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JF-17 Thunder: Made for the PAF

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JF-17 Thunder: Made for the PAF

18-09-15 by @Oscar

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The JF-17 is the first aircraft that has been essentially built within the organizational boundaries of an Air Force. Unlike most projects throughout the world where private or semi-private firms are contracted and then through a liaison the development of a project carried out; the JF-17 has been imagined from the ground up and developed through constant input from both those flying and maintaining aircraft in the PAF- within the PAF - for the PAF. Whilst the many rumours that our ever so cynical neighbours in the east throw at us regarding the contribution of Pakistan in designing and manufacturing the JF-17; that debate is well documented by the PAF itself and available to the public.

However, both recently and at the time of its inception; there have been many who have opposed the JF-17 and advocated other aircraft in its stead. There have been those who accuse the PAF of cowardice in the face of its primary threat and call it for living in a defensive mentality. Whilst the author will humbly admit in lacking any "military" experience, efforts have been made to use the knowledge provided to the same via various publications on air warfare , accounts from combat pilots and leaders, and a bit of genuine common sense to come up with the following and try to dispel these entertaining, but ultimately flawed notions.
The JF-17 was designed to fulfil the EXACT needs of the PAF in the most cost effective manner possible vis-à-vis the threat environment it faced keeping in mind the constrains mentioned. Each air-force has a requirement to perform specific tasks within its force structure. The F-16 for e.g. was borne out of a need for a cheaper fighter to engage both the low end Migs and the high end migs in WVR and defeat them in the USAFE(United States Air Force in Europe) threat spectrum whilst DEFENDING Europe. The Gripen(whose early air defence loadout was no different than the JF-17) was designed to use better situational awareness and high manoeuvrability to offset numbers whilst still being cost effective for the Swedish budget. The swedes could have gone for a high end air superiority fighter much like the F-15.but their situation and requirements were different. Their air force was tasked to primarily DEFEND Sweden which is a small country with small strategic depth when compared to the threat she faced whilst her troops held off the enemy the best they could.(Considering they faced no sanctions and had a fairly respectable GDP). That all had to do with the need for a Defensive mentality; to stop the Soviet advance .Considering that this doctrine only extended for Sweden whose enemy was perhaps pretty much en equivalent(to the current situation in the subcontinent) in terms of force disparity and (in the late 80s when the Gripen was being taken through its paces and conceived) facing an enemy with increasing numbers of Su-27s, Su-24s and Mig-29s which were fairly well equipped and potent for their relative time period; shall we consider that the Swedes were making a mistake?

I do not believe so.

The PAF is the DEFENSIVE air force. Its primary objective as outlined both within its psyche and the ever constant budgetary gloom that is Pakistan's economy is to ensure that Pakistan's airspace in kept secure in peacetime and that in wartime the enemy is not able to inflict the sort of damage that it wishes from the air.Which then brings to question the usage of the term defensive. One can be defensive by being the first to take offensive action to put a would be attacker off its momentum and belay their strikes.


In lieu of this, it is also required to provide support to the Army first and foremost in defensive operations in holding off a much larger force; and (as an extension) provide support to its offensive operations.[1] . After the mauling of the Pakistan Navy at the hands of the Indian Osa boats and the lack of suitable PAF aircraft and training to provide cover, it was also tasked with providing the Pakistan Navy the ability to attack the enemy and at the least harass them enough that they are not able to approach the coast of Pakistan to that distance until the PN fully deploys its assets.. Which includes its submarines and its coastal missile boats for further harassing attacks and to provide cover and support for its main surface fleet force as it strives to protect the supply lines for Pakistan as they shift(and/or fallback) from Karachi towards the ancillary ports along the Balochistan coast.

As a tertiary role, the PAF is required( in the event that it needs to) to carry and delivery with a high degree of success Pakistan's nuclear weapons systems onto preselected and well-rehearsed targets within the enemy territory.(although most of Pakistan's missile systems and their deployment have made this role near redundant).

Now that we have established that the primary role of the PAF is to provide defensive support, we can focus on the term defensive when it comes to Pakistan's unique geographical needs and the size and proximity (along with much larger budget) of its primary threat in terms of what it will face from them in the near and later future. This requires us to go a little into history both from objectives and a little dabble into shaping events and international politics to see how the Indian psyche for warfare developed and then think of some possible implementations based on public knowhow and some assumptions.


