Tag Archives: JF-17

Tejas debuts in Bahrain, battles Thunder

The Indian made Tejas fighter jet is all set for its international airshow debut these days during the Bahrain International Airshow starting Thursday 21 January. The type is engaged in a fierce battle with the Pakistan-made JF-17 Thunder, albeit a virtual one thanks to the virtues of social media. Both sides have battling it out for weeks already.

Two Tejas jets arrived at Bahrain’s Sakhir airbase on 14 January and started orientation flights. The Tejas – powered by a GE F404-IN20 turbofan – was designed and produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) but even after decades of development and testing fails to meet Indian Air Force expectations. An improved ‘Mark 2’ version – featuring the more powerful F414 engine – will probably never see the light of day.

It’s appearance in Bahrain most likely is the result of Pakistan’s recent success in selling it’s JF-17 Thunder abroad. Nigeria is expecting three to be delivered this year and Myanmar is also a rumoured customer.  No JF-17 is scheduled to appear in Bahrain, however. Powering the Thunder is the Russian designed Klimov RD-93 engine.

JF17_Thunder_PakistanAF

Sri Lanka

More recently, a Pakistani campaign to sell JF-17 Thunders to Sri Lanka – that other neighbour to India – infuriated New Delhi. After days of confusing news, Indian media proudly reported New Delhi has prevented the deal from happening and also stated the Tejas was now on offer to Sri Lanka.

It is safe to say Sri Lanka would prefer the JF-17 Thunder, a joint undertaking by Pakistan and China that has resulted in a reasonably advanced, capable and affordable alternative to expensive Western and Russian  fighter aircraft. It could very likely sell to other customers  as well.

Any foreign sale of Tejas jets however is as unlikely as…. well, India buying the JF-17. The program is too troubled for any foreign nation to be interested in. Displaying the aircraft in Bahrain is a matter of politics and prestige, not economics.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured Image: The Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (Image © Hindustan Aeronautics Limited)

‘Sri Lanka signs for JF-17’ – Nigeria named as first customer

UPDATED 6 January | Sri Lanka is said to have signed up for at least eight Pakistani-made JF-17 Thunder fighter jets. A memorandum of understanding was signed on Tuesday 5 January during a visit to Sri Lanka by Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif , confirming earlier rumours about an imminent deal.

Update | The first export customer for the JF-17 Thunder now appears to be Nigeria and not Myanmar, as reported earlier. Nigeria expects delivery of three Thunders this year, records in the country show.

The Thunders wil almost surely replace obsolete MiG-23 and MiG-27 fighter jets. Next to those, the Sri Lanka Air Force currently also operates Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Kfir and Chinese made Shenyang F-7 fighter jets.

In afterburner, the RD-93 mounted in the JF-17 delivers 18,920 lb of thrust. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
In afterburner, the RD-93 mounted in the JF-17 delivers 18,920 lb of thrust. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

India: opposed

Neighbouring India is said to oppose the deal between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. India had hopes to sell its indigenous Tejas jet to Sri Lanka and incidentally on Tuesday 5 January announced that aircraft’s international airshow debut at the Bahrain Air Show later this month.

Export customer

The apparent deal in Sri Lanka marks the second export success for the JF-17 Thunder. Last June, another foreign customer was announced at the Paris Air Show. On 6 January 2016, Nigeria revealed itself as that foreign costumer.

The JF-17 Thunder is the result of a joint program by Pakistan and China. In the latter, the same aircraft is designated Chengdu FC-1. Pakistan recently celebrated a milestone in the program.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A JF-17 Thunder takes to the sky. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

 

 

Pakistan completes 4th JF-17 Thunder squadron

Pakistan can rely on four fully equipped JF-17 Thunder squadrons following the handover of the 16th Block II JF-17 to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), sources in Pakistand said on Tuesday 29 december. The aircraft was rolled out at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) in the presence of Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman.

The Pakistan Air Force has been flying the JF-17 Thunder since 2007. The fighter jet is a joint undertaking by Pakistan and China, with PAC holding the exclusive rights of 58 percent of airframe co-production work.

More advanced

The first locally produced aircraft was handed over to the PAF in November 2009. Since then, PAC has assembled 66 Thunders, with 50 of those being of the less-advanced Block-I variant. Production of the newer Block-II variant started in 2014. It offers more advanced weapons systems and avionics.

In afterburner, the RD-93 mounted in the JF-17 delivers 18,920 lb of thrust. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
In afterburner, the RD-93 mounted in the JF-17 delivers 18,920 lb of thrust. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Export order

A Thunder two seater variant is still under development. Meanwhile, Malaysia was reported to be interested in aqcuiring the type, but those rumours were denied in Kuala Lumpur. More recently, Pakistan is targeting an order from Sri Lanka.

