JF-17/FC-1 Fighter Aircraft thread


Mohsin77

Junior Member
Registered Member
It's curious, the timeline of the Block III project so far... it seems to be going slower than expected for a Block upgrade. It's possible that the Rafale acquisition sent the project back into the requirements stage. It could also be the pandemic or the delays in the engine sourcing. Or maybe this is the normal timeline...?
 

silentlurker

Junior Member
Registered Member
It's curious, the timeline of the Block III project so far... it seems to be going slower than expected for a Block upgrade. It's possible that the Rafale acquisition sent the project back into the requirements stage. It could also be the pandemic or the delays in the engine sourcing. Or maybe this is the normal timeline...?
Do you mean compared to Block 2? I would say on top of dealing with pandemic Block 3 is a more ambitious upgrade overall.

It has been a long time since we heard serial production starting in December so I agree that something might be going on behind the scenes. Has there been a covid spike in Pakistan lately or anything?
 

siegecrossbow

Brigadier
Staff member
Super Moderator
It's curious, the timeline of the Block III project so far... it seems to be going slower than expected for a Block upgrade. It's possible that the Rafale acquisition sent the project back into the requirements stage. It could also be the pandemic or the delays in the engine sourcing. Or maybe this is the normal timeline...?

They are changing the FBW so that there is relaxed stability in all three axis. Wouldn’t be surprised if it requires extensive test flights. Integrating new BVR missiles will also take time.
 

ougoah

Major
Registered Member
I think the "delay" isn't really because they're changing some things to make it even more capable in light of Rafales becoming IAF's most capable fighter. I mean they are spending F-35 money to buy 36 and maybe another 36 after. This is solved by a few dozen ballistic and cruise missiles. I mean if it really came down to it, and there is simply no way to allow those Rafales to operate against Pakistan, even China could be obliged to provide Pakistan with some mach 10 projectiles onto those airfields. It's not like they're getting 360 Rafales to be located all over India.

The delay is partially due to covid slowdown and partially because it seems to be a lower priority for CAC developer. They may have fewer people available to be working on it while other projects are taking off, quite literally sometimes. I suspect block 3 is just adding some upgraded electronics avionics and the new AESA to be capable of the PL-10 and possibly PL-15. Overall block upgrades to everything else and that's it.

The delay from expected service may actually indicate how busy or understaffed CAC has been. We know there are UCAV projects there, J-20 upgrades, new engines and possibly TVC upgrades to be designed for J-20 and J-10. Definitely long started working on the next gen since one on the way out, one just in, one on the boards. Integrating Dark Sword UCAV with J-20? Twin seater? those hints are never too wrong. There may be pressing need for block 3 with more modern missiles and radar but I feel the block 3 project may take a backseat compared to the other stuff CAC is working on.

After all, Pakistan's sovereignty will not be taken by India. Worse comes to worst, China would not allow that. It'll be like the US letting Russia take land from Canada. Pakistan's military and existential security is also guaranteed by Pakistan's own nukes. Meanwhile the US has been HEATING things up with China while India and Pakistan are easing military tensions, albeit with J&K underlying issues unresolved.

Point is Pakistan has no genuine desperation even if it seems on the surface that Rafales will provide IAF with quite a capability boost. Then again, remember it's 36... not 360 and even that will take time to complete deliveries and training.
 

ougoah

Major
Registered Member
They are changing the FBW so that there is relaxed stability in all three axis. Wouldn’t be surprised if it requires extensive test flights. Integrating new BVR missiles will also take time.

That's interesting. Thought the whole point of that design was to keep FBW very simple and inexpensive. The design and engine limits the performance far more than FBW I would have imagined.
 

siegecrossbow

Brigadier
Staff member
Super Moderator
That's interesting. Thought the whole point of that design was to keep FBW very simple and inexpensive. The design and engine limits the performance far more than FBW I would have imagined.
Keeping it simple and inexpensive worked with block I and block II. However, they are integrating AESA and a whole host of advanced abilities on block III. They no longer want to sacrifice performance for cost.
 

ougoah

Major
Registered Member
Keeping it simple and inexpensive worked with block I and block II. However, they are integrating AESA and a whole host of advanced abilities on block III. They no longer want to sacrifice performance for cost.

At some point it begins to feel like putting a racecar engine into a Camry. This isn't to insult the JF-17 and its designers and operators. It's just that once capabilities want to be expanded, doing it on such a limited frame should begin to make the decision makers wonder if it won't be a better use of funding and effort to design/modify and procure a fighter that isn't designed for inexpensive numbers filler missile truck role.

But you're right that new radar, new missiles, slightly different engines, new electronics and avionics would take time and a fair bit of time even for China to do. It's just taken more than a year longer than planned iirc. Sure some of that was due to slowdown during initial covid. Some of that may also be due to the project being given a slightly lowered priority in terms of delivery time.
 

Mohsin77

Junior Member
Registered Member
Do you mean compared to Block 2? I would say on top of dealing with pandemic Block 3 is a more ambitious upgrade overall.

It has been a long time since we heard serial production starting in December so I agree that something might be going on behind the scenes. Has there been a covid spike in Pakistan lately or anything?
Yea compared to Block II, Block III is much more extensive. There is a Covid second wave in Pak but I don't think serial production would even start in Pak until the prototype testing has finished, and it doesn't look like it has at CAC. As Siege and Ougoah mentioned though, there are probably multiple factors at work.
 

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