The most prudent and more importantly most reflective of these assumptions is:

The Indian Air Force and its planners and pilots are every bit as intelligent and well trained as those of the Pakistan Air Force

Whether that is true or not and to whatever it is skewed towards is irrelevant. What this allows us to do is to focus in on objective manner on what a nation such as Pakistan in its defensive mode can best utilize its resources against a nation such as India, which is in offensive mode.

Let’s assume as well for an instant, that India’s forced structure and growth are as they are today and will happen as they are planned to be regardless of how they came to be today and how they are influenced to become later on.


Facing such an adversary, there are certain clear expectations (or rather putting ourselves in the Indian military forces shoes) as to what their objectives are likely to be when facing a nuclear weapon state that they outnumber and certainly out territory. Knowing that their objectives that given the historical context and current context require them to demonstrate an ability to dismantle or at the very least devastate structures that support in their view terrorist activities in their country, along with preventing any interference in the accomplishment of these objectives while during the time of that current scenario and for the foreseeable future.


What this euphemistic expression of objective means is that the Indian military forces will be tasked to initially attack and destroy what they in their view terrorist training camps and springboards into India via air. This they anticipate and as a certainty know will result in interference and retaliation by the Pakistan military whose sphere of influence they will penetrate to achieve these objectives. This then means that the Indian forces will have to initially attack and destroy any aerial hindrance to their strike forces going after the terrorist infrastructure, and then as a secondary objective closing the gaps that allow infiltration to happen in India.


As an automatic requirement, this also entails causing enough damage to the Pakistani military that it forces them to capitulate and allow the Indian forces freedom of movement within the Pakistani territory in achieving their objectives against their designated terrorist threat. In a nutshell, the object is in India wishes to achieve are no different than what it has achieved in Bangladesh; neutralize the threat to India. The first expression of that desire was the removal of the threat India faced on the east, both in terms of military and economics via the exploitation of ethnic and religious lines (not different from our erstwhile masters the British) although by a guaranteed sucker punch to an already an ill-equipped, demoralized and badly led foe(which, in all fairness was just a bonus as initial Indian estimates of their Eastern offensive picture in a much more gruelling battle to defeat the Pakistan Army had they followed better strategy and tactics as was assumed at the start) . General Sam Manekshaw who led the Indian Army in 71 was not wrong when he said that he only undertook the offensive once he was sure that victory was certain.

Attempts to replicate the same success on the Western front were generally not planned, even if certain ambitious area commanders within the Indian military made the initial overtures that seem to belie that. The simple reason was that when it came to the western front the Indian military did not have the overwhelming numerical and strategic superiority that it possessed in the Eastern offensive in terms of its ground forces. However, its Air Force clearly outnumbered and out-equipped the Pakistan Air Force despite dishonest attempts by many Indian historians to paint it so in their attempt to out-boast the Pakistani authors. In addition, the Pakistani Air Force was tied down to absolute self-defence for operations in lieu of its restrictive role to support a counter offensive that never came.

At the end of the day however, despite its massive numerical superiority along with generally much improved training and tactics as compared to the last conflict(1965); the Indian military was not able to achieve the victory it had imagined against Pakistan but it did learn many important lessons: -


The first of which regarding its airforce was that its numerical and technological superiority notwithstanding; when it comes to offensive operations over Pakistani territory anything less than round the clock operations day and night will not succeed in bringing the Pakistani war machine in the west to a capitulating halt every time due to weak leadership. In addition, it has to prevent success of Pakistani counter air operations over its own territory both from a disruptive and morale point of view.

The second was that its support role to the Indian Army also had to be nothing less than a Blitzkrieg when it came to operations in the North and South. Both its failure and success in 71 vis-a-vis the Monabao-Tharparker offensive and at Longewalla respectively outlined the critical vulnerability that the Indian Army faced to air attacks (this also led to the serious attempts to procure Army air defence assets as a backup to the IAF). The Indian Navy ironically had very little change in its role to blockade Pakistan and metaphorically it is still focused to essentially choke Pakistan while it is pounded to a pulp by the Indian Air Force while it is stabbed by the Indian Army.

