These are exciting times for defense geeks in Pakistan as the advanced JF-17 Block III prototype has completed its test flight. Although it was only a prototype with quite a few features still missing, Pakistan is hoping to get its first two fighter jets – out of a total of 50 – by the end of 2020.
The new version sports advanced features from a number of other Chinese jets. For instance, it will be fitted with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar like that of China’s J-20, Japan’s J-2, and United States’ F-22, F-35, as well as the F-16V “Viper”.
According to the Global Times, the use of off-the-shelf Chinese technologies will boost the combat and flight efficiency of the jet.
With AESA, the JF-17 Block III will be able to scan the skies as well as the ground for several targets at once and at many frequencies. This gives it a significant advantage over more traditional pulse-doppler radars, which must be pointed where the pilot wishes to scan and can only scan at a single frequency, making them much easier to jam.
Other important features included the futuristic wide-angle diffractive holographic heads up display and integrated cockpit display.
The interesting thing is that with the upgrade of AESA radar and other advanced weapon systems, the JF-17 Block III will give Pakistan an upper hand against India whose latest Tejas F-1 also sport the same radar.
The upgrades will further make the JF-17 a strong competitor in the international market, even competing with the F-35 Lightning II, which is three times more expensive with more or less the same features.
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