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Is the Chinese JH-7 an Answer to the Pakistan Air Force’s Deep Strike Needs?

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Armchair

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I think the requirement is genuine. Navy really needs a platform that can provide patrol and strike capabilities to protect out maritime interests.

However JH-7, for all its capabilities is an old platform and might not be able to fulfill this desired role. While reading this thread, I was thinking on possible solution.

May I humbly suggest that a new dedicated platform is required for this. I think Pakistan Navy should take the initiative in this case and other branches (Air Force, Army) might join based on what capabilities new platform offers.

This new platform can be a joint venture with China. Nothing mentioned below is novel or extraordinary. I mean all these technologies already exists and as of now 2020, Chinese Aviation industry is well experience in design and development of home grown designs.
I suggest to built a big tailless delta with blended wing body around two Shenyang WS-10 engines. These engines are already being used in J10, J11, J15, J16. So it is already available.

Why tailless delta: lets check other platforms with two WS-10s like J11, J15, J16, these are by appearance more or less similar to SU27 family. Which is a very agile platform but was designed in an era where aircraft maneuverability was most important aspect. So the air-frame is good in producing lift and provide efficient control surface for better flight control. What is the down side? Radar Signature!

The suggested tailless delta with blended wing body would theoretically offer more internal fuel and better supersonic performance. Important thing to note here is that this platform is supposed to be more of a bomber than a fighter type. So desired characteristics are low radar signature and better supersonic performance.

For low radar signature, features from fifth generation aircrafts can be incorporated, major features should be

A: Better air intake design like J-20 or J-31 intakes for low radar signatures

B: Small vertical tail fins. Most probably in Y or X configuration.

C: Internal weapons bays: Most important requirement. Internal weapons bay would help in reduce the aerodynamic drag and radar reflections compared to weapons carried externally. Ideally this platform should have one main weapons bay under main fuselage and two supplementary bays in wings. Main bay should be able to carry two anti-ship missiles (like CM-400AKG, C-802AK). Or two Ra'ad (for air to ground role). Supplementary bays should be reserved for A2A missiles like PL-15 (two in each bay, 4 in total) and/or some Infrared homing as a last-ditch defense (PL-9, PL-10???)

D: Ability to fly low at high speed, sensors like FLIRs, IRSTs. I think WS-10 optimal performance altitude is medium to high. Some engineering wizardry might be required around air-intakes to offer optimal flow of air at low altitude??? Again, this is just loud thinking I don’t know how feasible this idea is.

E: To reduce cost, main fuselage and wings can be all metal like JF-17 but areas around air intakes, vertical fins, controls surfaces and weapon bay doors can be made of carbon composites (I think these offer less radar reflections, not sure about that).

F: Compared to other J fighters (J-11, J-15, J-16), based on two WS-10 engines, worst case scenario is this should have similar combat load range (1500 km). which is reasonable. Although I hope that a blended wing body with tailless delta would offer more internal fuel. To increase range, conformal fuel tanks or A2A refueling should be used. Would be wonderful if this platform can be designed to refuel like F-22 (it doesn’t have a refueling probe like other fighters. Instead the inlet is merged with body. (Do a google for “F-22 refueling” for better visuals).

G: Radar: Don’t know what AESA radar is used in other J-series fighters(J-11, J-15, J-16). But same can be used in this one. Although I would love to have something like SU-57 radar(N036 Byelka,1 nose mounted XBand AESA with 1552 T/R modules, two side mounted XBand with 358 T/R and two LBand Arrays in wings leading edges! Impressive)

In short this platform would be able to fly at low and medium altitude at high Mach speeds. Speed and low radar signature are of prime importance. With enough nose space to house a big AESA radar, such platform should be able to pick up enemy naval assets from a distance, fire Anti-ship missile and get out of there fast. The PL-15 mentioned above in supplementary weapons bay would be used to counter any enemy aircraft detected. Again it should be avoiding WVR fights as mentioned above, this platform is not designed for high G turns WVR fights.

Usage:
Navy: Main operator should be Navy. Such platform can stay on patrols for long periods of time (compared to Mirage/JF-17s). can carry more anti-ship missiles and can have a bigger radar to detect enemy assets at longer distance. Other usage is in strike role. Should be able to fly at low altitude, carrying some Ra`ads and able to reach coastal cities/naval installations for surprise attacks.
Airforce: Realistically, it cannot be used for deep penetration missions as sooner or later, it will be detected. But can be used as a platform for standoff weapons like Ra`ad or other standoff weapons in air force inventory. Ra`ad MK2 has range of 600 KM. In future me might see versions with improved range. Having such a high speed launch platform at your disposal with long range stand off A2S missiles will force enemy to invest more in A2A defense.