It was this deterrent of force in this concept of a blitzkrieg that would cut through Pakistan regardless of NBC conditions whilst keeping its own civilian population relatively safe that was to serve as a warning to back down on Kashmir. The introduction of the nuclear spectrum only enforced this idea of how only a total destruction of Pakistan’s military capability was to ensure security for India’s western border despite the heavy cost (at that time India assumed Pakistan only had at maximum ten or so scientific warheads that could be brought to bear against its forces and the idea of them being used against civilian centres was considered a moral boundary that Pakistan may not cross to ensure the survival of its state and deterrent) and was eventually demonstrated in Brasstacks which had the Pakistani Army severly worried that led to General Zia’s Cricket match act. How this policy was essentially created to force an atmosphere for more compromise from Pakistan on Kashmir is a different discussion and not for this thread (technically a lot of it is not but will lead to be). How this doctrine and force structure stayed relatively constant and what caused it to change is important as follows:

This policy proved somewhat successful except for a brief period in the early to mid-90s when both states faced embargoes which for India also meant a dissolving primary supplier in the Soviet Union and ipso facto reliable upkeep of its equipment whilst Pakistan was still able to get good support out of its emerging giant China. This meant that whilst on paper India still held certain numerical and technological superiority over Pakistan, the lack of upkeep in this transformational period along with loss of a large cadre of its military officers to a growth spurt in the Indian Airline Industry and other economic prospects had its actual offensive capability somewhat uncertain especially in the shadow of the unsaid but well known nuclear overhang on Indian offensive operations. This also led to increased Pakistani confidence in supporting the insurgency in Kashmir that eventually had India resorting to responding in kind with sponsoring ethnic and sectarian strife and bombings in Pakistan in the early to mid-90s with support from Iran [2]

This continued perceived lack of potency along with fear of China ended up with India ( in the authors view) making the biggest blunder in terms of its moral upper hand in an all-out conflict with Pakistan by conducting the nuclear tests (assumed effect on Pakistani support for militancy in Kashmir). That allowed Pakistan to comfortably reveal its capability and take the moral barrier off in hitting Indian population centres and also gave Pakistan the ability to somewhat have a landmine strapped to its chest whilst it could go ahead and stab India without the danger of being shot. Kargil was the result of this false bravado (although there were other factors involved) and the result of it notwithstanding was at one point very shocking and damaging to the Indian position in Siachen and Kashmir but more so in the idea that regardless of how successful it was in gaining the upper hand on Pakistan in the long run, it was unable to prevent future Kargils as long as the nuclear overhang was there.

The quicker solution to the policy was the implementation of the Sunderji Doctrine under the moral high ground of no first strike and complete retaliation if so. The hope being that the effect of a blitzkrieg and the fear of nuclear weapons might force another Tashkent with much more favourable conditions to India. However, as Operation Parakaram showed; the time it took for such a large force to mobilize versus the capability of the Pakistani military to mobilize its defensive capabilities made the idea of the blitzkrieg look more like a meat grinder for both forces. In addition, the ability of international powers (namely the US and China) to warn Pakistan of critical flanking or surprise strikes due to the time it took to mobilize them made any tenable gains costly and impractical. In other words, India could and would achieve its objectives but its military would come out in such shape that an attack or offensive (as unlikely as it were) by another force such as China would lead to its certain defeat.

Hence, the objectives were revised and that is where the cold start/quick mobilization in which the Indian military is looking to be able to launch offensive operations in a very short notice along with a focus on network centric modernized military force capable of rapid changes in offensive and defensive roles and objectives came about. Since that has been fairly discussed to death, what is pertinent is how the effect of the policy created another change within this new doctrine which led to a much greater focus on rapid punishment attacks on a limited scale against known terrorist launch pads before any coordinated large scale attack on the purported supporting structure as mentioned in the opening paragraph of this post; this allows a certain diplomatic moral ground to offensive operations against the Pakistani military whilst restraining Pakistan from resorting to nuclear weapons that quickly.


So, what do these objectives entail in terms of equipment?


