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Azerbaijan Set to Become Latest Customer of JF-17 “Thunder” Block III Fighter Jets

Geopolitically, the acquisition of the JF-17 Block III, developed by Pakistan and China, marks a victory for Beijing and Islamabad in penetrating the Central Asian arms market, previously dominated by Russian arms companies.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — Azerbaijan is reportedly in negotiations with Pakistan to acquire a number of the latest JF-17 “Thunder” Block III fighter jets in a deal estimated to be worth $1.6 billion (RM7.2 billion).

Should Azerbaijan successfully secure these JF-17 Block III aircraft, it would represent a significant triumph for the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG) of China, who have jointly developed this fighter jet.

The agreement is expected to encompass training aspects and an armament system to complement the JF-17 fighters.

According to a report by the Air Operations Syndicate, the JF-17 Block III aircraft intended for Azerbaijan will replace the MiG-29 fighter jets currently in use by the country’s air force.

Geopolitically, the acquisition of the JF-17 Block III, developed by Pakistan and China, marks a victory for Beijing and Islamabad in penetrating the Central Asian arms market, previously dominated by Russian arms companies.

Pakistan
JF-17

 

However, Azerbaijan, a nation rich in oil and gas resources, has predominantly purchased weaponry for its armed forces from countries like Turkey and Israel.

By this year or the next, the Pakistan Air Force is reported to be poised to possess about 50 JF-17 Block 3 aircraft, supplementing its current fleet of 98 JF-17 Block 1 and JF-17 Block 2 jets.

The JF-17 Block 3 fighter jet is reported to incorporate the fifth-generation fighter DNA of China’s J-20 “Mighty Dragon.”

The latest JF-17 Block 3 variant is more modern and capable, equipped with fifth-generation fighter technology from the J-20 and has been under development for the past two years.

Pakistani defense analysts have described the JF-17 Block 3 as a “game-changer” in the country’s aerial competition with its traditional rival, India.

 Among the new capabilities of the JF-17 Block 3 compared to the JF-17 Block 2 is its inclusion of the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar “KLJ-7A,” developed by the China Electronics Technology Group.

JF-17
JF-17 “Thunder”

 

 Chinese military analysts claim that the AESA KLJ-7A radar is comparable to the AN/APG-81 radar of the United States’ fifth-generation fighter, the F-35, and Russia’s Su-57’s N036 phased array radar.

For air-to-air weaponry, the JF-17 Block 3 will be equipped with two types of missiles, including the PL-10, also used by China’s most advanced fighter, the J-20 “Mighty Dragon.”

The air-to-air missile “PL-10” is a short-range missile comparable to the American-made AIM-9X.

Another air-to-air missile that complements the JF-17 Block 3 is the “PL-15,” with an operational range of 200km to 300km, offering an advantage over the air-to-air missiles possessed by Indian aircraft. — DSA

(MORE ARTICLES ABOUT JF-17 “THUNDER”)

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