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JF-17 Block 3 vs Rafale

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Nov 20, 2015
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JF-17 Thunder Block 3 Specifications

Pakistan Air force has announced that Jf-17 block 3 design has been finalized and it's development has been finalized and will be started in 2017.After success of Jf-17 Block 2 and Block 3 , Pakistan And China are working for an advanced version of Jf-17 .

Jf-17 block 3 will have AESA Radar system which is the latest in Military Aviation.Most of the Modern aircraft such as F-22 ,Su-35 ,F-35 Etc use this Radar .AESA radar can detect targets for greater ranges than previous versions and it is very hard to Block by Enemy Radars .

HMD (Helmet Mounted Display )

Jf-17 Block 3 will be equipped with HMS .With HMS ,Pilot can track and lock on target without Having to use it instruments.Pilot just have to move its head towards the target and the Missile will lock on target.This enables pilot to view around its cockpit to lock on target instead of turning to that direction.

New Engine (WS-13 )

It is in news that Pakistan will use a new engine for Jf-17 block 3 preferably Ws-13 Engine.The Block 1 and 2 version of Jf-17 uses RD-93K Engine which was tested and rated good for flying.The RD-93 Engines are also used in Mig 29 .RD-93 engines produces a maximum thrust of 19000 lbs while WS-13 Engines produce upto 22,000 Your Internet Address For Life™-13 is a Chinese made turbofan engine and Pakistan will have no problem in getting these engines from China.The Announced date for the Induction of JF-17 BLOCK 3 is 2019 .

New Design

It is said in reports that Block 3 of Jf-17 will have no significant change in its shape and size.I think that the Jf-17 will have more fuel capacity like in F-16 Block 52 aircraft thus enabling Jf-17 to carry more weapons on its hardpoint and increased combat range.


Jf-17 block 3 will be a Mach 2.0 + aircraft.The previous version was limited to Mach 1.8 .This will help in dogfight against enemy aircraft.

The above addition in the Jf-17 block 3 will make it a true 4.5 generation fighter .Pakistan will be able to produce aircraft independently not depending on west or any other countries for spare parts .It will also help Pakistan economically as Jf-17 cost Less than any modern fighter.

Indian Air Force is currently having around 1400 Aircraft, leaving Sukhoi 30mki, Mirage 2000 and Mig 29 behind, All of them are old and outdated, so the UPA government at 2004 decided to retire some of them, and decided to buy more Mirage 2000 fighter jets from Dassault (due to the outstanding contribution of Mirage 2000 in 1999 Kargil War).

The government gave the order to the french company Dassault aviation for the Mirage 2000, but dassault said that they have stopped the mass production of mirage 2000, and they told IAF to buy upgraded version of mirage 2000, the RAFALE.

Then Indian Air Force Decided to test out the competitors of rafale too, so they released tender. after some time Russia offered their MIG-35, Sweden offered their JAS39 Gripen, USA offered F-16 viper and F18 super hornet, France offered Rafale, And (Great Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain) Offered Eurofighter Typhoon.They all were tested on certain parameters, after all The french Rafale was selected.

coming to the point of the question.. here are some of the mind blowing facts about Rafale..

  1. It is a multirole fighter, Twin engine, one or two seaters, canard delta winged aircraft.
  2. it has a max speed of 2000 km/hr .
  3. it is powered by French Snecma m88 turbofan jet engine.
  4. The French word RAFALE means Gust of wind in English.
  5. Weighing 9500Kgs it can lift the weapons around 9500kgs.
  6. It doesn’t require the Runway of more than 400 metres
  7. it has a vertical velocity of 305 m/s.
  8. it has automatic Magnesium flare system.
  9. Spectra system: Developed by dassault , this fully automatic electronics security system has lot of features, like if the enemy radar sends the radio signals to the air, the Spectra system constantly reads this signals, notes the pattern of the signals, and after that it emits the same pattern of waves via the Emitter to the enemy radar, so enemy radar can not catch the object (rafale in this case). That is why its design is not STEALTH, but it can play the role of stealth fighters,Just No other plane in this world have a Feature like this.
  10. The Spectra System is so costly that it costs 30% of the total plane.
  11. Rafale has a scanning range of 145km, this is actually low, but here is a pluspoint : the radar can work with more than 2 targets, and it is Impossible to jam for enemy.
  12. Rafale has a combat radius of 1800km, which no other fighter plane have in this world.
  13. Rafale will be featured with Voice recognition operated controls.
  14. It is equipped with Meteor missile as well as ..
    • a cannon with 30mm diameter 125 rockets.
    • 8 Air to Air Magic missile.
    • 4 A2A Mica Missile .
    • 7 A2A AMRAAM missile.
    • 5 Antiship penguin Mk3 missile.
    • 3 Antiship harpoon missile.
    • 4 A2S Maverick missile
    • 2 Scalp Stormshadow cruise missile
    • 9 GBU laser guided bombs.

  • Rafale would beat the JF-17 to the punch. It is a force multiplier compared to the JF-17. The Rafale possesses better first look, first shot, first kill technologies that the JF-17. A head to head BVR combat between the two aircraft would possibly be 80:20 in favor of the Rafale due to the reduced RCS of the Rafale and its superior Meteor BVR missile.

