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Pakistan upgrades to JF-17, aims to counter India’s S-400 air defence system

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Islamabad: After Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan returned from China, the acquisition of 50 JF-17 multi-role combat aircraft by Islamabad is being pitched to take on India’s S-400 air defence system due to its stealth characteristics. This is nothing but domestic chauvinism on part of Pakistan which is totally devoid of facts.

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The airframe of block III single-engine JF 17 fighter is said to be built with composite material to give its stealth features required to evade the air defence system of the adversary and target high-value assets. Even the indigenous Tejas fighter has 45 per cent composite material but does that mean that it can take on two S-400 systems which the Chinese PLA have deployed across Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh respectively? The JF-17 is powered by the same Russian RD 33 engine, which is used by Indian MiG-29 air defence fighters and often suffer flame-outs.

The S-400 system is not only about shooting enemy planes from the skies. It is about giving trans-border visibility up to a depth of nearly 300 kilometres into the enemy plain territory. This means that Pakistan Air Force cannot fly its airborne early warning systems and deep penetration radars as the S-400 missiles will take them down in the event of hostilities. As a result of which the Pakistani JF -17 fighters will be fighting without the support of AWACS and dated Chinese radars. The only exception to this scenario is high mountain terrain which is present only in union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer said Pakistan had a fleet of the state-of-the-art JF-17 thunder aircraft which carried all specifications of any advanced fighter jet.

He said Pakistan was at the top among 10 countries having a fleet of the JF-17 lightweight, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft, and added that the country’s defence was impregnable and had the capability to meet all challenges.

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Tanveer said Pakistan was in contact with the US for delivery of F-16 aircraft, and in case the deal did not materialise, it would approach other countries for the purpose.

The federal minister went on to say that the country was in talks with Russia for acquiring MI-35 helicopters and expressed optimism that positive development will take place in upcoming months.

MI-35 is the upgraded version of the Russia-made MI-24 attack and transport helicopter. Several countries in the world, including India, are using the helicopter which is also called “flying tank” for its fighting capability.

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