Other usage can be long range A2A carrier (acting like an interceptor). Since it should have large radar and speed, would be an ideal platform for long range PL-15s volleys at enemy air assets. Leaving WVR fight to other dedicated platforms like JF-17, F-16 or Project AZM (when that is ready).

Army: Again, I cannot be used for CAS as it would be too big/costly for that. However, can be used for bombing enemy armored columns (Bombs with GPS enabled REKs, Other air to surface missiles that can be fired from a distance).
While I may not agree with the viability of building such a platform for Pakistan, I want to congratulate you. Few can think outside the box and you can. Pakistan needs more thinkers like you.

I think your design is very forward thinking and brilliantly conceived. This would be a first strategic aircraft platform for Pakistan with regional consequences (if it ever comes to fruition). It would not only allow what @MastanKhan has been asking for - a direct threat to India's soft underbelly, but would, as you rightly pointed out, allow extended patrols on the Indian Ocean.

Strategically this would help China as it would help them secure their shipping from the ME. For Pakistan, for the first time Pakistan would have real and threatening power projection capabilities, that only a major power has. It would allow Pakistan to nickel and dime Arab states and provide "support and protection".

If the future of Air War is in BVR combat, such a platform would be an ultimate BVR "frigate". With a powerful radar and bristling with BVRs, they would be force multipliers in large formation India-Pak air wars.

The giant delta wing would allow them to fly higher and faster than anything in the Indian subcontinent. They could be lobbing BVRs from 60K feet at hapless fighters below, giving them massive reach advantages. Imagine an ability to fire off a 10 BVR missiles, turn and scoot.

This in fact, may be the future of air warfare, not stealth.

Armed with long range AShM, they would be able to hunt enemy ships with impunity. One could imagine 4 supersonic / hypersonic missiles fired by a single aircraft, and to further confuse the ship's air defenses, log long ranged ARMs (Anti Radiation Missiles). So, a flight of two aircraft could lob 8x AShMs and 8x ARMs, completely overwhelming even a combined fleet air defense.

I doubt if even the USN would be able to tackle that. Please keep up the good work and don't stop your out of the box thinking.
 

Akh1112

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Look nothing personal, I am not arguing for the sake of it. First how many Exocet can be carried by a Mirage V? Second how will Mirage acquire target? Radar? how big radar it can carry considering that it is relatively small fighter with limited space in nose.
Air launched Exocet under optimal conditions has range of 70 KM. Anti air missile like Barak 8 can definitely reach this range so it is not as simple as firing ASh missile outside of enemy ship air defense range.

In today's world firing a single ASh missile on a ship will have low probability of success based on improvements in missile defense systems. To improve probability of kill, you need to increase the number of missiles fired at a target. So you need platforms that can carry two or more missiles. now you can argue this by saying that instead of one such platform we can have two or more mirage Vs. But that will add other issues as coordinating an attach while keeping radio silence....

That is the whole reason this discussion for JH-7 was started. My point of view is just that the requirement is very much real but JH-7 is not the answer. We need a new platform which can also be used for other roles.

Thanks a lot for your input.
The AM-39 carried by the Mirages have a range of up to 180km. Id assume towards the latter as ground launched variants never go as far as air air launched variants. Also, the Mirage's radar is roughly on par with the JH-7's, sure, but the JF-17 can also carry a pair of AShM's, arguably better ones, i.e CM400AKG with their massive 400kg warhead.
 

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While I may not agree with the viability of building such a platform for Pakistan, I want to congratulate you. Few can think outside the box and you can. Pakistan needs more thinkers like you.

I think your design is very forward thinking and brilliantly conceived. This would be a first strategic aircraft platform for Pakistan with regional consequences (if it ever comes to fruition). It would not only allow what @MastanKhan has been asking for - a direct threat to India's soft underbelly, but would, as you rightly pointed out, allow extended patrols on the Indian Ocean.

Strategically this would help China as it would help them secure their shipping from the ME. For Pakistan, for the first time Pakistan would have real and threatening power projection capabilities, that only a major power has. It would allow Pakistan to nickel and dime Arab states and provide "support and protection".

If the future of Air War is in BVR combat, such a platform would be an ultimate BVR "frigate". With a powerful radar and bristling with BVRs, they would be force multipliers in large formation India-Pak air wars.

The giant delta wing would allow them to fly higher and faster than anything in the Indian subcontinent. They could be lobbing BVRs from 60K feet at hapless fighters below, giving them massive reach advantages. Imagine an ability to fire off a 10 BVR missiles, turn and scoot.

This in fact, may be the future of air warfare, not stealth.

