Pakistan believes that the performance of the JF-17 is equivalent to the Su-30MKI, MiG-29 and Mirage 2000 fighters of their rival, India.
The Pakistan Air Force recognizes that the JF-17’s combat and maintenance costs are very high compared to modern fighters, so it is necessary to reduce it more. Under the contract, the JF-17 localization rate of the Pakistani aviation complex is 58%, but it is far from reaching this rate.
Pakistan buys raw materials and key components of the aircraft from China and assembles it into the domestic JF-17. Pakistan can only manufacture a few parts such as the wings, the front fuselage and the tail, but it has to import materials from China. Most of the JF-17 components are made in China, South Africa, and Eastern Europe. Only the ejection seat belongs to Martin Baker of England.
Since entering service in 2009, the Pakistan Air Force has been equipped with 115 JF-17s. The much-anticipated, two-seat training model was officially introduced in December 2020.
There are currently 5 squadrons of JF-17s in service with the Pakistani Air Force. Currently, the JF-17 has two improved models (Block 1 and 2) and a more advanced Block 3 model. In December 2020, PAC began serial production of a technologically more advanced Block 3 version of the aircraft with improved radar and avionics, a more powerful engine, electronic countermeasures, and enhanced weapons capability.
In principle, modern fighters should be equipped with reliable systems to minimize maintenance requirements. The fighter’s performance is assessed by its avionics, weapons and engines. In terms of data processing, the JF-17’s domestic Link-17 is not only unreliable, it does not have a sufficient data transfer rate and cannot integrate with the Link-16 of the F-16 fighter.
The core of the JF-17 avionics system is the KLJ-7AL radar and the fire control computer. The KLJ-7 radar has a variety of modes, but there are major operational and maintenance problems, and the failure rate of the radar is very high. Many modules of the JF-17’s fire control computer are not working reliably, so Pakistan is currently trying to use domestic fire-controlled computers.