A wide range of news articles has been circling this sensational vehicle recently. With rumors of a new and stronger engine coming out soon, this aircraft deserves all the attention it’s getting so far. In this article, you’ll get to know the top 5 facts about the JF-17 Thunder. Hence, check the details below.
1. FOURTH GENERATION AIRCRAFT
The JF-17 was a collaborative effort from Pakistan and China, and China then renamed it Chengdu FC-1 Fierce Dragon. This fighter jet took its first flight on August 25, 2013. Since then, it has been the pride of the Pakistan Air Force.
This fighter jet runs on a Klimov RD-93 turbofan engine that produces a dry thrust of 49.4 kN. It also weighs about 6,411 kg, impressively reaching Mach 1.6 or a maximum speed of 1,909 km/hour. All of these for the reasonable price of 25 million USD per unit for the latest JF-17 Thunder.
2. AIRCRAFT FUNCTIONS
The roles of the JF-17 Thunder are for aerial reconnaissance, ground attack, and aircraft interception. An article written by Dung Tran for military-wiki.com said that the JF-17 is made to last a service life of 4,000 flight hours.
It is also designed in a way that it could carry 4.6 tons of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons. Another feature of this aircraft is its state-of-the-art cockpit, including a 32-bit weapon and a mission management computer. It also has three multifunctional displays (MFD), a head-up display (HUD), and in between those displays is an additional Up-Front Control Panel (UFCP) to overcome fog-up error that usually occurs in environments that are humid, subtropical, and tropical, according to crewdaily.com.
3. AIRCRAFT VARIANTS
In total, three variants of the JF-17 thunder are operational at this time. There’s a single-seated JF-17 Block 1 and the single and dual-seated JF-17 block 2. Another one is the JF-17 Ruby, which is exclusive to Myanmar Air Force. Then, last December 2020, the Pakistan Air Force announced a new variant, the JF-17 Block 3.
According to The Frontier Post, the new variant will be the most advanced variant of the JF-17. It will focus on cutting-edge aerospace technologies to enable the Pakistan Air Force to maintain the vehicle’s lethality and reduce threats from enemy forces. It will also be featuring upgraded engines, a newly-designed cockpit, and a new radar.
4. AIRCRAFTS COMPARISON
With the announcement of block 3, its comparisons with other fighter aircraft were non-avoidable. An article from globalsecurity.org reported that Wei Dongxu, a military analyst based in Beijing, told the Global Times that this JF-17 Block 3 could match an improved version of the F-16 Fighting Falcon. To give you an idea, the latest F-16 right now has advanced features and configurations that can operate until the year 2060.
Another highly expected comparison came from Geo News, comparing the new variant to Indian Air Force’s Dassault Rafale. The report stated that the production of the JF-17 Block 3 certainly meant that India’s Rafale jets wouldn’t be a threat as lethal as before to Pakistan Air Force. It’s because of the upgraded PL-15 missile that is radar-guided and has a more extended range than their previous rocket, which has caused anxiety in the IAF, according to globalvillagespace.com.
5. POWERFUL AND DEADLY
However, like every other fighter jet, the JF-17 thunder is no stranger to accidents too. On November 14, 2011, Pilot Muhammad Hussain was flying in the mountains of Attock District in Pakistan when he encountered a technical malfunction that forced him to eject from the aircraft. Still, his parachute failed to open, unfortunately killing him, recording the first crash of the aircraft.
Two more accidents followed in September 2016 and September 2020 when both pilots ejected safely. What makes the JF-17 Thunder stand out right now against other powerful jets is it’s deadly but straightforward overall build, and moving on into the future, it will only get better.
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