Armed with long range AShM, they would be able to hunt enemy ships with impunity. One could imagine 4 supersonic / hypersonic missiles fired by a single aircraft, and to further confuse the ship's air defenses, log long ranged ARMs (Anti Radiation Missiles). So, a flight of two aircraft could lob 8x AShMs and 8x ARMs, completely overwhelming even a combined fleet air defense.

I doubt if even the USN would be able to tackle that. Please keep up the good work and don't stop your out of the box thinking.
Thanks for the encouragement, i am thankful for your comments. I can see from your post that you are even more excited than me for the usages of this suggested platform, but this is where user forums are at best. Thought experiments and what if scenarios.
Originally i was thinking to have a flying wing type air-frame built around two WS-10s but i noticed that somehow all flying wings are subsonic and i felt it will not suite us because in aviation terms "low and slow" is hanging fruit, waiting to be plucked.
Tailless delta with Blended wing body can offer relatively low RCS with high speed.

Refer to original post, i would like to add that such platform could also be developed into a dedicated Growler type platform that would help Air force to tackle with S-400 and similar future threats. In this way it can complement/replace PAF DA-20 (Falcons for ECM, ESM).

With reference to your post, i am not sure if an air-frame based on two WS-10 engines would have enough internal space for four A-Sh missiles. I was happy with it carrying two such assets. If it can carry 4, that would be too good to be true :-)
 

Armchair

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Thanks for the encouragement, i am thankful for your comments. I can see from your post that you are even more excited than me for the usages of this suggested platform, but this is where user forums are at best. Thought experiments and what if scenarios.
Originally i was thinking to have a flying wing type air-frame built around two WS-10s but i noticed that somehow all flying wings are subsonic and i felt it will not suite us because in aviation terms "low and slow" is hanging fruit, waiting to be plucked.
Tailless delta with Blended wing body can offer relatively low RCS with high speed.

Refer to original post, i would like to add that such platform could also be developed into a dedicated Growler type platform that would help Air force to tackle with S-400 and similar future threats. In this way it can complement/replace PAF DA-20 (Falcons for ECM, ESM).

With reference to your post, i am not sure if an air-frame based on two WS-10 engines would have enough internal space for four A-Sh missiles. I was happy with it carrying two such assets. If it can carry 4, that would be too good to be true :-)
I don't think they need to carry AShMs internally. Maybe 2 at best. I'd imagine others being carried externally. One could use only internal carriage for deep strike missions (India's underbelly). While external payloads could be more useful against naval targets a bit closer.

I don't think Pak has the vision to implement such a design and perhaps not even the funds. I do feel the JH-7 was the closest Pak got to having an affordable heavy strike platform. I'd still prefer them today for their bang for the buck and ability to get the mission done. But it was always @MastanKhan 's dream.
 

ziaulislam

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While I may not agree with the viability of building such a platform for Pakistan, I want to congratulate you. Few can think outside the box and you can. Pakistan needs more thinkers like you.

I think your design is very forward thinking and brilliantly conceived. This would be a first strategic aircraft platform for Pakistan with regional consequences (if it ever comes to fruition). It would not only allow what @MastanKhan has been asking for - a direct threat to India's soft underbelly, but would, as you rightly pointed out, allow extended patrols on the Indian Ocean.

Strategically this would help China as it would help them secure their shipping from the ME. For Pakistan, for the first time Pakistan would have real and threatening power projection capabilities, that only a major power has. It would allow Pakistan to nickel and dime Arab states and provide "support and protection".

If the future of Air War is in BVR combat, such a platform would be an ultimate BVR "frigate". With a powerful radar and bristling with BVRs, they would be force multipliers in large formation India-Pak air wars.

The giant delta wing would allow them to fly higher and faster than anything in the Indian subcontinent. They could be lobbing BVRs from 60K feet at hapless fighters below, giving them massive reach advantages. Imagine an ability to fire off a 10 BVR missiles, turn and scoot.

This in fact, may be the future of air warfare, not stealth.

Armed with long range AShM, they would be able to hunt enemy ships with impunity. One could imagine 4 supersonic / hypersonic missiles fired by a single aircraft, and to further confuse the ship's air defenses, log long ranged ARMs (Anti Radiation Missiles). So, a flight of two aircraft could lob 8x AShMs and 8x ARMs, completely overwhelming even a combined fleet air defense.

I doubt if even the USN would be able to tackle that. Please keep up the good work and don't stop your out of the box thinking.
Build a drone and mass produce them..they can be used as a multipurpose vechile..for strikes, A2A, ECM and refueling..use a single ot twin ws-13 engine
 

BATMAN

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Hi,

This a a blatant act of PLAGERISM by Ammad Malick---stealing my comments verbatim---.

@WebMaster please kindly address the issue with the news publication " The Diplomat ". Thank you.
I read this yesterday and wanted to ask if you are Ammad Malick. Now since you denied, but who ever this Ammad Malick is trolling with many experts, who scraped your proposal.
 