    If Pakistan ties in the JF-17 Block 3 AESA radar with the PL-15 ultra long range missile (which may have its own AESA radar) the equation could change to being less one sided. The PL-15 would be expected to use INS/Multi GPS after launching, get mid course guidance through secure JF-17 or AWACS radar datalink, and turn to internal AESA radar during a much longer range active terminal guidance phase in compared to other missiles If adapted for the JF-17 block 3 aircraft, it would narrow down it's disadvantage with the Rafale in BVR Combat to perhaps 60:40 with greater missile range. Due to a smaller RCS, Rafale would still be in a better position to lock on and get a first shot at the JF-17 before being detected. The Rafale RCS is <0.5m2, while the JF-17 is >4m2. In the event of the Rafale pilot not wanting to expose his position, he could theoretically instruct a nearby AWACS radar to generate a weapons quality track and use it to fire 2–3 missile salvo at the JF-17 to increase kill ratio to 30–50% The same would also be possible for the JF-17, which would overcome the radar resolution issue, since AWACS radar can search and track at smaller RCS aircraft at greater distance.

    If the JF-17 successfully evades the initial Rafale missile salvo and persists head on into a dogfight, the Rafale would still retain its substantial advantage. Therefore, unless it were to become a tactical necessity, the JF-17 pilot would be advised to bug out of a WVR combat. Being a multi-role aircraft, the Rafale will be required to fulfil ground attack and SEAD roles in case of war with Pakistan, the Pakistani military would therefore use it's ground to air missiles to target it within Pakistani territory, or pounce upon it in a surprise ground launched missile/air launched attack on the Rafale air base as a high priority target. The French Rafale, alongwith the Sukhoi Su-35 and Eurofighter Typhoon are the best designed 4th generation fighter/interceptor aircraft in existence. Rafale is a twin engined aircraft that has a very high thrust to weight ratio even when fully loaded, and it also possesses the ability to supercruise in order to avoid IRST detection. In comparison, the JF-17 has much lower thrust to weight ratio, and non availability of supercruise, which puts it at a decided disadvantage in energy maneuverability and range.

    Like the JF-17 Block 3 aircraft, the Rafale is equipped with long range IRST. Both aircraft can also carry short range Laser guided weapons. The Rafale comes with the the world's most advanced METEOR air to air missile compared to the less deadly but dangerous PL-12 BVR missile. Both aircraft are rated for operation in SEAD, ground attack and anti-ship warfare. The Rafale has a greater edge in the range and quality of these weapons. Combined with a much more robust engine and airframe design, the Rafale is a more capable aircraft than the JF-17 and the Pakistani Block 52 F-16 (which isn't the latest F-16 model in production) Pakistani F-16 also have a poor threat detection capability due to a downgraded RWR and below average Radar suite. The newer block 70 F-16 that are being offered to India are also inferior to the Rafale.

    While the JF-17 is NOT a one-to-one match for the Rafale, but with Pakistan fielding more than 200+ Block 2 and Block 3 JF-17 by mid to late 2020’s, the initial batch of 36 Rafale aircraft purchased by India will be numerically inferior to the JF-17. Despite the poor operational readiness of the Sukhoi Su-30MKI due to persistent engine bearing and lubrication problems in dusty subcontinental weather, and 50–55% operational readiness in numbers, it is a superior aircraft in comparison to the JF-17. With the inclusion of Tejas LCA, the IAF will possess 450+ 4th generation aircraft in 2020, in comparison to about 300 for PAF. Due to the political mess created over the purchase of Rafale, it could be well beyond 2030 that India is able to replace its legacy fleet of Mig-21-Mig 23, 27 and Jaguar- (numbering over 450 legacy aircraft in 2018). Due to the offensive posture of Indian Air force, it must maintain a numerical advantage of at least 3:1 over PAF. The impending retirement of 50% airfleet will severely restrict IAF’s strategic posture. To maintain its offensive strategic plans, India requires at least 800+ 4th generation aircraft, which doesn't seem possible till 2030. By mid 2020’s, China may provide Pakistan with their low cost Fifth Generation fighter, the J-31 or perhaps the 2–3 squadrons of the state of the art J-20 Stealth Fighter as a force multiplier.

    Since modern air warfare is dependant on BVR combat, it must be kept in mind that the hypothetical kill ratios of “Beyond Visual Range” missiles is an interesting topic. Many experts believe that the BVR missiles possess a poor kill percentage under real combat conditions. They point towards the fact that out of all jet aircraft downed after World War 2, an extremely small percentage has been downed by BVR missiles. Since the 1960’s it has a kill ratio of only 10–15% even against weak enemy air forces. Such a poor success rate, even against asymmetric enemy, is quite disappointing. On the other hand, the proponents of BVR missiles believe that due to the long gestation period of these missile systems, it is only in the last decade that they have truly come of age. Their utility under heavy ECM is also questionable, and it reduces their effective range tremendously. Fast, highly maneuverable aircraft, flown by good pilots who are aware of the incoming missiles weaknesses are able to dodge a salvo of missiles by stretching them to their limit of engine burn time. Till date, no BVR missile systems have been “exchanged” by equally equipped, highly trained air forces, and their real utility is unknown.

    Unfortunately, all this defence procurement is going to cost India and Pakistan billions and billions of dollars, and they’ll probably (hopefully) never go to war due to the fear of what I classify as “non nuclear Mutually Assured Destruction” or “Conventional MAD” because of their exact understanding of the highly destructive nature of current conventional weapons, that can cripple a nation's infrastructure, developed over decades, within a matter of a few hours.

    In conclusion, I would like to add that If war is inevitable, so is peace! Both exist as a consequence of each other.

    The increasing role of air to air missiles in modern warfare (above) The effectiveness of BVR fired from extreme ranges, in modern combat still remains a matter of great controversy. Despite the use of high technology, it has become much harder to shoot down enemy aircraft in comparison to pre-BVR warfare!
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