With the JF-17 Block 3 now able to carry a small pod on one of the “chin” stations, work could be done to build/procure an IRST pod with a datalink similar to the legion pod. Through a datalink two Thunders could share targeting quality data to achieve a long range first shot first kill capability, with each fighter firing one PL-15 a piece against each target for a higher probability of a successful kill.
If the second JF-17 is carrying a Aselpod or smaller derivative, also with a datalink, it could help provide laser range finding and high resolution TV picture to sharpen the image (confirming the contact) as well as triangulate the location of the bogey.
Btw, these are the two elements of the Rafale’s Optronics system, one an IRST, second a TV/IR sensor with a Laser rangefinder.
The two aircraft sharing this information via datalink could be fused in both aircraft independently and simultaneously, to confirm what they are seeing as well as employ new tactics and techniques in air to air combat.
The improvements in the JF-17 EW suite (presumably including better ESM capabilities) could all be better fused, turning each JF-17 into a “node” for other assets in the area via the most modern, secure, and high bandwidth datalinks, similar to how the Gripen E is envisioned.
The JF-17 still has room to grow, just under the skin.
A pair of Pakistan Air Force JF-17A Thunder multirole fighters, assigned to the 34th Tactical Attack Wing’s No. 14 ‘Tail Choppers’ air superiority squadron, Central Air Command, armed with two PL-12, two PL-5EII missiles, and one Panjnad OECM pod each (all made-in-Pakistan.