The JF-17 is advertised as a light fighter, low cost, multi-role, working in all weather conditions, according to Chinese military experts.
Pakistan has high expectations for the JF-17 fighter, with the Klimov RD-93 afterburning turbofan engine, the JF-17 will be on par with the Russian Su-30MKI, Mig-29 and the French Mirage-2000.
According to Pakistani media, the JF-17 does not meet most of the requirements in performance evaluation and in actual mission. For example, on February 27, 2019, during the Pakistan Air Force’s campaign to retaliate against India, after it attacked Pakistani gunmen. The JF-17 was believed to be less efficient than the Indian Mirage-2000 and Su-30 fighters.
The JF-17’s Link-17 data link system has been rated as unreliable. It did not provide sufficient data to the command center, and could not be compatible with the Link-16 of the US F-16 fighter. They cannot coordinate the implementation of the campaign. The JF-17 does not even have an effective air-to-air missile.
The JF-17 is hailed as the Pakistan Air Force’s best fighter, second only to the F-16, but its poor attack accuracy and limited weapon capabilities have been proven in the field.
During the campaign on February 27, 2019, all Mk-83 general-purpose bombs fitted with Range Extension Kits (REKs), were unable to hit their targets, while facing with the Indian fighters’ effective raids and jamming.
An important part of the avionics on the JF-17 is the KLJ-7 radar system and the weapon control system that both have problems, reducing the accuracy of air-to-air missiles.
One of the main reasons for the poor performance of the JF-17 is attributed to the use of the RD-93 engine, which is considered an outdated Russian engine.
Some of the other weaknesses of the JF-17 include: the aircraft’s nose landing gear was shaken and unstable. In addition, cracks in the plane’s belly have been discovered, suggesting poor manufacturing or design.