According to global times report, The latest, upgraded version of the JF-17 fighter jet has recently been spotted equipped with China’s most advanced air-to-air combat missile that is also used by China’s J-20 stealth aircraft.
An image has emerged in online forums showing that a second Block III prototype of the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex/Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (PAC/CAIG) JF-17 Thunder/FC-1 Xiaolong multirole combat aircraft has been built. The photograph, which was first published on 27 April on the Airliners.net website, shows the prototype during flight bearing number ‘3001’ and carrying what appeared to be two PL-10E short-range air-to-air missiles (AAMs), marking the first time a JF-17 has been seen armed with the infrared (IR)-guided weapon.
This is the first time the aircraft with this particular serial number has been seen by the general public, and a PL-10 air-to-air combat missile can be seen on the tip of each of its wings, the report said, without revealing the date and location.
As the short-range combat missile also used by China’s most advanced J-20 stealth fighter jet and others, the PL-10 represents the highest level of its kind, and previous JF-17s are equipped with the old PL-5, eastday.com reported.
Observers said that the PL-10 equipped by the JF-17 Block 3 is likely an export variation, the PL-10E, which made its debut at the Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai, South China’s Guangdong Province.
The PL-10E is a domestically developed, fourth generation air-to-air missile, and is one of the most advanced in the world that is on par with the US’AIM-9X, Liang Xiaogeng, chief designer of the missile, told the Global Times on the sidelines of the exhibition in 2018.
Thanks to its infrared-homing, extreme aerodynamic design and other advanced technologies, no aircraft, even stealth ones, can escape from the PL-10, eastday.com reported, also citing Liang.
With the PL-10, the JF-17 Block 3 will gain tremendous dogfight capability and have an edge even against its heavier opposing counterparts in homeland air defense, a Beijing-based military expert told the Global Times on Thursday, requesting anonymity.
In addition to the PL-10, the JF-17 Block 3 also received a more advanced radar, as China Central Television reported on Saturday that the fighter jet is equipped with the KLJ-7A airborne active electronically scanned array fire control radar.
The radar is of the most advanced level in the world, Hu Mingchun, director of the No.14 Research Institute at the state-owned China Electronics Technology Group Co, told the Global Times at the 9th World Radar Expo in Nanjing, East China’s Jiangsu Province, last week.
The first JF-17 Block 3 prototype, with serial number “3000”, was taken into the skies for the first time in December 2019 in Chengdu, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, Beijing-based Aerospace Knowledge magazine reported at that time.
Other technologies, including a new and larger holographic wide-angle head-up display and integrated cockpit display similar to the one used by the J-20, in addition to an advanced infrared missile approach warning system used by the J-10C, J-16 and J-20 fighter jets, are also used on the JF-17 Block 3, Aerospace Knowledge said.
The JF-17 Block 3 will be one of the world’s most powerful light fighter jets, experts said.
The Block 1 and 2 versions of the JF-17 can also use new radars and missiles for upgrades, analysts said.