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Analysis: PAF's Fighter Modernization Roadmap (Part-1)

Super Falcon

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Old F-16s come in various forms. For example, the ADFs the PAF acquired from Jordan are capable of using the AMRAAM. Second, the PAF already has a solid fleet of BVR capable fighters, e.g. the JF-17 Block-I and Block-II, as well as the F-16 Block-52+ and MLU. These used F-16s are there to basically plugin the short-fall in basic air defence duties and maintain numbers.

The purpose behind getting the used F-16s is to enable the PAF to easily phase out a large bunch of old airframes, and to do it very cheaply (i.e. maybe for $5-6mn a plane). So that fits within the PAF's budget constraints and it is considerably cheaper than going the J-10 route.

Moreover, these used F-16s will be holding the spot until such time additional JF-17s roll-out of PAC. After 2020 we're talking about Block-IV, Block-V, etc. So instead of spending a lot of money on J-10, the PAF is spending very little money on the F-16s, and it is deferring most of its funds back into JF-17.

How is this a bad thing?
So after u get all JF 17 till 2020 what u do to these old F 16 pak is not in such rush of Jets like F 16 Since we already have that type of jet not going to make any significant difference in sharpening PAF paf always beat drums of lesser funds even misusing 1 million on rusted airframe is crimnal act with downed economy as we know it will remain same instead of wasting 6 mill on 1 jet it makes almost 30 mill of all used F 16 if we keep that money and build more money in next 4 years we can easily have money to buy any air superiority jet which we lack
 
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I fully understand why the PAF is in so much shit these days, its completely understandable if you think about it.
i can understand the reluctance to buy the J-10, back in 2005, the J-10 wasn't an advanced fighter jet it only became an advanced fighter plane recently with the B and C version. why the hell invest into a fighter plane which is an unknown commodity(not battle tested and is China first attempt at a 4th generation fighter) below the level of your own premier fighter. Perhaps a wiser option would have been to buy the J-10 and try and customize it with western avionics, but this in itself would have taken time, and would the chinese allow NATO members near there own plane?
the problem today is that the PAF had few options in the 2000s(the investment for an advanced plane should have been made during this period), the americans only came to the table for the F-16s in 2005, Russia had enormous contempt against pakistan until recently, the french and the EU would never have sold the EF-2000 or the Rafale to Pakistan, The only leaves pakistan with the option of buying flankers from china which have a russian engine and india operates better versions of it.
My issue with the PAF is that there getting played badly by the US with the F-16s, 600 million USD, even if it is from the FMF is a joke, given the fact that pakistan already paid for 28 F-16s which were never delivered.
the egyptian airforce have something like 240 f-16s all paid through the FMF, (although these fighter jets have no BVR capability), Pakistan should have asked the U.S. For atleast 30 of these planes plus additional spare parts and airframes.
 
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Quwa

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Part 2

Analysis: Pakistan’s Fighter Modernization Roadmap (Part 2)

ANALYSIS: PAKISTAN’S FIGHTER MODERNIZATION ROADMAP (PART 2)
A look at how the JF-17 will form the mainstay of the PAF fighter fleet

24 February 2016

By Bilal Khan

Monday’s article took a look at how the F-16 will continue forming an integral piece of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF)’s modernization roadmap, at least for the next several years (up to 2020). Today’s piece will review the JF-17 and its role in forming the mainstay of the PAF fighter fleet, not only in terms of the upcoming Block-III, but beyond as well. We will also take a look at how the PAF’s next-generation fighter plans will move forward, especially with regards to the eventual need of replacing the F-16A/B airframes.

The JF-17 is the PAF’s emerging mainstay fighter. One of the central aims of the JF-17 program is to widely diffuse modern air warfare capabilities, such as beyond-visual-range air-to-air warfare and precision air-to-surface strike, to the entirety of the PAF fighter fleet. At present, the PAF is busy with the induction of the Block-II, which offers numerous improvements (namely in terms of on-board avionics) over the Block-I. As of today, the JF-17 is in use with three operational fighter squadrons (No. 2, No. 16 and No. 26).

