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Q n A from JF-17 Project Manager

by on 06/01/2009


Q. Has PAF carried out an assessment of the training-requirements for induction of JF-17 aircraft? How will they be met?

A. So far the PAF has not chalked out any training programme for its pilots on JF-17 aircraft. However, owing to the excellent man- machine interface of JF-17 aircraft,

it can be assumed with confidence that the training for flying this aircraft would neither be difficult nor a complex affair. Reports from the Chinese and PAF test pilots in China also confirm the fact that JF-17 is a pilot-friendly and easy aircraft to fly. Since training to fly the JF-17 aircraft would not be time consuming and induction of the aircraft in PAF is still two years away, therefore, it is a little premature to chalk-out the training plan.


Q. How will PAF conduct acceptance of JF-17 aircraft from the manufacturer i.e. what does it involve?

A. PAF will not only be the user but also the manufacturer of JF-17 aircraft. Therefore, manufacturing and production process of JF-17 aircraft would be monitored and controlled by PAF from the very beginning. Since PAF is a quality conscious organisation, therefore, highest standards of quality will be ensured at all tiers of production. Nevertheless, after the completion of manufacturing and assembly processes, elaborate ground and flight tests would still be conducted on all the newly manufactured JF-17 aircraft at PAC Kamra, before they are handed over to the fighter squadrons. For this purpose, a modern computerised ‘flight test centre’ is being established at PAC Kamra.

Such exhaustive ‘quality control’ and ‘quality assurance’ measures would certainly ensure a high quality of the product. Nevertheless, before flying the aircraft to the fighter bases, teams from operational squadrons of the PAF, comprising pilots, engineers, and technicians would also be asked to carry out ‘ground acceptance tests’ on the aircraft when it is handed over to them. Additionally, these pilots would also fly ‘Functional Check Flights’ to re-assure themselves of the satisfactory functioning of all the aircraft systems and sub-systems.

Q. Will JF-17 (or its variant) be used in the naval role.

A. Yes, JF-17 is an all-weather, multi-role combat aircraft, which can be effectively used against almost all types of targets including those at sea. Therefore, the aircraft will be appropriately configured to effectively undertake the maritime operations as well. For this purpose, it is being equipped with a modern radar, which would have good performance against all types of targets even during bad weather, rough sea-states and EW environments. The aircraft is also being equipped with an auto-pilot, accurate navigation system, and other avionics systems, which are installed in any modern aircraft to ensure efficient day / night operations over the sea. In its weapons package, the aircraft is being equipped with modern anti-shipping missiles and anti-radiation missiles, in addition to the general-purpose bombs and LASER guided bombs. These capabilities would certainly make JF-17 aircraft a potent weapon system, which can be effectively used for all type of missions over the sea.

Q. Can your provide some details about JF-17’s avionics and weapon suite?

A. JF-17 aircraft will have a modern avionics architecture, which will be supported by two mission computers, ‘Smart Multi Function Coloured Displays’, ‘Smart Heads Up Display’, ICP and HOTAS arrangement. These features will provide an excellent man-machine-interface to the pilot in a complete glass-cockpit environment. In the avionics layout, mechanical sub-systems of the aircraft will also be interfaced to provide automatic monitoring of almost all the aircraft sub-systems. In case of a malfunction in any of the aircraft sub-systems, the onboard computers will provide fault analysis, warning and guidance to the pilot.

The aircraft will have a modern powerful radar, which will have excellent performance in air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-sea modes. A ‘tactical data link’ system, which will be integrated with the other air-borne and ground-based sensors, will also be available to provide comprehensive ‘situational awareness’ to the pilot. The aircraft will also be equipped with IRSTS, CLDP, and Helmet Mounted Display to provide all weather operations capability in all types of environments. The navigation system of the aircraft will be based on the Ring LASER gyro which would be coupled with the GPS.