1. Air: The Aerial element of the Indian military should have capabilities to provide concrete offensive strike capabilities with guaranteed success against targets designated as terrorist infrastructure on day-1 as the very success of these strikes would set the mood for the rest of the conflict or even lead to an early favorable result such as a white flag at the UN or serious capitulation otherwise. This means that the strike groups must reach their targets at the required ToT and achieve an above 80% damage rate to their targets with VISUAL proof( as FLIR video or otherwise) which can be translated to diplomatic points abroad and political points at home. Any threats to the strike group must be neutralized before it gets to them and any losses must be minimized both during ingress and egress. This requires equipment that can both provide air to air firepower to sufficiently keep the air clear during a protracted time on station for strike aircraft (which in turn need to survive air defenses to deliver their payload with effective results)- OR – a strike group that can bypass the traditional guarded approaches and circumvent them to strike at targets and then fight their way out with minimal losses. In addition, the Indian Air Force also wanted the capability to be able to conduct longer range operations in the north where its targets are in many cases located deep inside China.

This is where the logical choice for this key puncher equipment came down to either the F-15 or a Su-27 derivative. With the former prone to embargoes and the long term relationship with Russia; the MKI emerged. With its payload and loitering capacity, the MKI could carry out both options for the IAF’s strike force built around Mirage-2000s or in itself provide the strike capability.


2. In case the strikes on day-1 are less than successful in their objectives of deterring Pakistan, provide follow up military softening strikes along with attacking other support structures deemed connected to terrorism which may entail ISI targets. [3] These operations will be centered around attacking PA defenses along the lines of incursion and stopping any PA regrouping/counterattacks along with keeping any PAF support irrelevant by ensuring air superiority over the area of operations and over all key centers of Pakistan Army logistic operations in support of their defenses whilst still carrying out strikes against both designated terrorist targets along with “hindrance” targets.

3. Ensure that the ground forces are able to hold enough ground in a very short set time allotted from Day-1 that they are close enough to Pakistani population and industrial centers that a tactical nuclear strike will also have the chance of threatening Pakistani civilian population to a large degree and creating less and less moral and cost incentive for Pakistan to use that gambit in the hope that it does not escalate to total war. Thereby delaying the timeframe when this decision can be brought to bear by Pakistani decision makers whilst creating bargaining chips on the negotiation table after the impending ceasefire that the international community will soon force along with giving Indian decision makers more room to not having to debate between escalation or total retaliation in case a tactical nuclear weapon is used on the Indian forces in Pakistani territory.


4. Helping the IN force a blockade of Pakistan within a timeframe that matches the week or ten days they hope to achieve their land based objectives by destroying or suppressing the effectiveness of Pakistan Navy’s surface and subsurface assets including the coastal defenses and harassing missile boats whilst making shipping impossible to anywhere except the farthest areas along the Baluchistan coast and hence irrelevant. This may also include supporting amphibious operations to secure flanking positions along the coast.


To achieve its first task the IAF has its MKIs, M2Ks and Rafale’s supported by its Tanker assets. The second and third involve all of the IAF’s assets and the fourth both IAF and IN assets whose ORBAT is not needed to be reproduced as it is well known.


Now that we have made some assumption as to what India may be looking to achieve, lets see what Pakistan then has to work with and what it needs to do. The first thing is looking at the constraints that Pakistan has and namely its airforce has vis-à-vis those laid down for the Indian military.


I. Ensuring that during both peacetime operations where there is no war but the threat of sudden war breaking out exists, there exists a capability to provide round the clock aerial defense and deterrence capability that preempts any sudden pre-emptive strikes on purported terrorist camps or otherwise.

II. Ensuring that its own infrastructure and capabilities along with those of the Army survive what is going to be a relentless onslaught with enough force capacity to last beyond a week-ten days of attack and hence prevent enemy objectives in being accomplished. This entails being aware of enemy aerial operations and being able to bring to bear the most shooters (and not the most weapons) to bear in the shortest amount to time so that it stresses their SA and overwhelms them and their strike forces from multiple angles which at the very least will cause them to abandon their strike objectives especially during the early hours of the conflict. To allow greater number of shooters means having assets that are able to be kept at such a high state of readiness for prolonged periods, able to generate a large number of sorties and be able to absorb losses affordably whilst still being effective at their defense mission.

