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Bltizo

Lieutenant General
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Using the FC-31 as a basis for a next-generation naval fighter is different from directly injecting cash into the FC-31 program. So unless the PLAAF goes for the FC-31 the development of the J-35 won't have too much of an impact on its appeal to the PAF.

The closest Chinese combat aircraft to the Rafale is still the J-10C, and it also happens to be the only newer-generation platform available for export other than the FC-31.
Yeah, if I were the PAF and I was thinking about buying J-10Cs, I'd probably rather spend that money on buying more Block III JF-17s instead. Adding on a separate logistics chain for what would likely be a relatively small number of J-10Cs for the capability it provides vis a vis JF-17 probably isn't worth it.


In the longer term, PAF will obviously need a 5th generation fighter, and I think FC-31 has a good chance of being a basis for that.
But let's not get too hung up over what exact path it could take.
Yes, obviously the chances of PAF directly adopting the FC-31 we've seen SAC testing over the last few years isn't going to happen.
If any nation adopts the FC-31 outside of China, it will be a variant derived from an in-service variant that the PLA itself has adopted.

.... that is to say, I can see the PAF adopting a variant of the J-XY (which the PLA will be fully funding development and procurement of) perhaps with some changes like removing the foldable wings and reinforced landing gear (e.g.: an "F/A-18L" to the J-XY's "F/A-18". Or perhaps PAF might even just adopt the J-XY wholesale with minimal changes in avionics -- there's a precedent for that after all, with carrier based fighters being sold to customers for exclusive land based use.
 

SinoSoldier

Colonel
But the J-10C is, at best, the same generation as the Rafale and doesn't really bring anything revolutionary to the PAF especially with the JF-17 block III gaining AESA and possibly PL-15.
Yeah, but it's readily available unlike both the JF-17 Block III and the FC-31.
The PAF doesn't need something from a newer generation to counter five measly Rafales if its pilots can exploit the strengths of the J-10C which still outstrips any existing PAF fighter platform in terms of capability.
 

SinoSoldier

Colonel
Yeah, if I were the PAF and I was thinking about buying J-10Cs, I'd probably rather spend that money on buying more Block III JF-17s instead. Adding on a separate logistics chain for what would likely be a relatively small number of J-10Cs for the capability it provides vis a vis JF-17 probably isn't worth it.


In the longer term, PAF will obviously need a 5th generation fighter, and I think FC-31 has a good chance of being a basis for that.
But let's not get too hung up over what exact path it could take.
Yes, obviously the chances of PAF directly adopting the FC-31 we've seen SAC testing over the last few years isn't going to happen.
If any nation adopts the FC-31 outside of China, it will be a variant derived from an in-service variant that the PLA itself has adopted.

.... that is to say, I can see the PAF adopting a variant of the J-XY (which the PLA will be fully funding development and procurement of) perhaps with some changes like removing the foldable wings and reinforced landing gear (e.g.: an "F/A-18L" to the J-XY's "F/A-18". Or perhaps PAF might even just adopt the J-XY wholesale with minimal changes in avionics -- there's a precedent for that after all, with carrier based fighters being sold to customers for exclusive land based use.
I can see the FC-31 as part of the PAF's long-term goal of modernizing its fighter force, perhaps in conjunction or competition with their homegrown Azm program. Funding will obviously be a major point of debate among Pakistani politicians and brass.

But if the PAF is significantly concerned about the arrival of Rafales and imminently requires a counterforce, purchasing or leasing J-10Cs is the quickest and most reasonable way to close the tech gap. The JF-17 Block III and whatever FC-31 derivative we're proposing are all but vaporware at this point.

I don't see the two being mutually exclusive, but if the PAF indeed goes for the FC-31 it wouldn't be because of the immediate threat posed by the Rafales.

It would be easier for the PAF to go for a FC-31-derived platform than a J-35-derived one.
 

siegecrossbow

Brigadier
Staff member
Super Moderator
Yeah, but it's readily available unlike both the JF-17 Block III and the FC-31.
The PAF doesn't need something from a newer generation to counter five measly Rafales if its pilots can exploit the strengths of the J-10C which still outstrips any existing PAF fighter platform in terms of capability.
Last post since I feel like we are derailing the thread:

Pakistan does not have an unlimited military budget. Every buck they spend must count. It is better for them to wait one or two decades for genuine fifth gen capabilities than wasting money on a stop gag now. The fact that PLAN will invest in a variant of FC-31 as a carrier jet means that the project isn't just vaporware.
 

