PAC JF-17 Thunder, or CAC FC-1 Xiaolong (Fierce Dragon), is a light-weight,
single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by the Pakistan
Air Force, the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and the Chengdu Aircraft
Industries Corporation (CAC) of China. Its designation "JF-17 Thunder"
by Pakistan is short for "Joint Fighter-17", while the designation
"FC-1 Xiaolong" by China means "Fighter China-1 Fierce
Aeronautical Complex (PAC) holds the exclusive rights of 58% of JF-17
airframe co-production work. A comprehensive infrastructure comprising
state of the art machines and required skilled human resource has very
quickly been developed at the Complex. The final assembly and flight
testing of the aircraft was the first JF-17 co-production activity to
start at PAC. The first PAC produced aircraft was handed over to Pakistan
Air Force in November 2009. Since then, aircraft are being produced
regularly to meet the required schedule.
is only in service with the PAF: 50 aircrafts projected ( to an eventual
250 aircrafts final order).
only built 4 aircrafts for evaluation purposes.
of 2013 Argentina is said (according to IHS Janes) to discuss about
a joint-production deal with CAC for a local production of the FC-1.
Block I: first batch of aircraft produced in China
Block II: Ordered by the PAF in 2011 as a variant
with "enhanced features"
Block III: The block III will feature more advanced
avionics and engine. It will be a twin seat variant. Induction is
expected to start around 2016
airframe is of semi-monocoque structure, constructed primarily of aluminium
alloys. High strength steel and titanium alloys are partially adopted
in some critical areas. The airframe is designed for a service life
of 4,000 flight hours, or 25 years, the first overhaul being due at
1,200 flight hours.Block 2 JF-17s incorporate greater use of composite
materials in the airframe to reduce weight.The mid-mounted wings are
of cropped-delta planform. Near the wing root are the LERX, which generate
a vortex that has the effect of providing more lift to the wing at high
angles of attack encountered during combat manoeuvres. A conventional
tri-plane empennage arrangement is incorporated, with all-moving stabilators,
single vertical stabiliser and rudder, as well as twin ventral fins.
The flight control surfaces are operated by a computerised flight control
system (FCS), which also adjusts the slats/flaps for improved manoeuvring.
Up to 3,629 kg (8,000 lb) of ordnance, equipment and fuel can be mounted
under the hardpoints, two of which are on the wing-tips, four under
the wings and one under the fuselage. Two bifurcated air inlets, one
on either side of the fuselage behind and below the cockpit, provide
the engine's air supply. The position and shape of the inlets is designed
to give the required airflow to the jet engine during manoeuvres involving
high angles of attack. A DSI design is used to simultaneously prevent
boundary layer airflow entering the inlet and decelerate supersonic
The software written
for the JF-17's avionics totals more than one million lines of instructions,
incorporating the concept of open architecture. Rather than using
the Ada programming language, which is optimised for military applications,
the software is written using the popular civilian C++ programming
language to better use the large number of civilian software programmers
glass cockpit incorporates an electronic flight instrument system
(EFIS) and a wide-angle holographic head-up display (HUD), which has
a minimum total field of view of 25 degrees. The EFIS is made up of
three colour multi-function displays (MFD) providing basic flight
information, tactical information and information on the engine, fuel,
electrical, hydraulics, flight control and environment control systems.
The HUD and MFD can be configured by the pilot to show any of the
available information. Each MFD is 20.3 cm (8 in) wide and 30.5 cm
(12 in) tall, arranged side-by-side in a portrait orientation. The
central MFD is placed lower down to accommodate an up-front control
panel between it and the HUD. The aircraft also includes a health
and usage monitoring system and automatic test equipment.
The aircraft has
a composite FCS consisting of conventional controls with stability
augmentation in the yaw and roll axis and a digital fly-by-wire (FBW)
system in the pitch axis. The leading edge slats/flaps and trailing
edge flaps are adjusted by the FCS automatically during manoeuvring
to increase turning performance. Some sources state that the system
has been upgraded to provide fly-by-wire flight control in the roll
and yaw axis also, the serial production aircraft having a digital
quadruplex (quad-redundant) FBW system in the pitch axis and duplex
(dual-redundant) FBW system in the roll and yaw axis.
The JF-17 is powered
by a single Russian RD-93 turbofan engine, which is a variant of the
RD-33 engine used on the Mig-29 fighter. The engine gives more thrust
and significantly lower specific fuel consumption than the turbojet
engines fitted to older combat aircraft being replaced by the JF-17.
The Guizhou Aero
Engine Group has been developing a new turbofan engine, the WS-13
Taishan,Guizhou WS-13. Dry Thrust 51.2 kN / Thrust After Burner 86.37
The fuel system comprises internal fuel tanks located in the wings
and fuselage, with capacity for 2330 kg (5,130 lb) of fuel, that are
refuelled through a single point pressure refuelling system (see turbine
fuel systems). Internal fuel storage can be supplemented by external
fuel tanks. One 800 litre droptank can be mounted on the aircraft's
centerline hardpoint under the fuselage and two 800 litre or 1100
litre droptanks can be mounted on the two inboard under-wing hardpoints.
The fuel system is also compatible with in-flight refuelling (IFR),
allowing the aircraft to take on fuel from a tanker aircraft when
an IFR probe is installed and increasing its range and loitering time
significantly. All production aircraft for the Pakistan Air Force
are to be fitted with IFR probes
JF-17 can be armed
with up to 3,629 kg (8,000 lb) of air-to-air and air-to-ground weaponry,
as well as other equipment, mounted externally on the aircraft's seven
hardpoints. The under-fuselage and inboard under-wing hardpoints are
plumbed, enabling them to carry droptanks of various sizes for extra
Air to Air Missiles:
Short range infra-red homing missiles currently integrated include
the Chinese PL-5E and PL-9C, as well as the AIM-9L.
Underwing hardpoints can be fitted with multiple ejector racks, allowing
each hardpoint to carry two 500 lb (241 kg) unguided bombs or LGBs
(Mk.82 or GBU-12).Unguided air-to-ground weaponry includes rocket
pods, gravity bombs of various sizes and the Matra Durandal anti-runway
munitions. Precision-guided munitions such as LGBs and satellite-guided
bombs are also compatible with the JF-17, as are other guided weapons
such as anti-ship missiles (CM-400AKG) and anti-radiation missiles.
2011, it was reported that Pakistan has taken delivery of the Brazilian
MAR-1 anti-radiation missile and is integrating the weapon on its
23 mm GSh-23-2 twin-barrel cannon (can be replaced with 30 mm GSh-30-2)