Salman876

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Something else may be coming. 54 units or more. 3 squadrons that can shoot very very long ranged missiles. Apparently very very very soon.



Thanks for an interesting idea. I have had thoughts in parallel to urs. I had this idea long ago that one could build "cheap flying replicas of JF-17s. Basically for all expensive parts build cheap, local copies that function at a basic level. They would look like JF-17s and fly, just not perform as well. They are both decoys and missile carriers, and can be used to confuse the enemy.

Use plastic, aluminum and steel. Yes, they won't fly supersonic and won't do 3Gs even. But will totally confuse the enemy both on the ground and in the air.
I think actual working missile truck version of jf 17 will be less than 8 million. It means 120-130 in 1 billion.
 

MastanKhan

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I think the requirement is genuine. Navy really needs a platform that can provide patrol and strike capabilities to protect out maritime interests.

However JH-7, for all its capabilities is an old platform and might not be able to fulfill this desired role. While reading this thread, I was thinking on possible solution.

May I humbly suggest that a new dedicated platform is required for this. I think Pakistan Navy should take the initiative in this case and other branches (Air Force, Army) might join based on what capabilities new platform offers.

This new platform can be a joint venture with China. Nothing mentioned below is novel or extraordinary. I mean all these technologies already exists and as of now 2020, Chinese Aviation industry is well experience in design and development of home grown designs.
I suggest to built a big tailless delta with blended wing body around two Shenyang WS-10 engines. These engines are already being used in J10, J11, J15, J16. So it is already available.

Why tailless delta: lets check other platforms with two WS-10s like J11, J15, J16, these are by appearance more or less similar to SU27 family. Which is a very agile platform but was designed in an era where aircraft maneuverability was most important aspect. So the air-frame is good in producing lift and provide efficient control surface for better flight control. What is the down side? Radar Signature!

The suggested tailless delta with blended wing body would theoretically offer more internal fuel and better supersonic performance. Important thing to note here is that this platform is supposed to be more of a bomber than a fighter type. So desired characteristics are low radar signature and better supersonic performance.

For low radar signature, features from fifth generation aircrafts can be incorporated, major features should be

A: Better air intake design like J-20 or J-31 intakes for low radar signatures

B: Small vertical tail fins. Most probably in Y or X configuration.

C: Internal weapons bays: Most important requirement. Internal weapons bay would help in reduce the aerodynamic drag and radar reflections compared to weapons carried externally. Ideally this platform should have one main weapons bay under main fuselage and two supplementary bays in wings. Main bay should be able to carry two anti-ship missiles (like CM-400AKG, C-802AK). Or two Ra'ad (for air to ground role). Supplementary bays should be reserved for A2A missiles like PL-15 (two in each bay, 4 in total) and/or some Infrared homing as a last-ditch defense (PL-9, PL-10???)

D: Ability to fly low at high speed, sensors like FLIRs, IRSTs. I think WS-10 optimal performance altitude is medium to high. Some engineering wizardry might be required around air-intakes to offer optimal flow of air at low altitude??? Again, this is just loud thinking I don’t know how feasible this idea is.

E: To reduce cost, main fuselage and wings can be all metal like JF-17 but areas around air intakes, vertical fins, controls surfaces and weapon bay doors can be made of carbon composites (I think these offer less radar reflections, not sure about that).

F: Compared to other J fighters (J-11, J-15, J-16), based on two WS-10 engines, worst case scenario is this should have similar combat load range (1500 km). which is reasonable. Although I hope that a blended wing body with tailless delta would offer more internal fuel. To increase range, conformal fuel tanks or A2A refueling should be used. Would be wonderful if this platform can be designed to refuel like F-22 (it doesn’t have a refueling probe like other fighters. Instead the inlet is merged with body. (Do a google for “F-22 refueling” for better visuals).

G: Radar: Don’t know what AESA radar is used in other J-series fighters(J-11, J-15, J-16). But same can be used in this one. Although I would love to have something like SU-57 radar(N036 Byelka,1 nose mounted XBand AESA with 1552 T/R modules, two side mounted XBand with 358 T/R and two LBand Arrays in wings leading edges! Impressive)

In short this platform would be able to fly at low and medium altitude at high Mach speeds. Speed and low radar signature are of prime importance. With enough nose space to house a big AESA radar, such platform should be able to pick up enemy naval assets from a distance, fire Anti-ship missile and get out of there fast. The PL-15 mentioned above in supplementary weapons bay would be used to counter any enemy aircraft detected. Again it should be avoiding WVR fights as mentioned above, this platform is not designed for high G turns WVR fights.