Bltizo

Lieutenant General
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I can see the FC-31 as part of the PAF's long-term goal of modernizing its fighter force, perhaps in conjunction or competition with their homegrown Azm program. Funding will obviously be a major point of debate among Pakistani politicians and brass.

But if the PAF is significantly concerned about the arrival of Rafales and imminently requires a counterforce, purchasing or leasing J-10Cs is the quickest and most reasonable way to close the tech gap. The JF-17 Block III and whatever FC-31 derivative we're proposing are all but vaporware at this point.

I don't see the two being mutually exclusive, but if the PAF indeed goes for the FC-31 it wouldn't be because of the immediate threat posed by the Rafales.

It would be easier for the PAF to go for a FC-31-derived platform than a J-35-derived one.
Hold up, what?

How is the JF-17 Block III vaporware?
As far as inducting an AESA equipped 4+ generation fighter goes, the JF-17 Block III is perfectly fine for meeting those requirements in a way that doesn't strain PAF logistics chain and introducing an entirely different type of aircraft into their fleet.
The PAF's plan for inducting Block III JF-17s was to receive all 50 of their current order by 2024... COVID might push things to the right a little bit, but probably not by much.
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Unless you're saying that the PAF needs to receive a 4+ generation fighter with AESA and more capable BVRAAMs literally ASAP in which cost and logistics was a secondary and tertiary concern... but that's not the way military forces do procurement.

India's order for its Rafales were only finalized and confirmed in 2016 with the delivery schedule roughly known back then.

PAF had four years to prepare -- if they were going to buy something off the shelf to "counter" Rafale then they would have begun working on it ages ago, not literally once Rafales touched down in India...
 

timepass

Brigadier
Posts moved



Hold up, what?

How is the JF-17 Block III vaporware?
As far as inducting an AESA equipped 4+ generation fighter goes, the JF-17 Block III is perfectly fine for meeting those requirements in a way that doesn't strain PAF logistics chain and introducing an entirely different type of aircraft into their fleet.
The PAF's plan for inducting Block III JF-17s was to receive all 50 of their current order by 2024... COVID might push things to the right a little bit, but probably not by much.
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

Unless you're saying that the PAF needs to receive a 4+ generation fighter with AESA and more capable BVRAAMs literally ASAP in which cost and logistics was a secondary and tertiary concern... but that's not the way military forces do procurement.

India's order for its Rafales were only finalized and confirmed in 2016 with the delivery schedule roughly known back then.

PAF had four years to prepare -- if they were going to buy something off the shelf to "counter" Rafale then they would have begun working on it ages ago, not literally once Rafales touched down in India...
Exactly that's what I said in my earlier post that J10C is not going to bring any major leaps to JF17 (blk 3) to counter Rafale .... but there is big hype in local social/electronic media about J10C....


But.... J10C will not bring any major leap in PAF other then range as JF17 - blk3 are having all the necessary toys ..... however, if J10 can offer the following then it will defiantly complement PAF...
  • More Powerful Power plant
  • CFTs
  • Wingtip hard points
Remember PAF hold/Canceled the deal (36 - FC20s) which was inked in 2010 by Musharaf, citing the above reasons + Indian MRCA acquisitions (at that time).
 

SinoSoldier

Colonel
Last post since I feel like we are derailing the thread:

Pakistan does not have an unlimited military budget. Every buck they spend must count. It is better for them to wait one or two decades for genuine fifth gen capabilities than wasting money on a stop gag now. The fact that PLAN will invest in a variant of FC-31 as a carrier jet means that the project isn't just vaporware.
Well that would depend on how urgent the situation is in the PAF's eyes, wouldn't it? The PAF could always look ahead and wait for a more advanced fighter platform down the line but sometimes the shift in airpower balance warrants a much more expedited response.

And I don't think they're mutually exclusive at this point. The PAF could lease or purchase a few off-the-shelf J-10Cs and simply have the FC-31/Azm procurement deadline extended by a year or two.
 

SinoSoldier

Colonel
Posts moved



Hold up, what?

How is the JF-17 Block III vaporware?
As far as inducting an AESA equipped 4+ generation fighter goes, the JF-17 Block III is perfectly fine for meeting those requirements in a way that doesn't strain PAF logistics chain and introducing an entirely different type of aircraft into their fleet.
The PAF's plan for inducting Block III JF-17s was to receive all 50 of their current order by 2024... COVID might push things to the right a little bit, but probably not by much.
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

Unless you're saying that the PAF needs to receive a 4+ generation fighter with AESA and more capable BVRAAMs literally ASAP in which cost and logistics was a secondary and tertiary concern... but that's not the way military forces do procurement.

