Pakistan & China’s JF-17 Fighter Program
January 9/17: Budget details proposed by the Nigerian government have revealed that their acquisition of three JF-17 fighters from Pakistan cost $15 million. A total of $68.76 million has been earmarked for various “platform acquisitions … for counter air, counter surface, air ops for strategic effect and air support operations.” Out of the remaining funds, the Nigerian Air Force is building a fleet of 12 Mil Mi-35 air assault helicopters, and are interested in adding the EMB-314 Super Tucano to bolster close air support capabilities.
The FC-1/ JF-17 Thunder is a joint Chinese-Pakistani project that aimed to reduce Pakistan’s dependence on western firms for advanced fighters, by fielding a low-cost multi-role lightweight fighter that can host modern electronics and precision-guided weapons. It isn’t a top-tier competitor, but it represents a clear step up from Pakistan’s Chinese MiG-19/21 derivatives and French Mirage III/V fighters. This positioning addresses a budget-conscious, “good enough” performance market segment that the West once dominated, but has nearly abandoned in recent decades.
Pakistan has fielded JF-17s in squadron strength, with more on order and a Block II R&D program nearing completion. India’s competing Tejas fighter is overcoming project delays by looking to foreign component sources, but Pakistan and China remain out front with their offering, even though they began their project much later than India did. Pakistan and China have even set up a joint JF-17 marketing agency to promote export sales, which hasn’t paid off as quickly as they had hoped, but it would be unwise to count them out just yet…
The JF-17 Thunder, aka. FC-1 Fierce Dragon
JF-17/FC-1: The Program
Stuck in Sichuan: The Saga
Updates and Key Events
2015 – 2017
2010 – 2014
1999 – 2009
Background: JF-17 Thunder
Background: Aircraft Ancillaries
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