Usage:
Navy: Main operator should be Navy. Such platform can stay on patrols for long periods of time (compared to Mirage/JF-17s). can carry more anti-ship missiles and can have a bigger radar to detect enemy assets at longer distance. Other usage is in strike role. Should be able to fly at low altitude, carrying some Ra`ads and able to reach coastal cities/naval installations for surprise attacks.
Airforce: Realistically, it cannot be used for deep penetration missions as sooner or later, it will be detected. But can be used as a platform for standoff weapons like Ra`ad or other standoff weapons in air force inventory. Ra`ad MK2 has range of 600 KM. In future me might see versions with improved range. Having such a high speed launch platform at your disposal with long range stand off A2S missiles will force enemy to invest more in A2A defense.

Other usage can be long range A2A carrier (acting like an interceptor). Since it should have large radar and speed, would be an ideal platform for long range PL-15s volleys at enemy air assets. Leaving WVR fight to other dedicated platforms like JF-17, F-16 or Project AZM (when that is ready).

Army: Again, I cannot be used for CAS as it would be too big/costly for that. However, can be used for bombing enemy armored columns (Bombs with GPS enabled REKs, Other air to surface missiles that can be fired from a distance).

Hi,

When a poster comments that a strike aircraft is old---technically and tactically he does not understand air combat and does not know much about the usage & utility of a strike aircraft---. It just becomes a knee jerk reaction---it is old---.

F16 is around 20 + years older than the JH7A and around 13 years older than the JH7---.

Mirages in Paf inventory are close to 30 + years older than the JH7A's and around 18 years older than the JH7's---.

I read this yesterday and wanted to ask if you are Ammad Malick. Now since you denied, but who ever this Ammad Malick is trolling with many experts, who scraped your proposal.
Hi,

When your own act as your enemies---who to complain then---.

Kids and adults come here alike and respond because their illiterate brother or an uncle who was a high ranking officer in the air force state so and so becomes a God's word---.

The level of stupidity shown by my country men regarding the offensive capabilities of motherland is astounding---.

See---I will share with you an interesting fact---.

An american hunter gives a Rat's ar-se about expensive English shotguns and rifles---why---in his mental frame of mind---he is happier with a $700 Remington than a $50000 british rifle---why---because the purpose of the rifle is to shoot and shoot straight and be reliable when needed---.

That is all what the american has in mind---and the englishman has no comprehension why and american feels that way---.

I don't think they need to carry AShMs internally. Maybe 2 at best. I'd imagine others being carried externally. One could use only internal carriage for deep strike missions (India's underbelly). While external payloads could be more useful against naval targets a bit closer.

I don't think Pak has the vision to implement such a design and perhaps not even the funds. I do feel the JH-7 was the closest Pak got to having an affordable heavy strike platform. I'd still prefer them today for their bang for the buck and ability to get the mission done. But it was always @MastanKhan 's dream.
Hi,

Why are you not being honest with @RJV and tell him the truth---.

Nations fortunes are not built on experiments---this is not child play---. Why would one spend a dollar when a dime would do the same job---.

That poster is totally clueless as to how wars are fought---. Ours is a now problem and he is bring out a 10 billion dollar problem of building something fro scratch that is going to be worthless---.

Sirs---wars are fought with what was built 1020-30-40-50 years ago that you trained hard on it for 5 to 8 10-20-30-40-50 years to learn to use it to its best and not on something that maybe manufactured in the future---.
 
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Armchair

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I think actual working missile truck version of jf 17 will be less than 8 million. It means 120-130 in 1 billion.
I think even cheaper if you can build a basic steel / aluminum casted version of the RD-93. Use radars of retiring F-7Ps and ejection seats as well. Hard plastic panels instead of 7xx series aluminum.

My guess: 1 to 3 million.
 

Raider 21

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Saab 2000's are also out of production as well but still available---.

You still believe that chinese stuff is not available to pakistan---. I don't blame you---.

I told you along time ago---there is nothing in the chinese arsenal that is not available to pakistan---. If only you knew----hehehehehehe---.

You will make good money on the book you will write after that---.
Not as per comments I heard recently. They have a lid on what they'll export, which is very much against what PAF would want i.e. a downgraded Chinese strike aircraft.

Hi,

The real shameless part is being played by the @WebMaster--- . i reached out to him to contact that news magazine and claim the material form defence.pk forum and claim it as plagerism by the writer---.
But is it published material by that I meant your posts and comments on the forum. Having comments on a forum is not the same as having a formal presentation or a journal. Nothing shameless, your ideas regarding the JH-7 have been said by some retired army and air force personnel before your 10 years of forum posts....that too in a way would be plagiarism if it were a coincidence.

Despite its potent display of combat capability during the Balakot standoff, the PAF requires additional platforms to balance against a much larger Indian Air Force.

