Forecasting Thunder: An overview of the JF-17 Block III

While the JF-17 has come of age in the combat theatre, it has yet to record any major successes in the export market. Sqn Ldr (Ret’d) Fahad Masood (MRAeS) charts the development of the light fighter and explores how the new Block III standard could help to expand the aircraft’s customer base in the coming years.

Pakistani JF-17 [SalmanFalconsPK]
A JF-17 Block I (serial 13-147) from No 2 (Multi-Role) Squadron ‘Minhasians’ departs PAF Base Samungli, Pakistan, to take part in a dissimilar air combat training exercise in 2021. SalmanFalconsPK

‘Scramble! Angels 1-4-0! Initial Vector 1-5-0!’ The command was still ringing in the pilot’s mind as he strapped into his Martin-Baker PK16LE ejection seat. He glanced through his custom-fitted helmet-mounted display (HMD) to confirm the removal of seeker covers of all the missiles on board his Block III JF-17. Two high-off boresight (HOBS) PL-10E shortrange infrared (IR)-homing air-to-air missiles (AAMs) on the side rails. Check. Four PL-15 active radar-guided long-range AAMs on multiple missile launchers (MMLs). Check.


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