-17 fighter jet attached to the Pakistan Air Force flies towards the designated airspace during an air-to-ground offensive operation drill conducted by two Chinese JH-7 fighter bombers and two Pakistani JF-17 fighter jets on Sept. 20, 2017, which is part of the “Shaheen VI ” joint training exercise launched by the air forces of China and Pakistan.
Myanmar and Nigeria have reportedly purchased the Chinese-Pakistani warplane.