JF-17 Thunder’s Block-3 multirole fighter aircraft will have its first flight before the end of 2019, according to sources. F-17 Block-3 fighters will likely to receive an improved electronic warfare system, upgraded avionics including a three-axis fly-by-wire digital flight control system, a helmet-mounted display and sight system, and Pakistan’s first Chinese-made active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system. Two such radar systems are currently under evaluation, according to the PAF’s Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan.
The aircraft is set to operationally station with the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in 2020 and a total of 50 planned JF-17 Block-3s will be integrated into service by 2024, revealed by the Air Chief.
The production of JF-17 Block-3 has already been started and reached to the final assembly line at the Aircraft Manufacturing Factory (AMF) at PAC Kamra.
“Production of subassemblies has already started for the first two 50 Block-3 aircraft, to be assembled next year, and will be followed by another 12 in 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024,” PAC chairman Air Marshall Ahmer Shahzad said.
“We will assemble eight dual-seaters this year, followed by 14 in 2020, and the remaining four in 2021,” he added.
The JF-17 was designed to replace the PAF’s aging fleet of F-7 and Mirage III fighter jets. The PAF currently has 90 plus JF-17 Block I and II operationally deployed in different squadrons, the number that is likely to expand up to 112. The PAF has also planned, a two-seat trainer variant of the JF-17 aircraft to be named as JF-17B.
Apart from the 50 planned JF-17 Block-3 aircraft, PAF is expected for the procurement of up to 26 of the Block-3, a two-seater version of the fighter jet.
The JF-17 also made its second-star appearance at this year’s Paris Air Show. Apart from the static display, the PAC manufactured fighter also presented aerobatics performance.
The participation of the PAF’s JF-17 in the renowned air show of the world has proved to be an excellent opportunity for Pakistan Air force to reveal it’s over the edge capabilities and an opportunity reveal the potential of our fighter jet to the international arms market.