III. Both the second and third also require close air support operations with a good degree of survivability via electronic protection against surface threats and using standoff systems to harass and slow down enemy ground forces.

IV. The ability to provide effective naval support both via aerial protection of key installations and assets along with the capability to successfully penetrate the defensive cover of the enemy surface fleet to carry out harassing strikes that make the enemy waste resources in extending its defensive circle and carry out more cautious movement in the sea.


Constraints & Considerations:

A. Unlike its adversary, Pakistan’s economy is generally in shambles and plagued by corruption at all levels of government and military. Which means that it not only does not have enough resources to procure the best equipment, it also struggles to provide the required training and flight hours needed to maintain the high standards it sets for itself otherwise.

B. The lack of depth for assets to retreat means that many of them have to have dispersal capabilities along with easy maintenance and support for quick turnaround times to ensure a high number of sorties. This means that in addition to having well trained pilots; the PAF needs to have MORE well trained pilots i.e. its pilot to aircraft ratio has to be high so that sortie rates are kept high along with keeping pilot fatigue low.[4]

C. The proximity of Pakistan’s primary airbases to its border and these key targets means that it needs assets that are all network centric along the lines of the Swedish defense setup so that defensive capabilities can be coordinated and prioritized keeping the first point in mind. Assets must be able to respond quickly and effectively in the most cost effective manner whilst maintaining a degree of survivability and repeated operations throughout the day.

D. Assets should be able to keep flying regardless of international relations and diplomatic constraints both in peacetime and wartime to ensure minimum levels of deterrence from air defense response and capability.

E. Losses in men may be difficult, but those in material should be capable of being replaced with some effectiveness from reliable supply lines.


Now that we have listed what drives the planning within the Pakistan Air Force, let’s come back to Pakistan and start looking at the basic misconceptions and delusions that make up the usual dramatic 9 o clock news type argument that the JF-17 was a mistake:


a) The JF-17 is the main force of the PAF:

Yes, the JF-17 is the most numerous fighter in the PAF and so had a lot of roles to play. BUT, it is NOT the main offensive punch of the PAF. There is another fighter, and it’s called the F-16(and a follow up later in a fifth gen aircraft as the need develops and budget becomes available) So then, the PAF wanted to acquire a light fighter to replace all its Air Defence fighters and it’s Strike Mirages (which in reality, are actually getting replaced by some F-16s and the JF-17 Block-III). The JF-17 first and foremost fulfils the requirements of A, B & C along with D and even E that the F-16 or any other western asset cannot provide. It does so whilst providing minimum capabilities to fulfil all or some tasks outlined in I, II, III and IV while the remaining gaps are fulfilled by the F-16.


b) "Yes, but if you survive after firing two BVRs and score a kill, you can re-engage in a different zone with the other two BVRs.Plus it(a heavier aircraft) can carry more 'heavy bombs' than JF-17, along with being able to carry pods on separate chin hardpoints and thus not wasting a weapon hardpoint. Ideal if you are going on a ground strike or anti-ship role."

No you won’t, because the chances that you will survive two BVRs with their associated evasive manoeuvring and still score a kill means that you have already exhausted your time on station and/or that you are already exhausted from the ordeal. Aerial combat is sometime considered inglorious or rather disconnected by the grunts on the ground but if you ever get to meet a pilot after ACT his condition will make you think he ran a marathon. It is both physically and mentally draining. In WWII, Korean War, Vietnam there were pilots who were shot down in their second engagement because they were physically and mentally harangued after their first that their ability to make the right decisions were impacted. Even in GW-1. F-15Cs had all that capacity but after most engagements with the IQaF where they fired their BVRs and survived to tell the tale, the pilots were RTB namely because there were other fresher assets on station to take over.

Aircraft like the F-15 carry a lot of missiles so that they are able to fire enough to get a kill. and (that philosophy died out after more effective systems like the AMRAAM came online) be able to fight going into enemy territory and fight out of it. It was designed to be effective at air domination and not just air defence. The ultimate air fighting machine which is also why it costs $127 million dollars in today's terms. Yet, these same F-15s were STILL bounced by IqAF Mig-21s in WVR combat. Which only demonstrates the absolute vulnerability aircraft are in regardless of their BVR or weapons carrying capacity when over enemy territory which is something the IAF also has faced before and something they strived to overcome in their Cope India tactics.