During the Partis Air Show in June, the first export order for the JF-17 Thunder was announced. The customer was never mentioned but on 6 January 2016, Nigeria revealed it is expecting three JF-17s to be delivered in 2016.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

Recap: defense orders at Paris Air Show

UPDATED 19 June | As always its the orders for airliners that fight for attention at the Paris Air Show, but on the military side, things are happening as well. Most interesting little fact was the apparent first export order – announced on Monday – for the Pakistan-made JF-17 Thunder, although no country was mentioned. Let’s not be surprised however when it turns out to be Myanmar.

Pakistan Air Force officials only described the country that soon may add the JF-17 to its military inventory, as ‘Asian’. The same officials reported that current turmoil in the Middle East has slowed down export talks. The JF-17’s development meanwhile continues, with a possible two seat version on the way.

On the slower spectrum, Mali and Ghana agreed to buy six and five A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft respectively, while Saudi Arabia signed for four Airbus C295W medium transport and patrol aircraft. Perhaps the most prominent deal was the purchase of four Boeing C-17s for the Qatar Emiri Air Force.

As far as helicopters are concerned, Malaysia placed an order with Airbus Helicopters for two AS365 Dauphins for SAR duties.

Unnoticed by many was the first sale for Aero Vodochody of its new L-39NG aircraft. More on that is here.

Flying
Dassault’s Rafale was the most numerous aircraft. Three Rafales were on the ground, while a fourth gave a flying display. In the trade halls, models of Rafales in the colours of Qatar, India and Egypt were seen. Given the recent orders from those countries, further Rafale sales are unlikely.

Also in the halls, Alenia Aermacchi was pitching its M-345 jet trainer. France is reportedly interested in this trainer aircraft. Elsewhere, Antonov was pitching its new An178 transporter. The Ukrainian company also announced the An188, a military transport aircraft in the A400M and Boeing C-17 category, powered by four turbofan engines.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): Caught by its tail: a Black Panther’s JF-17 from Pakistan. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

Stealing Thunder: Paris preview

UPDATED 10 June | One week prior to the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, it’s clear that Pakistan stole everybody’s thunder by sending over three JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft. The aircraft left Pakistan for France on Sunday 7 June. Le Bourget kicks off on Monday 15 June, with other high lights being the Bombardier CSeries and a sizable delegation from both Boeing and – remarkably – Qatar Airways.

Update 10 June: Airbus has confirmed an Airbus A400M will take part in the flying display. The company says it has complete confidence in the aircraft

The JF-17 is a joint endeavour by Pakistan and China, both already operating significant numbers of the type, although the Chinese prefer to call it the JC-1. Several countries have shown interest in the type, Argentina reportedly being one of them. One JF-17 will be on static display at Le Bourget, while the other two will be used for a solo flying display.

Bombardier
The Paris Air Show marks the debut of the Bombardier CS100 and CS300 airliners, both still in development and in need of customers. Swiss was officialy announced as launch customer for the CS100 earlier this year, with deliveries commencing no sooner than next year.

First flight of the Bombardier CSseries on September 16, 2013 (Image © Bombardier Aerospace)
First flight of the Bombardier CSseries on September 16, 2013 (Image © Bombardier Aerospace)

Boeing
On the military side of things, Boeing will bring a CH-47F Chinook, P-8A Poseidon and F-15E to Paris. The no-show of the F/A-18 Super Hornet is noteworthy, as the type is rumoured to have drawn interest from Kuwait. Other sources mention Kuwait is now eyeing the Eurofighter Typhoon, however. The P-8A is a serious contender for the UK, with an order on the cards in the not too distant future. Boeing will also present a 787-900 Dreamliner in Vietnam Airlines colours, plus a China Airlines 777-300ER.

For the US, an A-10C Thunderbolt tank killer should also pay a visit to Le Bourget. The type is currently deployed in Europe and the focus of a Boeing-effort of selling used airframes to interested nations.

(Image © Boeing)
Boeing sends one 787-9. Qatar Airways however also has a Dreamliner in display in Paris. (Image © Boeing)
Final approach at Spangdahlem of one of a dozen A-10s the USAF sent to Europe in light of Russia rising (Image © Dennis Spronk)
One of a dozen A-10s the USAF sent to Europe in light of Russia rising (Image © Dennis Spronk)

Airbus
Closer to home, Airbus is dispatching a A350XWB and an A380 to Le Bourget. It is uncertain if the Airbus A400M will be present at all after the fatal crash on 9 May in Seville, Spain. Airbus Helicopters will show a lot of its portfolio during the show

The Russians stear well clear of this year’s airshow.  Ukrainian aircraft designer Antonov is taking the opportunity to present its new An-178, only a month after the type’s first flight.

Qatar
Quite remarkable is the presence of Qatar Airways at Le Bourget with an Airbus A380, A350, A320, A319 and a 787 Dreamliner. The major delegation fits into the current aggressive Qatar Airways marketing in Europe, which many European airlines see as a major threath to their business. It is said the recent order for 24 Dassault Rafale aircraft has opened many French doors for Qatar – the door of the Paris Air Show apparently being one of those doors.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): Noisy Thunder. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

(Image © Airbus)
(Image © Airbus)