Pakistan’s JF-17 Blunder Aircraft Crashed Due To Metal Fatigue And Russian-made Engine Failure

A Pakistan Air Force (PAF) JF-17 Block 2 fighter jet crashed last week, with the pilot ejecting safely.

Social media often mocks the JF-17, calling it a blunder instead of JF-17 Thunder, for its unreliability and the structural problem of the Chinese-made airframe. Metal fatigue is the primary reason Pakistan quietly grounded earlier generations of block 1 aircraft.

Ejection seat manufacturer Martin-Baker reported the June 5 incident on Tuesday, attributing it to a technical glitch and metal fatigue.

According to the Uxbridge-based firm, it happened in Punjab province’s Jhang district. However, the PAF has yet to acknowledge the crash.

Pakistani media has also been silent on the incident, of which a purported video has been circulating on social media since last week. Martin Baker reportedly relies on operator data to confirm ejections.

According to the company, the ejection seat has saved 7,723 lives since the first live ejection test in 1945.

This is the fourth known crash of the aircraft, and the most recent since 2021. An estimated 152 JF-17s have been inducted into the PAF since 2007, including 18 of the latest Block 3.

China and Pakistan jointly developed the aircraft for the PAF. Costing around $25 million, the platform has intended export potential as a cheaper alternative to Western fighter jets.

The aircraft has been sold to Nigeria, Myanmar, Azerbaijan, and most recently to Iraq for $1.8 billion.


The jet can carry a payload of up to 3,600 kilograms (7,936 pounds) and has seven hard points to carry a range of weapons, including air-to-air, air-to-ground, and anti-ship missiles.

With a combat range of 1,350 kilometers (839 miles) and a maximum speed of Mach 1.6, its primary objective is interception, not long-range missions.

The JF-17 Thunder combat aircraft was jointly developed by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and China’s Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corp. After its first flight in 2003, JF-17 airframes were initially produced solely in China. Presently, Pakistan manufactures 58 percent of the aircraft, with the remaining 42 percent produced in China.

The JF-17 Thunder is a single-engine, lightweight, multi-role combat aircraft with a Chinese airframe and Western avionics powered by a Russian engine. PAC Kamra has delivered nearly 120 JF-17 Block I and II fighter jets to the PAF since 2009.

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