JF-17 Thunder & PAF : Updates & Discussions

Ginvincible

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The Turks could provide an upgrade to the Pakistanis in the future. They are developing an aesa for their f-16's and bvr missiles too. Plus they could sell the SOM-J's to the Pakistanis
They still need US approval to modify Pakistani jets. I highly doubt it will be granted. The platform's lifespan is limited in the PAF
 

randomradio

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JF17 - R93, eventually replaced by WS-13
J-10CE - WS-10B
J-31 - WS19

That's 3 engine types for 3 models. I am assuming the Mirages, F-7s, and most of the F-16s will all be retired by the end of the decade. I really don't see F-16 blk52 in service beyond 2035 at the latest. What else am I missing?

F-7PG has a 30-year life, bought in 2002, so at least 2040. F-16 B52 will stay on until the 2050s, they are newer than the MKIs and have more life. At 50 and 18 jets each, the numbers are quite sizable. The PAF can't afford to get rid of their jets until their full useful life is over. Some older F-16s may survive until 2040 as well.

As for price controls and availability, I think China will be a much more reliable supplier compared to their Western partners. The US and France will not allow more upgrades to existing platforms since they want to further ties with India.

No way Pakistan can afford gripens or eurofighter. I really doubt Russia can afford to jeopardize its ties with India by selling fighter jets to Pakistan. Especially at this moment where India is one of two saving graces for them.

I agree that Pakistan will struggle with modernization but that's more that they are broke. But they don't really have any other options. I think the mix they chose is the best they could hope for and I suspect the Chinese subsidizethe Pakistanis at least on some level.

Oh, yeah, the Pakistanis have no real choices here. That's a good thing for us. Chinese jets are gonna need more parts, more repairs and more time on the ground than Western jets, and that's something only money can buy, which they lack. The irony. We were stuck with expensive, low availability jets for decades and now the tables have turned.

We are very likely to see anywhere between 4-12 years of Republican era in the US, they are not that friendly with Pakistan. Another disadvantage for Pakistan.

And yeah, someone else is paying the bills, not necessarily the Chinese. We sure have some characters in our immediate west. Best case, the Pakistanis are paying the bills on their own, or even better, on loans.
 
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Ginvincible

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F-7PG has a 30-year life, bought in 2002, so at least 2040. F-16 B52 will stay on until the 2050s, they are newer than the MKIs and have more life. At 50 and 18 jets each, the numbers are quite sizable. The PAF can't afford to get rid of their jets until their full useful life is over. Some older F-16s may survive until 2040 as well.
Not sure if it'll play out that way. They've reliably retired their F-7 squadrons after 29-30 years so far, if they're cash strapped and really only paying for maintenance then I don't that will change.

The 18 blk52 are the real question. If I was a PAF decision maker I wouldn't keep them much past 2035, maybe 2040. They are expensive to operate, highly susceptible to sanction and increasingly ineffective against India. By this point Indian ground based radars and awacs should be plenty. India will also posses many AESA and highly networked fighters. F-16s will never get upgrades as long as the US is trying to court India. I think F-16s really won't have much role to play beyond being missile trucks at best.

I agree with the rest though. Pakistan's biggest weakness is ultimately bad diplomacy.
 

randomradio

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Not sure if it'll play out that way. They've reliably retired their F-7 squadrons after 29-30 years so far, if they're cash strapped and really only paying for maintenance then I don't that will change.

The 18 blk52 are the real question. If I was a PAF decision maker I wouldn't keep them much past 2035, maybe 2040. They are expensive to operate, highly susceptible to sanction and increasingly ineffective against India. By this point Indian ground based radars and awacs should be plenty. India will also posses many AESA and highly networked fighters. F-16s will never get upgrades as long as the US is trying to court India. I think F-16s really won't have much role to play beyond being missile trucks at best.

I agree with the rest though. Pakistan's biggest weakness is ultimately bad diplomacy.

The F-7s are too great in numbers. But yeah, 30 years is 2042. So 2040.

They can't get rid of the F-16s. The jet's better than their JF-17s after all. They will upgrade the jet after 10 more years in order to keep up with the LCA Mk2. Then, they will have to start replacing their JF-17s from 2040. And then, they will replace their F-16s in 2055.

Of course, they can keep pushing the F-16 since it can be extended to a 12000-hour life. That's 65-75 years. F-16s will be operational globally until the 2080s. LM is currently building 128 new F-16 B70s plus 20 more in the pipeline, and Turkey has asked for 40 more, which Biden says will be cleared. That's 188 jets. Plus a few more export orders are possible, Vietnam wants F-16s. They will all need MLUs in the 2050s. So another upgrade in 2055 alongside the other jets will keep it alive until the late 2070s.

There's also a chance the USAF will build more 300 F-16s for themselves instead of their new 5-- gen plan. Even if they don't, they plan to operate F-16s until 2050.

As for sustainment, there are over 2000 or 3000 airframes around that they can cannibalize after the USAF retires all their F-16s.

Also, remember, that MLU in 2035 will give them American drones and new weapons. Plus a way to stay in America's good graces for as long as possible.

