China ramps up production and export of JF-17 fighters

The first flight of JF-17 Block III.


China has ramped up production of JF-17 fighter jet, which was jointly developed with Pakistan. In the first half of 2020, the number of aircraft delivered was the most in the past five years, according to industry reports.

As of June 30, the production line of the JF-17 has on average shortened the production period of a single aircraft by 15 days compared to last year, China Aviation News, a newspaper affiliated with the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), reported last week.

The Pakistani Air Force is the main operator of JF-17 fighter jets. Myanmar also flies the Chinese-Pakistani made fighter jets.

The latest, powered-up version of the JF-17, known as the JF-17 Block 3, made its maiden flight in December 2019, the Aerospace Knowledge magazine reported then.

In March 2019, Yang Wei, chief designer of the China-Pakistan co-developed fighter jet, said development and production of the JF-17 Block 3 was underway, and the third block will see the JF-17’s Electronic Warfare (EW) capability and weapons upgraded.

The latest, powered-up version of the JF-17, known as the JF-17 Block 3, made its maiden flight in December 2019, the Aerospace Knowledge magazine reported then.

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Myanmar, Nigeria, Malaysia and Sri Lanka have also approached AVIC about purchasing the JF-17 Block 3, Yang said last year. 

The JF-17 block III, an advanced version of the JF-17 Block II, was test flown for the first time at the start of last year. Besides the engine, the key upgrade is a KLJ-7A AESA- Active electronically scanning array- radar which has already been selected from a Chinese manufacturer.

The RD-93MA engine is expected to enter fight test mode towards the end of this year which means the JF-17 Block III would enter flight tests with the RD-93MA engine sometime in 2021 at the earliest.

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