By Ammad Mailk
May 27, 2020

Credit: Alert5 via Wikimedia Commons

Amidst sustained tensions between the two nuclear armed South Asian neighbors, the Indian Air Force is scheduled to receive the first batch of four state-of-the-art Rafale fighter jets by the end of July 2020. The 7.87 billion euro Rafale deal between France and New Delhi for a total order of 36 jets was finally inked in September 2016, after much controversy and delay. According to the delivery schedule, the Indian Air Force shall receive all jets by May 2022. Armed with Meteor missiles and a highly sophisticated electronic warfare suite, New Delhi’s Rafale acquisition threatens to tilt the balance of power in South Asia in the IAF’s favor.

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has been following the Indian Air Force’s modernization program with keen interest, but budget constraints mean that Islamabad’s chances of acquiring a fighter jet of similar capability are slim. Instead, Pakistan seems to be focusing on the latest variant of its indigenous JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighter.

A prototype of the new JF-17 Block 3 fighter first flew in December 2019 and the jet has since undergone a further period of testing. By inducting an AESA radar-capable Block 3 variant in numbers by 2025, the PAF is confident that it can deny the larger Indian Air Force victory in a future conflict. Numerous reports have also hinted that the Block 3 would be armed with the much vaunted Chinese PL-15 missiles, which out-range everything in the IAF’s inventory, barring the Meteors.

Furthermore, unlike the IAF’s emphasis on induction of new platforms, the Pakistan Air Force has in recent years focused more on weapon systems and sensor upgrades to their existing fleet. This strategy paid dividends during the aerial engagement between the two air forces’ on February 27, 2019, as the PAF successfully infiltrated Indian airspace in Kashmir and managed to shoot down an IAF MiG-21.

However, despite the PAF’s well executed operation in February 2019, the Indian Air Force is equipped with aircraft that are both qualitatively and numerically superior to much of the PAF’s inventory. These include the IAF’s frontline air superiority fighter, the Sukhoi Su-30MKI, and the highly capable Mirage 2000 multirole aircraft. On the other hand, the PAF still relies largely on its limited fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons as its primary air asset. The PAF has no more than 75 F-16 jets and a significant number of those are of the vintage Block A variant, delivered to Islamabad in the 1980s. Other aircraft include 100-plus JF-17s of the Block 1 and Block 2 variants, as well as a large operational fleet of the 1960s-era Mirage 3 fighter.

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In the event of an all-out conventional war, the PAF’s limited frontline air assets are at risk of getting overstretched. More worryingly for Islamabad, the Indian Navy operates a sizeable independent air arm, which can be utilized in a conflict scenario to target Pakistan’s coastal industrial hub of Karachi. The much smaller Pakistan Navy does not operate fighter jets, instead relying on the PAF for aerial maritime strike operations.

This creates additional problems for the PAF, which is tasked with confronting the IAF along its long vulnerable eastern border as well as countering the Indian Navy’s air arm on the southern coast. The PAF’s problem of diverting much-needed air assets to the coast can be resolved by the acquisition of a cost-efficient aerial strike platform for the Pakistan Navy. Given Islamabad’s intimate relationship with China and the economic problems currently gripping the country, acquiring the JH-7 heavy strike fighter can both provide its navy with much needed aerial strike capability as well as free up PAF’s core assets to engage with the IAF for supremacy over the battlefields of Kashmir and Punjab.

The JH-7, while utilizing an old air frame, is a highly effective aircraft for deep strike operations. The jet first flew in 1988 and small numbers were delivered to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force during the 1990s. An improved version of the JH-7 fighter-bomber, also known by the NATO designation Flounder, began to be inducted in large numbers after 2004, after the Chinese aviation industry was able to indigenously manufacture a derivative of the Rolls Royce Spey engine. The Spey engine was designed specifically by the British for development of a low flying naval strike aircraft to counter the Soviet Navy in the Cold War.

Blackburn Buccaneer, to extract a heavy toll on large Soviet Navy cruisers in a future conflict. The Spey engines were later utilized on the Royal Air Force’s fleet of F-4 Phantoms, giving the aircraft greater range and a shorter takeoff distance.

In addition to their low maintenance and impressive safety record, the Spey engine’s utility lies in the fact that it is designed specifically for sustained low altitude flight below the radar horizon of enemy naval vessels. Despite significant advances in jet engine development since the Cold War, the majority of engines today are designed for mid-to-high altitude flight. Flying at low altitude to avoid radar detection for longer periods thus decreases much of the engines’ range.