So minimum 2055 (8000 hours) or at least 2075 (12000 hours).
 

Ginvincible

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Of course, they can keep pushing the F-16 since it can be extended to a 12000-hour life. That's 65-75 years. F-16s will be operational globally until the 2080s. LM is currently building 128 new F-16 B70s plus 20 more in the pipeline, and Turkey has asked for 40 more, which Biden says will be cleared. That's 188 jets. Plus a few more export orders are possible, Vietnam wants F-16s. They will all need MLUs in the 2050s. So another upgrade in 2055 alongside the other jets will keep it alive until the late 2070s.

There's also a chance the USAF will build more 300 F-16s for themselves instead of their new 5-- gen plan. Even if they don't, they plan to operate F-16s until 2050.

As for sustainment, there are over 2000 or 3000 airframes around that they can cannibalize after the USAF retires all their F-16s.

Also, remember, that MLU in 2035 will give them American drones and new weapons. Plus a way to stay in America's good graces for as long as possible.

So minimum 2055 (8000 hours) or at least 2075 (12000 hours).
Again, this is all dependent on the US allowing for more than simple sustainment packages. My thought is thr US will not allow newer engines/aesa/munitions/etc. It would be way too provocative towards India as long as they seek closer defense ties vis a vis China. I really doubt Pakistani F-16s will get serious upgrades that will allow them to be competitive against Indian frames.

The F-7s are too great in numbers. But yeah, 30 years is 2042. So 2040.
2002 + 30years = 2032. I think you're thinking of Bangladesh which got F-7s sometime in the 2010s.
 
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randomradio

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Again, this is all dependent on the US allowing for more than simple sustainment packages. My thought is thr US will not allow newer engines/aesa/munitions/etc. It would be way too provocative towards India as long as they seek closer defense ties vis a vis China. I really doubt Pakistani F-16s will get serious upgrades that will allow them to be competitive against Indian frames.

The US will allow it citing balance of power. By 2035, the IAF will be operating both Rafale F5 and AMCA, perhaps even a stopgap F-35/Su-57, so an F-16 upgrade is not gonna be any different from the F-16 B40 MLU. We will definitely create problems for other benefits though, and that will allow it to go through.

Alternatively, the PAF will ask Turkey to upgrade and maintain their jets. Basically, the jets are not going anywhere. Even if nobody upgrades it, the airframe has enough life to sustain operations until the 2050s.

2002 + 30years = 2032. I think you're thinking of Bangladesh which got F-7s sometime in the 2010s.

Yep. My bad. I had 2042 stuck in my head as the exit date for all F-7s from the subcontinent. BD got theirs in 2012.
 
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Parthu

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There's a new 11-12T WS-19 engine with supercruise and 3D TVC.


WS-13 was made for the JF-17.

We'll see if PAF actually ends up going for this. Pakistan isn't known to go for unproven stuff within their limited options if they can avoid it. Case in point, RD-93s for JF and Ukrainian engines for Al-Khalid.

If I'm not wrong (haven't researched this, just going off on intuition) - the higher thrust WS19 was developed to fit within the WS13 framework because the J-35 has to operate from Carriers and the WS13 wasn't offering enough thrust to deliver on the payload requirements of PLAN. But in order to deliver that extra thrust it's likely they made tradeoffs reducing the longevity (& probably reliability) of the engine. The tradeoff might work for PLAN as they probably don't plan on riding their jets as hard as even PLAAF would (let alone PAF or IAF)

But I'm not sure if PAF will be comfortable with that.

If they're smart they'll request RD-93MAs instead.

The Mig-29 is way, way behind compared to the modern era. Even if the J-31 doesn't meet the most modern requirements, it will still be at a level enough to sustain a protracted air campaign, at least far better than the current lot of MKIs, never mind the Migs.

We built the MKI fleet over decades of fine tuning the logistics & sustainment network. Nobody rides (and sustains) the Flankers like we do. Definitely not PLAAF, even with the J-16.

A logistics network for a jet powered by any non-Western engine simply doesn't get better than what IAF has built for the MKI.

I really, REALLY doubt the J-31 can change that.

At the very least, the US expects it to outmatch all the American Teens, so that's saying something.

Like I said, it will retain an advantage in look-first/shoot-first thanks to IWBs but I doubt it's better as a platform to sustain.

I'd bet that over a protracted period, even the Tejas can put up way more sorties than the J-31 can. And that's before we take into consideration any additional complications introduced by maintaining the LO airframe.

It's likely PAF knows this and likely won't expect the J-31 to successfully operate for long beyond the opening stages of the conflict, as their airbases are all well within our reach anyway. But it's likely to give them an advantage early on - and that's probably why they're going for it.

The basic capabilities of the J-35 will be far superior to the TEDBF as well.

On the naval front, I agree. Though a lot of it comes down to TEDBF flying off STOBAR going up against a CAT-launched J-35.
 

randomradio

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We'll see if PAF actually ends up going for this. Pakistan isn't known to go for unproven stuff within their limited options if they can avoid it. Case in point, RD-93s for JF and Ukrainian engines for Al-Khalid.