The next developmental milestone will center on the much anticipated Block-III, which is expected to incorporate an AESA [active electronically-scanned array] radar, HMD/S [helmet-mounted display and sight] system, and potentially even IRST [infrared search and track]. For an understanding as to how these specific subsystems will benefit the JF-17, be sure to refer to Quwa’s previous articles (here and here). But in general terms, the integration of these subsystems will offer a significant overall boost to the JF-17, especially in terms of its capacity to operate in dense electronic warfare (EW) environments.

With the JF-17 in mind, one might ask why the PAF is still looking towards the F-16. When looking at this question (which is valid), there are several issues to keep in mind. First, the PAF has seemingly earmarked a relatively large number of legacy F-7s and Mirage III/5 for retirement by 2020. At a present production-rate of 16 aircraft per year, and that too with no guarantee of an increase in the short-term (given Pakistan’s structural economic problems), the JF-17 alone will not be able to support the PAF’s short-term acquisition needs.

Unfortunately, acquiring aircraft off-the-shelf from abroad is also not an option. Simply put, the PAF does not have the financial bandwidth to easily induct another platform, and it will not commit to the J-10 when in reality is simply another medium-weight fighter. In other words, if it were to invest in another platform (in the short and medium-term), it will have to be something that offers a significant capability boost to the current fleet. Besides a handful of new-built F-16s, the PAF will pursue used F-16s via the Excess Defence Articles program and from third-party air forces. If not upgraded, these used F-16s could be had for a very low cost. The PAF would simply need these airframes to quickly replace aged F-7s and Mirages, i.e. plugin quantitative short-falls and serve as a stopgap until a sufficient number of JF-17s are built.

It is important to understand that the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and the PAF will continue developing the JF-17 over the long-term, well beyond 2020. In other words, while the PAF may not acquire more than 150 JF-17s by 2020, it will acquire a significant number – potentially 250-275 – over the lifespan of the design. Moreover, JF-17 production will continue to be done through “blocks” whereby future batches will be developed in accordance with the technological trends of the day. For example, the Block-III is poised to embrace today’s mainstreaming of AESA radars, a future Block-IV could adopt shifts specific to post-2025. The PAF may even attempt a re-design of the airframe with the aim of increasing the JF-17’s range, payload, and survivability, much like how Saab re-designed the Gripen into the Gripen NG [Next Generation], or Lockheed Martin with the F-16A/B, which was evolved into the F-16C/D.

In time, the F-16s – especially the original Block-15s acquired in the 1980s – will need to be replaced. The PAF’s next-generation fighter program will likely be aimed at coinciding with that event. At this stage, the PAF will most likely pursue the Chinese FC-31, especially from the standpoint of controlling costs, by-passing possible problems with Western vendors, and having the maximum possible flexibility in influencing the design of the platform. Although China did present a proof-of-concept through the J-31 prototype, the FC-31 is still in the infancy of its development. In fact, during the 2015 Dubai Air Show, AVIC announced that it was seeking a partner to help fund the program.

With replacing the F-16 in mind, the FC-31 could basically emerge as the PAF’s next mainstay medium-weight fighter. The twin-engine configuration and potentially larger airframe could enable the fighter to take on a very powerful sensor-suite, i.e. high-powered AESA radar, integrated IRST, and electro-optical targeting system (EOTS – an integrated targeting-pod for air-to-ground missions). The airframe may even be able to incorporate a relatively powerful EW suite, which would allow the FC-31 to serve as a stand-off jammer against radars and communications equipment. In addition to serving as a good multi-role fighter, its internal weapons-bay as well as low-observability design could make the FC-31 a highly effective stand-off strike platform as well.

The PAF’s modernization objectives could be seen into stages. First, the 2020-milestone, by which many serving F-7 and Mirage fighters will be retired. Given the limited time and resources available, the PAF is of the view that it would need to supplement the production of JF-17s with purchases of new and used F-16s. The second stage, i.e. after 2020, will see the continued development and induction of the JF-17, and eventually, the introduction of a next-generation fighter, such as the FC-31.
 

Irfan Baloch

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The airframe of JF-17 for block 3 is being redesigned right?
@Quwa @Horus @The Eagle @WebMaster @Windjammer @Bratva
why you decided that is the case?
is that a wish or a confirmation based on what you heard or read?

let me say NO, because the plane has just started serial production after extensive trials and being pitched for sale and you are suggesting/ hoping for a redesign? why? where? what is it lacking and why was it not put in place already?

to me you just threw a question hoping that people will feed you on what they "think". just be honest and say this is your wish and list whatever "redesign" you want.