For providing qualitative operational training, the aircraft will also be equipped with ACMI, Solid State Digital Data/ Video Recorder and the DTC, whereas TACAN, ILS etc will also be available for efficient and safe aircraft operations at night and during bad weather conditions. For its self-protection, the aircraft will have an Integrated Counter Measure System, which would automatically operate to ward –off different types of threats by employing CFD and ECM pod. The ICMS will get its update from the RWR, MAWS and other sensors. Two independent high-performance wide-band radios alongwith an independent data link will ensure efficient communication even during intense EW environments. In short, JF-17 aircraft will have a highly modern avionics suite, which will certainly provide the cutting- edge to the aircraft.

Q. Currently, the JF-17 prototypes are equipped with a mix of hydraulic and FBW system. Will the production models retain this unique system or will they be equipped with a complete FBW system?

A. The flight controls of JF-17 aircraft are commanded through six computers and operated by two hydraulic systems. The six ‘flight control computers’ have a lot of redundancy within themselves, therefore, the aircraft would keep flying normally, even if couple of computers fail. This redundancy is a common feature of almost all the fly-by-wire control systems in the world. However, a unique feature of JF-17 aircraft is that it can fly like a conventional aircraft even when all its flight control computers fail. This arrangement is an added safety feature, which provides an additional advantage to the aircraft without any adverse effects. Therefore, it would be retained in the serial production aircraft as well.

Q. When will Pakistan get its first aircraft for evaluation and training?

A. Pakistani test pilots and test-engineers are already involved in the complete flight testing and evaluation phase of JF-17 aircraft in China . Therefore, these tests will not be repeated in Pakistan. The small-batch or the pilot-batch production would start in the middle of 2004 and PAF would get its first aircraft in the second half of the Year-2006.

Q. What is the final number of JF-17s to be procured? Is it still 150 aircraft or has the number been raised due to the failure in procuring the 4th generation fighter?

A. Before answering the question, it would be appropriate to clarify the fact that PAF has not failed in procuring the hi-tech aircraft. As a matter of fact, PAF is only keeping its options open for the time being, for procurement of such an aircraft. As far as the JF-17 is concerned, the number and induction schedule of this aircraft in PAF would be regulated according to the operational requirements of the service. Therefore, there is a lot of flexibility in the induction schedule and the total number of aircraft, which would be acquired by the PAF over the years. In the same context, it would be appropriate to mention that JF-17’s manufacturing facilities will have enough capacity to meet the domestic as well as foreign customer’s demands, simultaneously. Hence, lack of production capacity would never become a factor in the induction of a required number of JF-17 aircraft in the PAF.

Q. When will the dual-seat JF-17 aircraft be produced and what will be the ratio of these aircraft in PAF’s JF-17 fleet vis-à-vis single-seat aircraft?

A. Presently, the Project is concentrating on timely serial production of single seat JF-17 aircraft. Since an urgent requirement for production of a dual-seat model does not exist, therefore, the schedule for serial production of dual-seat aircraft has not been determined as yet. For the same reason, the ratio of dual-seat aircraft versus single-seat aircraft in PAF’s JF-17 fleet has also not been finalized as yet.

Q. Will the first batch of JF-17s be equipped with an in-flight refuelling system? Will in-flight refuelling be based on a buddy refuelling system or will a tanker fleet be actually required?

A. The serial production of JF-17 aircraft will have the air-to-air refueling capability, but the initial batch of these aircraft will not have the air-to-air refueling kit installed on them. Nevertheless, basic design of all the JF-17 aircraft fulfils all the essential requirements for providing air-to-air refuelling capability. Therefore, by simple modification of an air-to-air refueling kit, the first batch of aircraft will also be modified for the air-to-air refueling capability.

Buddy refueling is a good option, but in many tactical situations, the need for a tanker aircraft cannot be ignored. Therefore, acquisition of tanker aircraft is a natural requirement for any Air Force, which desires to have the air-to-air refueling capability on its fighter fleet.

One Comment
  1. Nice article! 🙂

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