JF-17 Thunder Multi Role Fighter Aircraft

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JF-17 Thunder Multi Role Fighter Jet and Export Potential.

JF-17 Thunder is perhaps the most exciting light weight fighter to enter mass production in recent times.

The aircraft has been gathering publicity over the course of last  year. The famous March 23 Pakistan national day Parade fly-by, painted in Pakistani and Chinese flags was perhaps the most memorable. JF-17, also known as FC-1 also participated in Farnborough Airshow. However it was only a static display. The Aircraft did its aerial display airs how debut a Zhuhai 2010, China and will be participating in Paris Airshow 2011.

JF-17 / FC-1 is a lightweight multi-role fighter developed by Chengdu Aircraft corporation and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex with an estimated cost of $500 million.

The light weight aircraft has been touted as one of the most price-effective modern air combat planes. It has all the essential gadgetry and the extra stuff, the price can range from $15m to $25m depending upon the configuration chosen by the customer.  JF-17 Thunder was never meant to be a highly expensive plane with all the bells and whistles. It was to replace the workhorse of several air forces around the world that depend upon Mig-21 and its clones and variants such as F-7. Jf-17 outperforms the famous Mig-21 in all aspects.

Several countries have already shown interest to purchase this aircraft. It’s also considered a poor man’s F-16. Nations that require essential capabilities but cannot afford the price and strings attached with western aircrafts have a perfect solution in JF-17.  Cheaper price does not means lesser capability, we all know the efficiency and effectiveness of Chinese industry and such is the case here.

The future JF-17s are to have stealthy frontal RCS, carry AESA radar, next generation of long-range beyond visual range missiles (Meteor-class) and IRST , greater use of composite materials, all things that can be found on the 4th generation modern air planes.  The aircrafts in similar category are Gripen, which cost twice as much as JF-17s and LCA-Tejas, which are still not ready and by the time they do get ready, JF-17s would be flying in Block-2s and 3s configuration, ahead of LCA-Tejas.

JF-17 thunder will be performing at Izmir Airshow in Turkey. The plane is expected to fly along with F-16s.


Basic effectiveness always depends upon electronics, Its built with open architectures into single complex using two overlapping bus data exchanged on the standard of STD-MTL-1553V.  Main CPU is Motorola 88000. Customers can change these as per requirements.

It is armed with Chinese KLJ-7 radar that can detect upto 40 targets and lock and fire upon 2 targets simultaneously. 

In the cockpit, JF-17 Thunder or FC-1 Xiaolong has 3 multi-functional LCD displays.

There is implementation of HOTAS. There is no need to take hands off RUD and RUS during battle.  The plane also has MAWS and RWR.

LENGTH 13.95 meters14.9679 m HEIGHT 5.02 meters 4.77485 m WING SPAN 9.5 meters9.4646 m MAX T-O WEIGHT 12,500 kilograms 12,474 kg Empty weight 6,411 kg Normal takeoff weight 9,072 kg Maximum landing weight 7,802 kg Fuel weight 2,268 kg Weapons load 3,629 kg Thrust/weight ratio >=0.9 MAX LEVEL SPEED 1031 knotsMach 1.6 MAX RANGE / Ferry range 864 nautical miles2,037 km SERVICE CEILING 16,000 meters15,240 m T-O RUN 500 meters609 m LANDING RUN 700 meters823 m Armament
  • 23 mm GSh-23-2 twin-barrel cannon
  • 6 - PL-7 AAM
  • 6 - PL-10 AAMs
  • ASMs, bombs