Pakistan air force is looking to purchase around 250 JF-17 Thunder fighter jets to replace its old inventory. JF-17 is jointly developed and produced by Pakistan and China. Both countries are offering JF-17 Thunder to the countries which are looking to replace their old fighter jets with inexpensive modern fighter jets.
Initially, People’s Liberation Army Air Force has not committed to purchase JF-17 Thunder fighter jets as Pakistan air force needs to replace its very of fleet of fighter jets soon but officials from both Pakistan aeronautical complex and Chengdu Aircraft from China are saying that they are positive that People’s Liberation Army Air Force will order atleast 150 JF-17 Thunders at the later stages of the project.
Chinese SD-10A beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missiles were displayed together with PAF’s JF-17 Thunders at the Farnborough International Air Show 2010. At the same show model of JF-17 Thunder were shown carrying six air-to-air missiles under its wings four of which were SD-10A BVRAAMs.
JF-17 Thunder will be able to carry four SD-10A BVRAAM and two WVRAAMs (Options include Chinese PL-9 and South African fifth generation close-combat missile A-darter )to defend the friendly skies from any intruders and different kind of standoff precision guided weapons for ground attack and antiship missiles for maritime attack. JF-17 Thunders are also being integrated with the C-802A Anti-Ship missile which has a range of 180 km for maritime strike role.
For ground attack role JF-17 Thunder can carry LS-6 Precision Guided Glide Bomb. It consists of a conventional 1000lb bomb and GPS/INS-based guidance and targeting system and pair of foldable wings for the extended range.
This will allow the JF-17 Thunders to release the LS-6 from a standoff distance which will allow it to stay away from the surface-to-air missiles and still hit targets. LS-6 has a range of 60 km if it is dropped from an altitude of 10,000m and it can hit its intended targets with accuracy of less than 15m. LS-6 is very much similar in performance to the U.S. Joint Direct Attack Munitions.
The LeiTing-2 or LT-2 is Chinese developed laser guided bomb. It uses semi-active laser guidance system.JF-17 will also use H-4 precision guided weapon which is developed by the NESCOM. This weapon has a range of 120km and can strike the enemy targets with an accuracy of 3 meters. This weapon was used in High Mark Exercise 2010 from Mirage-III Rose-I fighter jet.
Different other light weight precision guided weapons ranging from 50kg to 150kg are under development in china to take advantage of high accuracy of these new Chinese PGMs and reduce collateral damage.In 2008 Pakistan has signed a deal 108 million dollars to purchase 100 Brazilian MAR-1 Anti-Radiation air-to-surface missiles. This missile will be used against the enemy radars. Pakistan Air Force plans to integrate MAR-1 with the JF-17 Thunder aircrafts.