If I'm not wrong (haven't researched this, just going off on intuition) - the higher thrust WS19 was developed to fit within the WS13 framework because the J-35 has to operate from Carriers and the WS13 wasn't offering enough thrust to deliver on the payload requirements of PLAN. But in order to deliver that extra thrust it's likely they made tradeoffs reducing the longevity (& probably reliability) of the engine. The tradeoff might work for PLAN as they probably don't plan on riding their jets as hard as even PLAAF would (let alone PAF or IAF)

But I'm not sure if PAF will be comfortable with that.

If they're smart they'll request RD-93MAs instead.

WS-13/19, F404/414, EJ200, RD-33/93, Kaveri etc are all in the same size and weight class. I don't know how the WS-13 is related to the WS-19, but the WS-19 is a 5th gen engine. It comes with stealth augmentors, IR suppression and TVC, not to mention higher thrust. It should also have a longer lifespan. So at least they are not in the same generation. Or the WS-13 will have to receive the WS-19 upgrades too.

The PAF was wise for selecting the RD-93 for the JF-17 initially, would have been pretty dumb to go for the WS-13 as the only operator. But now the WS-13/19 may be engine choices for both the JF-17 and J-31.

There are some reports about PAF choosing WS-13 for future orders of the JF-17 over the RD-93MA though.

We built the MKI fleet over decades of fine tuning the logistics & sustainment network. Nobody rides (and sustains) the Flankers like we do. Definitely not PLAAF, even with the J-16.

A logistics network for a jet powered by any non-Western engine simply doesn't get better than what IAF has built for the MKI.

I really, REALLY doubt the J-31 can change that.

These things are relative, both to the jets you have and the adversary in question.

So the MKI requires 32 hours of maintenance for every flight hour, and the comparative figure for the F-16 is 17 hours. That's half. The Block 52s could be better. The upgraded Mig-29 requires 11 hours. And Rafale requires 8 hours. So the J-31 could be aiming for this spot.

But relatively, the Gripen E requires just 3 hours and LCA Mk2 could match that. The F-35 requires 5 hours. The Rafale F5 may also match these numbers.

So there's been a shift. Mig-21 needed 50 hours, Mig-27 needed 20 hours and PAF fighters needed 17 hours for the F-16 and 10 hours for the Mirage. Only our Mirages could match theirs. But now our jets would need 3-5 hours of maintenance to their 10+.

And this doesn't even fully consider the life of the airframe and spares. For example, the LCAs may end their service lives with just 1 hot core replacement during MLUs. And Rafale can sustain surge operations for a month. They will fall miserably short there. But the J-31 should provide enough capability to match the M2000's availability, never mind the Mig-29 or MKI.

None of these numbers are concrete, but given the size and weight class of jets, taking into account generation, they can all be classified similar to each other, so the MKI's gonna have to be judged quite a bit more harshly for that, even post MLU.

I'd actually say that by 2025, the MKIs would be the worst jet flying in the subcontinent in terms of sustainability.

We should assume that the J-31 will match the Rafale during the first 4 days of a conflict.

Like I said, it will retain an advantage in look-first/shoot-first thanks to IWBs but I doubt it's better as a platform to sustain.

I'd bet that over a protracted period, even the Tejas can put up way more sorties than the J-31 can. And that's before we take into consideration any additional complications introduced by maintaining the LO airframe.

It's likely PAF knows this and likely won't expect the J-31 to successfully operate for long beyond the opening stages of the conflict, as their airbases are all well within our reach anyway. But it's likely to give them an advantage early on - and that's probably why they're going for it.

All upcoming Indian jets will produce more sorties than the J-31. So this is what I'm getting at. The J-31 will sustain ops better than the Mig-29 and MKI, but PAF giving up Western jets means they give up on Western advantages of even higher sustainability.

Anyway, by the time the J-31s arrive, the Mig-29s will be gone, so who cares? But the jet will most definitely provide more bang for the buck than the MKI. And if we screw up our modernization, then we are in trouble.

On the naval front, I agree. Though a lot of it comes down to TEDBF flying off STOBAR going up against a CAT-launched J-35.

We need supersonic bombers carrying long range AShMs before the Chinese get 3-4 flattops.

Thankfully naval battles are mostly long range now.
 

Ashwin

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Hydra

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@randomradio whats the detection range of Phalcon & Netra.
 

randomradio

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MS Sandhu

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Nah the j-20's have been banned for export by the CCP. Only the j-31's will come. The issue is the Pakistanis get the rd-93 /ws-13 version of the j-31 or the ws-19 version. The j-10's are to force us to position the rafales along pak airspace. They have ordered 36 j-10CE's. The Chinese can focus on Japan,SEA and North East by forcing us to position rafales in the west. It's a game of Go tbf. They don't care if the Pakistanis fly them,crash them or don't even use them. They just want to dump enough hardware so that we are focused on the Pakistanis rather than the chongs.
Chinese are not really that generous when it comes to money
They don't have US like Strategic Partner Building Approach.
India is a growing Economy
With a stable & rich middle class in future,Chinese Companies have more to benefit from India instead of Pakistan.