JF-17 Block-III vs F-16 Fighting Falcon C

JF

A race JF-17 Thunder won by a mile

Pakistan
Air Force for long had been using F-16 C’s as the most elite fighters in its
arsenal, but no more. The advent of JF-17 Block III with its deadly weapons
capability and futuristic tech took Pakistan to the top. Block III variant is
going to be the most deadly fighter in the subcontinent. Pakistan is among the
few countries which successfully launched the fourth generation fighter jet
programs and completed them, Pakistan’s JF-17 Thunder is an example of that.

While
Israel’s Lavi and India’s Tejas program got lost in the wind, Pakistan, in
collaboration with China, successfully launched the most fearsome fighter jet
in Pakistan arsenal. Though Pakistan might need a heavier “Air Superiority”
fighter to counter India’s Su-30MKI, JF-17 has the capability to take on
anything Indian Air Force throws its way. The race for Pakistan is never over.
The struggle to maintain air superiority is ever going between the arch-rivals
in Subcontinent.

Pakistan’s JF-17 Block II vs F-16 C

The second
installment of Pakistan’s star-fighter, JF-17 Thunder Block II was considered
an equal to F-16 in its capabilities of aerial warfare and weapon carrying
capacity. The modern version of the American fighter, F-16 C enjoyed several
advantages at JF-17 Block-II but those came at a hefty price. F-16 C
maintenance cost is too high and it has a considerably low sortie rate.

Even then
Pakistani fighter enjoyed several other advantages at US’ top jet. JF-17 Block
II’s operational altitude is quite higher and far superior ship busting
capabilities due to the munitions it carries. The fearsome C-802 anti-ship
cruise missile is loaded in the JF-17. Moreover, there are approximately 65
F-16’s in Pakistan Air Force’s service, of which only 18 are the modern F-16 C
while all the other are the old F-16 A variants.

Before
JF-17 Block II was inducted in PAF, F-16 C formed what was Pakistan’s small
elite unit of PAF because of the fact that the A variants of F-16 in Pakistan’s
service lacked modern sensors, avionics, electronic warfare systems and a
superior air to air fighting capability. F-16 C was the most advanced fighter
PAF flew, exceeding greatly the fighting capabilities of F-16 A and by quite a
smaller margin, those of JF-17 Block II.

JF-17 Block III

In comes
the JF-17 Block III and changed the way the world looked at Pakistan’s Air
Force capabilities. Superior in every way to the most advanced fighter
currently in Pakistan’s service, F-16 C, Block III variant of JF-17 Thunder
boasts some significant improvements.

Engine

The Block
III version of the JF-17 is slated to receive the RD-93MA or Chinese WS-13
engine, while its previous version had a Chinese license-built Klimov RD-93MA
turbofan engine.

Speed

JF-17 Block
III variant can exceed the speed of Mach 2, almost 2470 km/h.

Avionics

The JF-17
Block 3’s avionics are nothing less than a state of the art. JF-17 Block III
will have a helmet-mounted display (HMD) and possibly an internal infrared
search and tracking (IRST) system. The plane boasts a full glass cockpit and a
new single panel multifunctional display.

Radar

Pakistan
negotiated with British and Italian defense firms regarding avionics and radars
for the JF-17 development. Radar options include the Italian Galileo Avionica’s
Grifo S7 the French Thomson-CSF’s RC400 (a variant of the RDY-2), and the
British company SELEX Galileo’s Vixen 500E active electronically scanned array
(AESA) radar.

Fifty
JF-17s were to be upgraded and an optional fifty from 2013 onwards, at a cost
of up to US$1.36 billion. The RC-400 radar, MICA AAMs, and several
air-to-surface weapons are believed to be in the contract. The PAF also held
talks with South Africa for the supply of Denel A-darter AAMs.

Beyond visual range capabilities

The most
significant changes in JF-17 Block III are to its beyond visual range combat
capabilities. Advantages of integrating an AESA radar not only allows the JF-17
Block 3 to detect targets at far longer ranges, and to track and lock onto more
targets simultaneously, but its is also less prone to jamming and leaves a far
lower radar signature  meaning it is both
more reliable and makes the fighter more difficult to detect.

Alongside
state of the art Chinese electronic warfare systems, and what appears to be a
radar cross-section reducing profile, a combination of modern avionics, and
AESA radar and PL-15 missiles will make the JF-17 Block 3 an extremely lethal
fighter for beyond visual range combat considerably more capable than any
fighter currently in Pakistani service including the F-16 C.

Pakistani project Azm

While JF-17
Block III variant, upon its induction, in 2022 will most likely take up the
mantle of Pakistan’s most elite fighter jet, Pakistan has entered the race of
making the 5th generation jets currently only being produced by the US, Russia,
and China.

Entering the race alone is an admirable feat for Pakistan, a country running
on a $280 billion. Pakistan’s ambitious and visionary Project Azm includes the
design and development of multiple innovative aviation projects, including the
development of the fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), unmanned aerial
vehicle (UAV), and other projects.

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