The JH-7 also complements the Pakistan Navy’s combat doctrine, which is based on the anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) blueprint. The PN’s three Khalid-class submarines form the linchpin of their A2/AD strategy, with the wartime objective of preventing an attempted blockade of the vital Karachi port by the Indian Navy. Acquisition of the JH -7 by Pakistan would provide Islamabad with lethal capability to considerably limit the maneuvering capacity of the Indian Navy in the proximity of Karachi port.

Also, the JH-7, with its longer combat range, heavy payload capacity, and ability to fly under enemy radar cover provides Islamabad with an offensive capacity targeted at India’s protracted western coastline. Hence, acquisition of the JH-7 by Pakistan serves both defensive and offensive purposes. The improved JH-7A variant currently in service with the PLA Air Force is capable to carry over seven tonnes of armament, including four KD-88/YJ-83 anti-ship missiles.

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The capability to carry long range anti-ship missiles, which can be launched more than 100 miles away from their targets, means that the JH-7 is able to utilize an asymmetric “hit and run” strategy before enemy air defenses can effectively engage with it. This doctrine was perhaps most aptly demonstrated by the Argentine Air Force during the 1982 Falklands War, as French Super Etendard strike aircraft armed with Exocet missiles sank two British warships.

One alternative to the JH-7 for Pakistan is its existing arsenal of cruise missiles, but this option has its own pitfalls. First, cruise missiles follow a predictable trajectory and are vulnerable to interception by India’s air defense network and fighter aircraft such as the Sukhoi 30 MKI. Second, the use of cruise missiles, even in an all-out conflict, presents a significant leap in terms of escalation. As such, a cruise missile attack by either New Delhi or Islamabad can lead to an eventual nuclear exchange.

Having extensive prior experience in operating and maintaining Chinese-built aircraft such as the H-5, J-6, and F-7, acquisition of the JH-7 by Pakistan and its effective combat use for the heavy strike role presents an ideal “stop-gap” solution for the PAF until sufficient numbers of the JF-17 Block 3 are inducted. The Chinese also appear eager to sell much of their JH-7 fleet, showcasing the fighter bomber for sale at air shows such as the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition. As prospects of inducting foreign jets from Western countries appear bleak, the JH-7 appears to be the PAF’s only viable option to assert itself in a volatile region.

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Ammad Malik is a defense and security analyst based in Lahore, Pakistan. His work focuses on Pakistan’s relationship with the Middle East and issues concerning military strategy.

https://thediplomat.com/2020/05/is-...to-the-pakistan-air-forces-deep-strike-needs/
If it as maintenance friendly as the F-16, with plenty of spare parts and reliable engines for meeting annual flight hours, then possibly. Not to mention have to get it heavily upgraded with Western avionics.
 

The Raven

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Long range strike in the context of the sub-continent is being relegated to cruise missiles and development of long range stand-off weapons. It's far cheaper to use cruise missiles than induct a large fleet of relatively ineffective strike aircraft as well as the associated cost of force enablers and human capital. With an expanding network of sensors and C4I on both sides, and given the relatively short distances to theatre of operations, as well as improved IADS on both sides, conducting long range deep strike missions into the opposing airspace will be extremely costly for either side. Intelligence and tactical deployment of assets will have greater efficacy than the quality of the strike assets - this was amply demonstrated last year. Although there is a case to be made for dedicated naval strike assets, a few dedicated squadrons of JF-17s armed with the latest AShMs supported by AEWAC will suffice given the lower density of sensors; however, even in this scenario the airspace will be heavily contested, especially against the long-range Su-30MKIs. The indians know this, that's why they are developing a layered IADS to fend against long range cruise missiles and SOW, while we have nothing of the kind.
 

Deino

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Hi,

The real shameless part is being played by the @WebMaster--- . i reached out to him to contact that news magazine and claim the material form defence.pk forum and claim it as plagerism by the writer---...

Even if we both have often enough quite contrary opinions, in this case I feel your anger.
However I don't think @WebMaster can be made responsible for anything, that remains on you to contact the given author and TheDiplomat.

Fact is it is a forum and everything that is posted here can be taken ... I agree this is even more difficult in case of direct word-for-word copying, but to steal a thought or an idea is surely impossible to sue and even less you can make the Webmaster responsible.

I remember I once payed a Chinese friend for making a translation on the then largely unknown SAC early J-11 and J-13 project and the Dong Feng fighter series and posted it in my naive enthusiasm at the SecretProjectsForum only to see it as a direct copy paste in Yefim Gordon's next book.
 

nascar 42

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Hello,

I am the author of the article being discussed. First of all, I would like to thank Zarvan for posting the article here to foster discussion. Secondly, I also appreciate comments made by Armchair, Foxtrot etc and other learned contributors who outlined flaws in the article's analysis.