Now, coming to bombs and close air support. The modern air defense environment that exists around today’s Indian battlegroup means that there is limited or no space to redo the feats of “8-Pass Charlie”. Between the ingress to target and egress the PAF CAS and interdiction mission has to deal with aerial and surface threats which it must defeat through a combination of electronic warfare and long range hip shots; this if successful will lead to the opportunity to drop a single weapons load which for the most part is irrelevant if of 2x1000 pound bombs or 10 x 500 pound bombs unless all of them are guided. This holds true for the F-16 as well for the JF-17 and any other platform. What the PAF needs is more AGM-65 and SDB type weapons to ensure multiple targets are attacked in a single pass or chances are that its asset will be shot down. Getting a bomb truck will not solve the problem as it can drop 10x 1000 pound bombs and they will have the same effect on a T-90 or Sarab as a 150 pound guided bomb will have. Which is why the focus all over the world is moving towards smaller weapons of which more can be carried rather than larger aircraft with greater carrying capacity.

c) The PAF can purchase a smaller number of larger assets to provide a high threat capability instead of the JF-17.

This is the most popular argument that seems to base all its pros on the idea that a larger aircraft that can carry more weapons is somehow more survivable. Let’s assume that we simply take size as the only cost factor and discard all real world costs that tend to multiply. The JF-17 is roughly 1/3rd of the Shenyang J-11s in size and so by this inference we will assume that the PAF could have bought at maximum 2/3rd of the JF-17 fleet size or 100 J-11s based on savings from not setting up a production line in Pakistan. This would mean that the total force size of the PAF would be 200 aircraft roughly with still the same area left to cover. Considering the disparity in number of aircraft versus the number of shooters needed to put up a defence vis-à-vis type availability (the MKI barely manages 65%) there will simply never be enough to put up an effective defense in all the areas required. Additionally, the inevitable losses that these heavier aircraft will take will be much more costly and time consuming to replace; in plain words, the PAF will be much less effective in terms of its objectives in providing effective support for its airspace whilst ending with a force that will dwindle much faster due to losses in the air and on the ground at times of conflict.

In the end, the JF-17 will remain a unique achievement both as a project and as an idea. An aircraft designed to allow the Pakistani Air Force to carry out its tasks day and night with a good degree of sustainability and success against a much larger enemy. Its existence, and the resulting effect of fear on the primary threat of Pakistan regarding its capability is evidence enough that the JF-17 program is a success.
That while the Pakistan Airforce may not be the best equipped air force in the world, it is surely one that is capable of carrying out its task to defend the frontiers of Pakistan; day and night, through economic prosperity or under tough sanctions, and the JF-17 is a cornerstone of that capability.


As a post-script. The Author recommends that people interested in air combat, air warfare and its analysis with respect to Pakistan; take the time out to read the books published by reputable authors such as ACdre Sajjad Haider's "Flight of the Falcon" or ACM Shamim's "Cutting Edge". Or go through the blog of ACdre Kaiser Tufail. These professionals and other's like them will provide you with a better understanding of the dangers we face and the limitations we encounter than any armchair general or internet analyst including this humble nobody.



[1] which regardless of the many "ghazwa-e-hind" theories that roam the internet does not involve invading Dehli but capturing small but significant portions of Indian Punjab and critical flanking positions that make continued war very expensive for the enemy even if they eventually do win it

[2] The Iranians were hitting back on the idea that the Saudis would get a bomb from Pakistan; until AQ Khan was sent to assure them of our brotherly relations with all Muslim countries – which in reality was giving Iran the oldest design of centrifuge that would have kept their program going and them happy whilst delaying it long enough so that the west could step in and keep them from actually getting a bomb.

[3] However, as was found during the early days of Su-30MK operations; the engines and equipment were far from completely reliable and the operating costs prohibited using the asset for mundane missions such as point air defence and light close air support to any offensives that the IA might undertake as part of theatre battlegroup operations and therefore replacing everything with the MKI was found impractical and cost prohibitive.

