Pakistan Air Force has recently launched the fourth generation fighter jet programs and the newest JF-17 Thunder was, fortunately, part of such a successful program. India and Israel program Lavi and Tejas failed but China in collaboration with China was able to activate a successful launch.
Experts believe that JF-17 Thunder was need of the hour since Su-30MKI, the Indian jet was an issue and a fighter jet with a heavier air superiority was a top priority. The arch-foes always are in competition to maintain air superiority.
The previous version of JF-17 block II had the same capabilities as that of F-16 C like aerial warfare and weapon carrying capacity was not different. However, F-16 is more expensive to maintain. More so, F-16 lacks modern warfare sensors, electronic warfare systems, avionics, and air to air fighting capability. How is JF-17 Block III the showstopper? It is because it has a number of modifications which makes it worthy of applause. Here are a few of them:
It has a more updated engine which is the Chinese WS-13 engine. The old engine was using a turbofan engine.
JF-17 Block III variant can surpass the speed of Mach 2 which is almost 2470 km/h.
The avionics of this masterpiece are magnificent. It has a special helmet-mounted display (HMD) and there is an internal infrared search and tracking (IRST) system. There is a new single panel multifunctional display accompanied by a full glass cockpit.
Pakistan held negotiations with British and Italian defense firms specifically for radars in the development of JF-17. There are three options for the radar which are Italian Galileo Avionica’s Grifo S7 the French Thomson-CSF’s RC400 (a variant of the RDY-2), and the British company SELEX Galileo’s Vixen 500E active electronically scanned array (AESA). This helps the JF-17 Block III maintain a beyond visual range combat capabilities. The new jamming function can make the jet undetected for hours.
Pakistan after this initiative has taken the next step of developing the fifth generation state-of-the-art technology which can help them maintain air superiority. For now, only the US, China, and Russia have developed fifth-generation jets.