As @Quwa posted that PAF may even attempt to re-design the air frame in future blocks but not yet.
of course not.
the paint hasn't even dried on the very first block yet and people are talking about redesign? apart from the areal fuel probe can you or someone list the "design" difference between block 1 and 2? I cant ..
if the boy is dreaming a redesign into a delta wing or twin engine twin tails then keep the dream going.. he shouldn't post it like a news.
 

Maarkhoor

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@Irfan Baloch
Sir I want your opinion on my observation....JF-17 block ii cost is 30 mill which is very high as per initial estimations because China is not inducting JF-17, their price and performance quite comparable to J-10 so the opted for J-10 only...Pakistan extensively re-design originally Chinese build design and choice of avionics and then design sealed...means no further major changes can be done if so then it will become a new jet again wind tunnel tests and all the other stuff.... I never see any fighter jet and their blocks structurally re-design because it is just useless and time taking thing instead of new jet can be design and build with the previously gained experience...
I second you any JF-17 block even in 2025 will never be structurally redesign but PAF have plans to build new jet on the basis of JF-17 knowledge but again this will be new jet not a block of JF-17...
 

The Eagle

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of course not.
the paint hasn't even dried on the very first block yet and people are talking about redesign? apart from the areal fuel probe can you or someone list the "design" difference between block 1 and 2? I cant ..
if the boy is dreaming a redesign into a delta wing or twin engine twin tails then keep the dream going.. he shouldn't post it like a news.
Indeed your words are exact picture and no doubt about design accuracy as well.
 

Maarkhoor

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As per my info PAF induct only three blocks of JF-17
Block I, II, III and block III dual seater....after that they will go for new Jet probably stealth type 5th Gen.
 

Quwa

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So after u get all JF 17 till 2020 what u do to these old F 16 pak is not in such rush of Jets like F 16 Since we already have that type of jet not going to make any significant difference in sharpening PAF paf always beat drums of lesser funds even misusing 1 million on rusted airframe is crimnal act with downed economy as we know it will remain same instead of wasting 6 mill on 1 jet it makes almost 30 mill of all used F 16 if we keep that money and build more money in next 4 years we can easily have money to buy any air superiority jet which we lack
Let's consider your approach. Let's assume the PAF puts in about $300 million towards Su-35s. That will give it 4 jets. It will now have to wait several years for 4 jets, and in turn, wait a few more years to fully integrate and harmonize them within the fleet. So by 2020 it might have 4 jets, but there is still no guarantee these 4 jets will be fully integrated into the fleet. We can swap out 4 Su-35s for maybe 10-15 J-10s, but it's going to be the same problem.

On the other hand, $300mn would fetch the PAF around 50 used F-16s. These 50 F-16s would easily swap out the aged F-7s and Mirages, and still maintain a relatively decent-sized fleet. In time, as more JF-17s roll-off the production line, these used non-upgraded F-16s will be replaced, gradually.

The airframe of JF-17 for block 3 is being redesigned right?
@Quwa @Horus @The Eagle @WebMaster @Windjammer @Bratva
The Block-3's design was frozen since January 2015. Any major re-design would occur much later, like in the mid-to-late 2020s or even early 2030s.

Now as to "why" this would happen... Just consider the fact that the JF-17 is a long-term program, it will be with the PAF for a very long time. I am not only referring to the planes the PAF recently inducted, they will be around for a long time too, but the actual *program* will be with us for much longer. After setting up an entire production facility in Kamra, it is completely irrational to believe that the PAF would jump ship to something else. It won't. Instead, it will continue building upon the JF-17 such that it stays relevant into the long and very long-term.

At some point, that will involve a re-design of some sort, which is natural considering many other programs have seen the same: The Hornet to Super Hornet. Gripen to Gripen NG. F-16A to F-16C. F-15 to F-15 Silent Eagle. MiG-29 to MiG-35. Even the Su-27 to the Su-35.
As per my info PAF induct only three blocks of JF-17
Block I, II, III and block III dual seater....after that they will go for new Jet probably stealth type 5th Gen.
Retired Air Vice Marshal Shahid Lateef said that the JF-17 will continue to be produced in blocks, there was never an explicitly stated cap as to when that would end. Also, the PAF put in a heavy investment in the JF-17 program, it is natural that it will develop upon the core design and work around it, even if and when a 5th gen fighter is being inducted.
 