[4] Pakistan has one of the highest aircraft to pilot ratio’s (1:2.5). By contrast the IAF has (1:0.8) which may also be a contributing factor in preventing conflict


The End.
 

Pangu

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Very good article.

I think many people failed to realise that militaries strive to acquire assets that befits their military doctrine, primary area of Ops & budget. A large & global-oriented like the USAF may require substantially wide ranging capabilities, but AF like Partiskan & China does not, & need not go down that expensive route to satisfy our defensive needs. The JF-17 is a good & afforable, & most of all, custom-designed platform unique to Pakistan, it will continue to nuture to be a formidable asset for many years to come
 

Sine Nomine

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@Oscar thanks man for such a nice piece of reading on PAF doctrine.
As you mentioned sweds sir, and reason behind Gripen i would like to put forward my Question.


In Gripen NG model SAAB has moved landing Gear into wings,thus increasing 40% internal fuel volume and giving Aircraft more time on statio

I was thinking sir can we make same arrangement for JFT.It will increase internal fuel volume.save hard points and will make it more capable for Navel role.
 

Goenitz

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i just wanna ask.. is SU-35 better for PAF? What exactly can be its biggest disadvantage besides integration to C4IS.
I heard about op orchard.. Isrealis jammed Syrian air defense. Tehy can probably jam also US made weapons (used by pak) when necessary..And india cna be given that tech too by Isreral.. So w'd it eb beter having russian, chinese and our own avionics, radars etc so all cannot be blind in any case of aggression ??
Is russian su-35 pak deal real?
1. Is it to lure in indians
2. Or they can really give to pak as Russia-china close ties. (100+ billion $) deal for oil pipeline between 2 countries.
3. Is it the punishment to india for not choosing Su-35 over western fighters.
4. Or its not teh Soviet Union but a russia. Now its not a "2 Block" game anymore.
 

PDF

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JF 17 Thunder is a great platform. It will help us to produce unsantionable jets according to our current and future requirements and will also help us to advance in this field. We need to further progress in this project and help ourselves to become a better and self-relient nation. Long live Pak-China Friendship!
 

RazorMC

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Interesting points and a pleasure to read.
Does not mean I agree though :lol:

By being on the defensive, we are forcing the theatre of war in our airspace and territory. Why not take the battle to the enemy? A limited offense would suit us better with lethal hit-and-runs on enemy ground assets with dedicated strike aircraft.

Very good article.

I think many people failed to realise that militaries strive to acquire assets that befits their military doctrine, primary area of Ops & budget. A large & global-oriented like the USAF may require substantially wide ranging capabilities, but AF like Partiskan & China does not, & need not go down that expensive route to satisfy our defensive needs. The JF-17 is a good & afforable, & most of all, custom-designed platform unique to Pakistan, it will continue to nuture to be a formidable asset for many years to come
China's geography requires more than just tactical fighters. It needs strategic fighters and bombers in its fleet to defend the mainland and push the battle to the enemy.
 

SQ8

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Interesting points and a pleasure to read.
Does not mean I agree though :lol:

By being on the defensive, we are forcing the theatre of war in our airspace and territory. Why not take the battle to the enemy? A limited offense would suit us better with lethal hit-and-runs on enemy ground assets with dedicated strike aircraft.


China's geography requires more than just tactical fighters. It needs strategic fighters and bombers in its fleet to defend the mainland and push the battle to the enemy.
I believe the article contains references to just that.
 

Spectre

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@Oscar Extremely informative article. The article is quite sufficient in explaining why it is the most suitable AC for PAF. There is nothing i can add or qualify..

However I would digress and pose couple of question extraneous to your article but have all the same arisen in my mind after reading the article.

1. Although you have suggested that PAF is a defensive force with a very detailed explanation of what it exactly entails - What I and most Indians would be interested in knowing is what would be PAF's and JF-17s role in skirmishes like Kargil which may require JF-17 to square off against IAF in it's turf. The threat environment would be completely different and the situation would be reversed with IAF interceptors on full alert against PAF's intrusion in Indian airspace.

2. Vulnerability of JF-17 to MANPADs which would accompany Indian formations.

3. For a good interceptor speed and agility should be important criteria - How does JF-17 fare in this regard vis-a-vis Indian ACs which they would be required to intercept.

