JF 17: The Show Stealer

By Raja G Mujtaba

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JF 17 is one aircraft that has fascinated me so much that I am never tired of writing about it. It has put Pakistan in a selective group of those countries who have the capacity to produce their own aircraft. Although it’s a joint venture with China but in its development, Pakistan Air Force over the years played a pivotal role. Initially it was designed and developed purely for Pakistan Air Force but later seeing its performance and potential, the Chinese Air Force also showed a keen interest and desire to acquire it.

JF 17 is a ‘JEWEL IN THE SKY’ and pride of the nation that has moved from stage to stage leaving behind a trail of success stories. Production of such a class aircraft and that too in a very short time has given PAC an edge over our adversaries in the region. ScreenHunter_30 Dec. 17 11.41

This aircraft is being equipped with the latest avionics and armament systems that can outclass many a high-tech aircraft that are far more expensive to acquire and maintain. In JF 17, Pakistan has found a very cost effective solution that also suits other countries that have budgetary constraints. If marketed professionally, even the developed countries are likely to acquire it for it would help them save on their resources that they may like to divert in other avenues.

Its appearance at Dubai was not the first one. In ea showed up yet again at Dubai Air Show of 2013 where “THE PRIDE OF PAKISTAN” JF-17 THUNDER CONTINUED TO ATTRACT THE CROWD IN large numbers.

JF-17 Thunder, “A Jewel In The Sky” won a big applause by a huge audience and attracted a large crowd at Dubai Air Show-2013. The pilot of the JF-17 Thunder outstandingly manoeuvred the aircraft. The pilot took it high up on the tail and rolled it which was greatly appreciated by all present on the occasion. After the much appreciated manoeuvres of JF-17 Thunder, Super Mushshak also rolled in the sky demonstrating one of the best manoeuvres among the world renowned companies showcasing in Dubai Air Show.

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This is the first time that PAF JF-17 Thunder pilot introduced a new set of manoeuvres in aerobatics sequence which not only was lauded by the international spectators at Dubai Air Show-2013 but also the participating pilots of leading Air Forces personally appreciated JF-17 pilot performance.

The JF-17 Thunder jointly co-developed (by PAF & CATIC), and co-produced by PAC (Pakistan Aeronautical Complex) and CATIC (China Aero-technology Import Export Corporation) has been put up for static as well as aerial display in the Dubai Air Show 2013.

More than 200 companies from all over the world are displaying their aviation products and aircraft. Amongst the 150 aircraft which are on display at the Air Show, JF-17 Thunder stands out due to its agility and lethality. The manoeuvring and performance of JF-17 Thunder aircraft has been witnessed along with UAE aerobatics team Al Fursan and the Red Arrows team.

Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt, Chief of Air the Staff, Pakistan Air Force was among 33 Air Chiefs who participated in the International Air Chiefs Conference held in Dubai. The Air Chief was among the few privileged speakers, to address the selected audience from around the globe.  Air Chief presented his personal vision on the integration of this new concept and it’s far reaching implications on the employment of air power. While dwelling upon the topic, Air Chief shared the PAF experience of networking usefulness during current operations against miscreants. He also stressed that Pakistan has offered great sacrifices for the peace and prosperity of the World.

His visit coincides with Pakistan’s Pride JF-17 Thunder’s second appearance at the bi-yearly International Dubai Air Show. Being a technologically driven air force, the Pakistan Air Force keeps pace with the requirements and emerging trends of modern warfare.  Networking in modern warfare is a force multiplier. Air Chief also referred Dubai Air Show event as good opportunity for JF-17 marketing and exposure to the World. He highlighted the JF-17 features as it offers cutting edge technologies at affordable cost.

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During the conference, the Air Chief also met with chiefs of other air forces and leading dignitaries to discuss professional matters.  The Air Chief will be visiting the Dubai Air Show, which starts tomorrow.

JF 17 Armed With CM-400AKG Carrier Killer Missile:

Jf-17's CM-400AKG Hypersonic Aircraft Carrier Killer MissileChina developed and deployed it’s “Carrier Killer Missile” in 2009. As analyst Raymond Pritchett notes in a post on the U.S. Naval Institute blog:

“The Navy’s reaction is telling, because it essentially equals a radical change in direction based on information that has created a panic inside the bubble. For a major military service to panic due to a new weapon system, clearly a mission kill weapon system, either suggests the threat is legitimate or the leadership of the Navy is legitimately unqualified. There really aren’t many gray spaces in evaluating the reaction by the Navy…the data tends to support the legitimacy of the threat.”

Based on this knowhow, CM-400AKG JF-17 specific has been developed. Its lethal that it can break the backbone of any navy that confronts Pakistan in hostilities.

The CM-400AKG is a Mach 4 plus-capable air-to-surface weapon developed in China and now in service with JF-17 fighter aircraft of the Pakistan Air Force. The weapon, designated CM-400AKG, was designed and developed in China by the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) and was revealed at Air Show China 2012, held in Zhuhai in November.

The CM-400AKG is now part of the operational weapon set of the PAF’s JF-17 Thunder multirole fighter. “This is a mature weapon that has been fully tested. It is not conceptual. It is in service,” Air Commodore Mahmood Khalid, PAF JF-17 Deputy Project Director stated. “The CM-400AKG is a very high-speed missile that is very tough to intercept. It hits the target at Mach 4 or above and its kinetic impact alone is enough to destroy any high-value target, like an aircraft carrier.”

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The CM-400AKG is a 400 kg solid-rocket-powered weapon that can be fitted with either a penetrator or blast/fragmentation warhead. It is a fire-and-forget precision-guided weapon that can be fitted with several seeker options, which are understood to include an active radar seeker and an imaging infrared seeker with target-recognition (TR) capabilities. PAF sources say the missile can be pre-programmed with digital imagery for highly precise attacks against fixed sites in TR mode, but it can also be retargeted in flight by using the radar seeker option.

The range of the CM-400AKG is estimated to be in the 180-250 km class. It is designed for use against fixed or what were described as “slow moving” targets. CASIC data indicates that after launch the CM-400AKG climbs to high altitude and terminates with a high-speed dive on the target. The PAF describes the missile’s impact velocity as “hypersonic” (> Mach 5).

Both CASIC and the PAF note that the CM-400AKG has been developed as a JF-17 Aircraft carrier killer weapon. The PAF currently has two squadrons of approximately 36 JF-17s operational. ScreenHunter_31 Dec. 17 11.42

This weapon system would surely give shudders to the Indian Navy Commanders before bringing out their aircraft carriers in the open sea.

JF 17, is going to be the main stay of Pakistan Air Force for a long time to come; in the meantime, it can be said with certainty that some new weapon system or its derivates must be on the anvil.