The Eagle

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As per my info PAF induct only three blocks of JF-17
Block I, II, III and block III dual seater....after that they will go for new Jet probably stealth type 5th Gen.
JFT is going to evolve around more blocks though design of Block-III is already finalised.
 

Maarkhoor

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Let's consider your approach. Let's assume the PAF puts in about $300 million towards Su-35s. That will give it 4 jets. It will now have to wait several years for 4 jets, and in turn, wait a few more years to fully integrate and harmonize them within the fleet. So by 2020 it might have 4 jets, but there is still no guarantee these 4 jets will be fully integrated into the fleet. We can swap out 4 Su-35s for maybe 10-15 J-10s, but it's going to be the same problem.

On the other hand, $300mn would fetch the PAF around 50 used F-16s. These 50 F-16s would easily swap out the aged F-7s and Mirages, and still maintain a relatively decent-sized fleet. In time, as more JF-17s roll-off the production line, these used non-upgraded F-16s will be replaced, gradually.


The Block-3's design was frozen since January 2015. Any major re-design would occur much later, like in the mid-to-late 2020s or even early 2030s.

Now as to "why" this would happen... Just consider the fact that the JF-17 is a long-term program, it will be with the PAF for a very long time. I am not only referring to the planes the PAF recently inducted, they will be around for a long time too, but the actual *program* will be with us for much longer. After setting up an entire production facility in Kamra, it is completely irrational to believe that the PAF would jump ship to something else. It won't. Instead, it will continue building upon the JF-17 such that it stays relevant into the long and very long-term.

At some point, that will involve a re-design of some sort, which is natural considering many other programs have seen the same: The Hornet to Super Hornet. Gripen to Gripen NG. F-16A to F-16C. F-15 to F-15 Silent Eagle. MiG-29 to MiG-35. Even the Su-27 to the Su-35.

Retired Air Vice Marshal Shahid Lateef said that the JF-17 will continue to be produced in blocks, there was never an explicitly stated cap as to when that would end. Also, the PAF put in a heavy investment in the JF-17 program, it is natural that it will develop upon the core design and work around it, even if and when a 5th gen fighter is being inducted.
As per your saying I can guess what you are assuming Sir


Just want to ask is that you who play with Photoshop....:D

Sir as I mentioned they will go for another indigenously produced 4.5 + or 5th Gen jet based on the experienced gained from JF-17 project..
Regards,

JFT is going to evolve around more blocks though design of Block-III is already finalised.
4th Gen jet meet their end before 2030 all the 4 or 4 + and the design of JF-17 doesn't have capacity to go stealth config....new Jet will be build or J-31
 

Quwa

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As per your saying I can guess what you are assuming Sir


Just want to ask is that you who play with Photoshop....:D

Sir as I mentioned they will go for another indigenously produced 4.5 + or 5th Gen jet based on the experienced gained from JF-17 project..
Regards,


4th Gen jet meet their end before 2030 all the 4 or 4 + and the design of JF-17 doesn't have capacity to go stealth config....new Jet will be build or J-31
Who said I was referring to that? I said 're-design' - which could mean anything. It could mean some additional RCS reduction in aspects of the fuselage. It could mean a higher proportion of composites in the airframe. It could mean conformal-fuel tanks. It could mean enlarging the airframe. We should just look at existing platforms and how they were re-designed for real examples, no need to look at an artist's imagination.

As for the JF-17's future viability. Fighters such as the Su-30, Gripen, Super Hornet, Rafale, Typhoon, etc, will be in service with the world's air forces for decades. If anything, 5th gen fighters such as the F-35 will compliment them, but they won't replace them. The fact is even stronger in South Asia.

The PAF could very well end up with a true 4+ gen JF-17 if it enlarges the airframe, incorporates a more powerful engine, and uses more powerful on-board electronics (e.g. longer-range AESA radar, more integrated EW/ECM, etc). This isn't a "stealth JF-17," but it could be the JF-17 of the future, much like the Gripen NG is for the Gripen, and F-15 Silent Eagle is for the F-15, or even the Su-35 for the Su-27.
 

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