P.S. Kindly excuse the amateurish questions, as extent of my knowledge in these matters is limited to cursery reading of PDF posts - my aim is not to cast aspersions on JF-17s or PAF
 

RazorMC

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I believe the article contains references to just that.
Unless I missed something, the article implies that a dedicated deep strike and air superiority capability is not strategically suitable for PAF.

I can certainly agree when heavy fighters are concerned, but deep strike capabilities offer a cance to force our enemy onto the backfoot. Modern anti-air assets pose a major threat to air-to-ground missions, but it is something PAF should not ignore completely.

Israel, a nation with a more limited airspace than ours, manages to do quite well with a mix of lightweight and heavy fighters. Their air superiority is yet unchallenged. Something we can learn from them, perhaps? Maybe a single type of aircfraft fulfills a tactical purpose, but not a strategic one.
 

SQ8

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@Oscar Extremely informative article. The article is quite sufficient in explaining why it is the most suitable AC for PAF. There is nothing i can add or qualify..

However I would digress and pose couple of question extraneous to your article but have all the same arisen in my mind after reading the article.

1. Although you have suggested that PAF is a defensive force with a very detailed explanation of what it exactly entails - What I and most Indians would be interested in knowing is what would be PAF's and JF-17s role in skirmishes like Kargil which may require JF-17 to square off against IAF in it's turf. The threat environment would be completely different and the situation would be reversed with IAF interceptors on full alert against PAF's intrusion in Indian airspace.

2. Vulnerability of JF-17 to MANPADs which would accompany Indian formations.

3. For a good interceptor speed and agility should be important criteria - How does JF-17 fare in this regard vis-a-vis Indian ACs which they would be required to intercept.

P.S. Kindly excuse the amateurish questions - my aim is not to cast aspersions on JF-17s or PAF
1. Kargil was actually the opposite of what you suggest. Since it was Indian fighters and Pakistani fighters on their respective LoC sides. However, for the required offensive-defensive scenario, the JF-17s primary task is to provide air cover for a Pakistani Army offensive, battlefield interdiction along with carrying out mid range strikes against the key supply nodes for the IA(along with artillery and ancillary command posts), and undertaking strikes on certain closer airfields using stand off weapons.

2. Have mentioned the vunerability of ALL PAF aircraft to the IA's Air Defence Umbrella which consists of MANPADS, Akash, Sa-8, Tungska and Strela. To offset this, the PAF needs to invest in stand off CAS systems.

3. As mentioned in the article, the requirement for Pakistan vis-a-vis its airspace is fulfilled by the JF-17; Considering the short time between critical targets and the border. Speed in this case is not as much relevant to airspeed(which the JF-17 has respectable amounts of in terms of acceleration) , but time from alert to take off. Essentially, the aircraft should be able to be in the air in the shortest amount of time. In that respect, the JF-17 does quite well.
To demonstrate this point, I will post a sales move for the Northrop F-20 tigershark( a fighter which I consider the direct ancestor in philosophy to the JF-17).

Unless I missed something, the article implies that a dedicated deep strike and air superiority capability is not strategically suitable for PAF.

I can certainly agree when heavy fighters are concerned, but deep strike capabilities offer a cance to force our enemy onto the backfoot. Modern anti-air assets pose a major threat to air-to-ground missions, but it is something PAF should not ignore completely.

Israel, a nation with a more limited airspace than ours, manages to do quite well with a mix of lightweight and heavy fighters. Their air superiority is yet unchallenged. Something we can learn from them, perhaps? Maybe a single type of aircfraft fulfills a tactical purpose, but not a strategic one.
You did. However, to demonstrate.

Ill link to this post.
PAF's Defensive Doctrine---Out of Ignorance---Out of Incompetence Or What? | Page 15
 

war&peace

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Congratulations @Horus for such an excellent article that lets the reader to see the JF-17 Thunder in a very clear perspective. Indigenous development is always preferable and PAF already as the ability to customise it as much as it needs. Furthermore, it sales can bring in the most coveted finances to procure even more advanced aircrafts like Su-35s and J-11 in reasonable quantities to act as force multipliers and also for the roles where JF-17 has limitations.
 

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