The Pakistan Air Force is in focus once again after Indian fighter bombers sneaked inside Pakistan airspace to bomb a terrorist camp at Balakot in the event of the century about 60 km from the line of control (LOC) in Kashmir. This is the second incident as a few years back US Navy Seals had entered Pakistan to eliminate the terrorist Osama Bin Laden who had been given a safe house by Pakistan which has resolutions tabled for stopping all aid to it. The Pakistan Air Defense system needed an urgent upgrade.

Sputnik News has now reported that the JF-17, a fighter-bomber jointly developed by China and Pakistan will be getting some new upgrades, that will make the aircraft a more potent weapons system.

Upgrading

This news of upgrading the Thunder comes amid reports that an F-16 was lost in a dog fight with an Indian MIG. One Indian MIG was also shot down, and the pilot who baled out was taken POW but subsequently released.

Yang Wei who is the Jets chief designer has stated at a press conference on Friday that the JF-17 also called the Thunder would be upgraded with an active electronically scanned radar and a new helmet-mounted display and sight system.

JF-17 Thunder

The JF-17 is similar in looks to the F-16 which was used by Pakistan to intercept the Indian warplanes. The Economic Times has reported that the Pakistan Air force mostly uses the JF-17 as the people's army air force is using more advanced planes like the Sukhoi and homegrown fifth-generation fighters. The JF-17 Thunder is currently in competition with the Indian manufactured Tejas jet fighter and South Korea's FA-50.

The JF-17 has been under development since 2007 and is jointly produced by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex(PAC) and the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation(CAC).

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Military

The plane is being marketed abroad to other countries, and as per reports, it is under active consideration along with India's Tejas by the Malaysian Air Force.

The Thunder could be a cheaper version of the F-16 and Pakistan has confirmed that it has been used to fire an indigenously manufactured smart missile. China considers Pakistan its all-time friend and to help the country counter the recent deal of India for the S-400 missile system has offered armed drones to take on the new Indian weapon system.

Last word

The JF-17 has a similar look to the F-16 but performance wise its not a match to the US plane. Never the less the new up gradation of radar and fly by wire systems will enhance the fighting capability of the plane. It remains to be seen how skillful the PAF pilots are in operating the plane.

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