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BEIJING --- China and Pakistan have agreed to start joint production of a new fighter aircraft to replace ageing French and Chinese aircraft used by Pakistan's Air Force, according to the Financial Times.
In its online edition, the newspaper quoted Pakistani Air Vice Marshal Latif as saying, "The (JF-17) project is not only of strategic importance to the air force but it has far-reaching implications both for the national defense and economic prosperity of Pakistan."
Pakistan will test the first four JF-17 "Thunder" aircraft next year, with the supply of 150 aircraft beginning in 2007, said Latif, who is also project director.
The two countries are planning to make at least 400 JF-17 fighters, with 250 of them going to China's air force.
The JF-17 Thunder, whose performance is matched only by F-16s in the Pakistan Air Force's current inventory, would be replacing the aging fleet of Mirage, F-7s and A-5s. The aircraft is being considered as a match for the Indian Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), which is expected to form the backbone of the Indian Air Force in future. There are, however, some features like advanced and futuristic avionics and cost effectiveness that give the JF-17 an edge over the LCA.
The LCA can be inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) in limited numbers starting in 2008, though 'full-scale' induction won't happen anytime before 2010. Further delays are expected. Most critics put the date of induction between 2012 and 2015, if it is inducted at all. Apart from the MiG-21, LCA will also replace MiG-23 and MiG-27, also in service with the IAF.
Originally posted by Daedalus3
I wonder "what" 'edge' the FC-1 has over the LCA...
I think the MiG21 bis is comparable to the FC-1..
LCA is another story..
The MiG-21 forms 16 operational squadrons, in a number of variants, and is the ageing backbone of the Indian Air Force. 125 MiG-21bis are selected to be upgraded by MiG-MAPO and HAL. Reportedly another 50 aircraft will be upgraded, after the 125 initial order. The first two aircraft were upgraded in Russia, with the first test flight occurring in October 1998 and trials of the medium-range R-73RDM2 and the long-range R-77RVV-AE air-to-air missiles being conducted in February 1999. These two aircraft have returned to India and as of July 2001, four aircraft have been upgraded adding to the first two. Test flights began in June 2001, while HAL has confirmed that modernisation is taking place. All aircraft will be upgraded locally at HAL and will be completed by 2004. The aircraft will be designated by the IAF as the MiG-21 Bison.
The upgrade consists of Phazotron NIIR's Kopyo multimode, X-band pulse Doppler radar, new nosecone, new canopy, single-piece windshield and new canopy made of stressed acrylic composites, Sextant's TOTEM RLG-INS with NSS-100P GPS embedded GPS receivers, El-Op HUD, infrared search and track system (IRST) from Russia's URALs optical-mechanical plant, two Sextant MFD-55 LCD displays, autopilot, radar warning receivers (RWR), digital flight data recorder, new liquid air cooling system, HOTAS controls, a SURA helmet mounted sight, stores management system, digital air data computer system, short range radio navigation system, new HF/VHF/UHF radios, twin conformal Vympel flare dispensers (26mm, 120 rounds) and a new electric power supply system. Reportedly the new RWR to be fitted, is an indigenous system developed by DRDO and goes by the name Tarang. A modified version of this RWR will be used aboard the Su-30MKI.
The upgrade package was jointly developed and certified by the IAF, and Russia's Sokol Nizhny Novgorod aircraft building plant and the state-owned avionics testing & integration establishment. A Report on the induction of the Bison can be viewed
The first two aircraft were upgraded in Russia, with the first test flight occurring in October 1998 and trials of the medium-range R-73RDM2 and the long-range R-77RVV-AE air-to-air missiles being conducted in February 1999
The aircraft has 7 stores stations, including one under the fuselage, 4 under the wings, and 2 wingtip mounted, with up to 3,800kg weapon payload.
The aircraft is of beyond-vision-range (BVR) attack capability with the SD-10 medium-range air-to-air missile (MRAAM) developed by China Leihua Electronic Technology Research Institute (LETRI, also known as 607 Institute). The aircraft also carries two short-range AAMs on its wingtip-mounted launch rails. The options include U.S. AIM-9P and Chinese PL-6, PL-8, and PL-9.
The aircraft can carry a special pod allowing day/night delivery of laser-guided weapons. In addition, it can also carry unguided weapons such as iron bomb and unguided rocket launchers.
The avionics suite onboard the FC-1/JF-17 is said to be Chinese design, comprising a head-up display (HUD), infra-red search-and-track system, night-vision goggle capability and ring-laser gyro inertial navigation system with GPS input. To achieve better aerodynamic performance, the FC-1/Super-7 is also equipped with a digital dual fly-by-wire (FBW).
The fire-control radar is expected to be selected among Israeli Elta-2032, Italian FIAR Grifo S-7, and Russian Phazotron Kopyo. The JF-17 Thunder fighters in service with the PAF will be fitted with the Italian Grifo S-7 fire-control radar, which has 25 working modes and a non-break-down time of 200 hours. The radar is capable of look-down, shoot-down, as well as for ground strike, but lacks multi-targets tracing and attacking capability.
One Russian-made RD-93 turbofans, rated 49.4kN dry or 81.4kN with afterburning. China has reportedly imported five RD-93s from Russia to power the prototypes, but agreement of further purchase and re-export of the engine in together with the fighter aircraft has yet been reached. China may seek to power the aircraft with an indigenously-developed powerplant.