The JF-17 is a low-cost, single-engine, light multirole fighter jointly developed by China and Pakistan that can perform a variety of missions

Defense experts say that, compared to fighters of Western countries, although the JF-17 fighter is much cheaper, about a quarter of the price of an American F-16V sold to Taiwan or Bulgaria; it’s even cheaper than America’s decommissioned F-16As. But JF-17 over the years, still has no customers, due to very low quality.

Nigeria is facing a growing insurgency by Boko Haram. President Buhari is actively equipping his air force with more fighters to deal with these dangerous terrorist organizations. In the past 5 years, the Nigerian Armed Forces have put into service 10 Pakistani MFI-17 trainers, 5 Russian Mi-35M armed helicopters, 2 US Bell 412 helicopters, 4 Italian A109 helicopters, etc.

Nigeria Received JF-17
Nigeria Received JF-17

Regarding fighters, Nigeria has yet to make any purchases after the deal of J-7MG fighters from China in 2010. This was a copy of the Soviet MiG-21. In the two years since its purchase, the Nigerian Air Force has lost three J-7MGs. These planes are now only used for training and not for other missions.

Talking about the JF-17, this is actually an improved version of the MiG-21 developed by a joint venture between China and Pakistan. Although Pakistan is an aircraft manufacturing country, the materials and components of the JF-17 are supplied by China. Some other important parts include the RD-93 engine imported from Russia and the ejection seat from the UK.

As soon as the JF-17 was born, China announced that it would not use this fighter. It is mainly for equipping Pakistan and exporting to third world countries, especially in Africa and South Asia. In the service of the Pakistani Air Force, the JF-17 also only plays a reserve role for the F-16 fighters that the country bought from the US in the 1980s and early 1990s. Many JF-17s were left on the ground because of cracked shells and engine problems.

The core of the JF-17’s avionics is the KLJ-7AL radar and fire control computer manufactured by China’s Nanjing electronics company. The KLJ-7 radar has a rather high failure rate. Many modules of the JF-17’s fire control computer work unreliably, so Pakistan is now trying to use domestic fire control computers.

In terms of weapons, the JF-17 is only equipped with SD-10 air-to-air missiles and China’s C-801AK anti-ship missiles. Currently, the Pakistani military is trying to integrate the JF-17 with other Chinese weapons, but with little success. The JF-17’s 23mm cannon also frequently malfunctioned.

One of the main causes of the JF-17’s poor performance is the Russian RD-93 engine, which has repeatedly failed and has poor reliability. There were cracks on the propeller, exhaust nozzle and engine housing. Pakistan Air Force, have repeatedly expressed serious concerns about the quality of the engines and the high maintenance costs.

As a country with the highest population in Africa and a relatively developed economy, Nigerian militaries themselves question whether they should rely on “a third world country” as a source of key weapons and equipment? After the scandalous J-7MG deal, many people are also questioning the reliability of the JF-17 fighter, while rivals such as Egypt, South Africa, Ethiopia and other countries are buying modern fighter jets from France, USA, Germany, Israel and Russia.


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