Now to the most important part, I made an account on this forum just now as one of my close associates pointed out that one member accused me of 'stealing his posts verbatim.' I shall hence outline all my sources below so that the misunderstanding can be cleared.

1- The initial paragraph where I talk about the Rafale deal is taken from online editions of Indian newspapers. Hyperlinks are embedded for references. Please check

2- The part where I talk about the PL-15 out-ranging everything in India's arsenal (except Meteors) and Delhi's focus on platform acquisition vs Pak's emphasis on sensor upgrades is taken from here. https://militarywatchmagazine.com/a...e-odds-against-the-elite-of-india-s-air-force. Also, https://militarywatchmagazine.com/a...r-how-india-can-respond-to-regain-superiority

3- Information about aircraft inventory of the PAF and IAF is taken from 'List of Active Air Force Aircraft' from militaryfactory.com and details about their exact numbers were taken from the PAF's wikipedia page.

4- The part about frontline assets getting overstretched is common knowledge as the PAF has to operate limited capable aircraft across different battle zones.

5- About the part where i mention India's protracted coastline. This first got my attention after I read a post on quora regarding India's long coastline. Here is the post https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-...a-long-coastline?redirected_qid=1227795#!n=12

6- Details about specs of JH-7 are taken from two articles published by National Interest magazine. I include the hyperlink of one article in my piece. Please check.

7- Information about the Rolls Royce Spey engine is available on the wikipedia page as well as its advantages in low flight. Furthermore, the article below clearly about most engines today being configured for high altitude flight. https://www.airspacemag.com/flight-today/who-says-a-jet-cant-be-cheap-24547164/

8- Details about the Buccaneer taken from http://www.airvectors.net/avbucc.html and Robert Jackson's book on fighter aircraft from 1914 to the present day. He clearly mentions the purpose was to design an aircraft capable of flying low below enemy ship radar horizon.

9- About the engine's durability, just check the Rolls Royce Spey wikipedia page. It clearly mentions the engine's use on Phantoms and its advantages.

10- The part where I talk about the Pak Navy's Area Denial is referenced from an article published by The Diplomat. I included this in form of an embedded hyperlink. Please check the paragraph

11-The part about Exocet missiles and their use in Falklands War is taken from a book by Max Hastings. I read this some years back and the idea was fascinating. The name of the book is The Battle for the Falklands.

12- Information about the JH-7's payload capacity is taken from the National Interest article I talk about above.

13- The part where I say cruise missiles can be shot down by the Su-30 is taken from here https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/india/su-30.htm. About the cruise missiles following a predictable trajectory and being vulnerable to interception. I read a quora post once which talked about intercepting cruise missiles. Here is the link https://www.quora.com/How-can-an-air-defense-system-intercept-cruise-missile

I hope this clears everything up. I wrote the article as I was myself fascinated by the idea of JH-7 in the PAF. I do remember watching a youtube video sometime back on the aircraft which got me more interested so i decided to pen a piece. Also, it is entirely possible that other members have thought about the same stuff I mention in the article but I believe this to be a case of 'Parallel Thinking' or multiple discovery. It is entirely possible for two people (or more) to reach the same conclusion without interacting. One example of this is how ancient societies developed agriculture independent of each other.

Please do go through the sources I have listed as they cover the entire article. Also, the editorial process at many international publications is very thorough and they check submissions before publishing. So, one cannot copy posts verbatim and present them in shape of an article.

Finally, I would like to respectfully say to all forum members here that you guys are most probably better aware of military matters than I am. Please do critique what I have written but kindly refrain from accusing me of stealing posts.

Thank You
Kindly see this post quoted above. I have outlined all sources used. I made an account here after someone pointed out that forum members here think I have stolen their posts. I posted this on Wednesday.

Again, I would say that it is possible that some forum members here would have discussed the JH-7 before I wrote the article. However, what is not being talked about is the possibility that I could have reached the same conclusion about the aircraft's utility for the PAF without having read posts on this forum. I have detailed each and every source I have used. Please read the above quoted post.

I wrote an article from Pakistan's perspective as there wasn't one available anywhere. There are flaws in the article's analysis as many learned members have pointed out. I appreciate the comments and hope to learn more from the criticism also.

For those not familiar with how editorial process at leading publications works; submissions are checked thoroughly before publication and it is not possible to copy paste posts and shape them in an article.

I do not claim that I was in anyway the first person to have the idea that the JH-7 could be a good fit for the PAF. It is possible that many people have had similar thoughts much before me. It is also possible that not all these people use defense forums. I, for one, starting using this forum only from Wednesday.

Finally, I would say that I am new to this forum and have realized in 48 hours that other contributors here are more knowledgeable than me in aviation matters. I hope to learn more from all of you. But please, I respectfully request members not to say that I have stolen their posts.
 
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