India's order for its Rafales were only finalized and confirmed in 2016 with the delivery schedule roughly known back then.

PAF had four years to prepare -- if they were going to buy something off the shelf to "counter" Rafale then they would have begun working on it ages ago, not literally once Rafales touched down in India...
The JF-17 Block III is in its very early stages of initial flight testing, with its first "prototype" - which I'd call a tech demonstrator more than anything else - being nothing but an empty airframe devoid of any of its intended subsystems. The project is currently at the same stage that the J-20 program was back in early 2011. We've heard rumors - scratch that, official statements - regarding the appearance of a second "more developed" prototype in May but that obviously never materialized. I don't think many people realistically believe that it could go into production in 2021, something that was predicted by official and unofficial sources throughout the PAF.

FC-31 might make headway in 2021 with the J-35 prototype but it's going to take years and years before a PAF-specific derivative could be developed and built.

So we're looking at roughly at least a couple of years before any sort of technological progress can be made and at a minimum a decade or more before they could get a fighter that has a definitive and significant edge over the Rafale.

The J-10C may very well could be what the PAF has prepared. They've exercised with it during the Shaheen maneuvers in the preceding years and it might've been part of their plan all along. The reason why it's a reasonable choice is because it allows the PAF to counter the Rafales without much of a delay while still allowing some financial and logistical breathing room for future FC-31s.
 

SinoSoldier

Colonel
Exactly that's what I said in my earlier post that J10C is not going to bring any major leaps to JF17 (blk 3) to counter Rafale .... but there is big hype in local social/electronic media about J10C....
Being a bigger platform, the J-10C inherently would have a greater range and weapons load. Its radar is also larger than the KLJ-7A slated for the Block III and the greater internal space allows for more ECM/EW equipment.

The J-10C, more importantly, is and off-the-shelf product whereas we haven't even seen the second JF-17 Block III prototype at this point.
 

Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
The JF-17 Block III is in its very early stages of initial flight testing, with its first "prototype" - which I'd call a tech demonstrator more than anything else - being nothing but an empty airframe devoid of any of its intended subsystems. The project is currently at the same stage that the J-20 program was back in early 2011. We've heard rumors - scratch that, official statements - regarding the appearance of a second "more developed" prototype in May but that obviously never materialized. I don't think many people realistically believe that it could go into production in 2021, something that was predicted by official and unofficial sources throughout the PAF.

FC-31 might make headway in 2021 with the J-35 prototype but it's going to take years and years before a PAF-specific derivative could be developed and built.

So we're looking at roughly at least a couple of years before any sort of technological progress can be made and at a minimum a decade or more before they could get a fighter that has a definitive and significant edge over the Rafale.

The J-10C may very well could be what the PAF has prepared. They've exercised with it during the Shaheen maneuvers in the preceding years and it might've been part of their plan all along. The reason why it's a reasonable choice is because it allows the PAF to counter the Rafales without much of a delay while still allowing some financial and logistical breathing room for future FC-31s.
Comparing JF-17 Block III with J-20 is a bit much -- JF-17 Block III features a variety of improvements yes, however its improvements are mostly via its avionics, with minimal structural improvements.

I expect Block III's development course to be more like J-10B or even J-10C length.


Now, I don't have anything fundamentally against the idea of PAF buying J-10Cs, but I think you need to articulate when you think PAF could start to receive J-10Cs if they placed an order versus when you think PAF could start receiving JF-17 Block IIIs.

If the goal is to have an AESA equipped fighter with provisions for more capable BVR missiles sooner rather than later -- just how much earlier do you think J-10Cs could provide that capability versus just proceeding along with JF-17 Block III?
One year? Two years? Three?

Because the PAF isn't exactly swimming in money either, and introducing an entirely new type of 4+ generation fighter (J-10C) with many qualitative features that will be present on the 4+ generation fighter they've already committed to (Block III), just so they can get those 4+ generation capabilities a year or two faster... is that really a wise investment?



As for FC-31, yes, it goes without saying that PAF won't be getting a J-XY/FC-31 derived fighter anywhere earlier than the late 2020s, or perhaps even later than that.
... But they have an order for 50 Block IIIs that will be fulfilled by mid this decade or a bit later, and their Block I and II JF-17s also have viable upgrade paths offered by AVIC if PAF wants it.
They're not exactly short of cost effective options.
 

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