JF-17 Block III Prototype successfully completed its maiden flight at the Chengdu Aerospace Corporation facilities in China.
The warplane co-manufactured by China and Japan adopted technologies from China’s advanced J-20 Fighter jet in a major electronic upgrade that has substantially enhanced its combating efficiency.
According to the analyst, the aircraft is installed with the commercial off-the-shelf technologies from the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China.
— Sahil Thakra (@SahilThakra) December 28, 2019
JF-17 Block III retained the airframe design from JF-17 Block I and II but with noticeable changes at the rear of the aircraft by vertical stabilizer, a slightly enlarged spine and the integration of sensors to the vertical stabilizer and side inlet areas. The installation of sensors is anticipated to function as radar warning receivers or missile alert warning system.
The advanced infrared missile warning system has been adopted from the J-10C, J-16, and J-20 fighter jets. The JF-17 Block III incorporates a large and wide head-up display holographic system.
Upgrades at a later stage
In the later stage, the JF-17 Block III Prototype will be equipped with radar and helmet-mounted display that is expected to be incorporated in the final prototype of JF-17 Block III.
Analysts commented that the major upgrade to the JF-17 Block III Prototype is cost-effective, will give pilots more situational awareness enable them to focus more on combat than flying.
The first glimpse of #Pakistan's most awaited lethal machine, JF-17 Block-3 prototype with headup display (HUD) and advanced Missile approach warning system (MAWS); other features are unknown. pic.twitter.com/VTgptamASr
— Dark Knight 🇵🇰 (@KnightRises_) December 28, 2019
One of the most significant upgrades to the JF-17 Block III Prototype is the replacement of the Hybrid flight control system with a three-axis digital fly-by-wire FBW suite.
In March 2019, Yang Wei, the chief designer of the China-Pakistan developed JF-17 had informed that a major upgrade of the third prototype is underway and will be incorporated with the information-warfare capability and weapons.
The #Pakistan Air Force will get 2 JF-17 Block IIIs in 2020. With the new avionics/weapons integration facility at PAC, it seems 2020 will mostly be for testing/qualification work.https://t.co/4apV5khxGL
— Quwa (@QuwaGroup) January 1, 2020
According to the Military Watch Magazine, the new fighter will revolutionize Pakistan’s aerial strike abilities. The new fighter jet is laced with an advanced active electronically scanned array, radar, new electronic warfare system, fly-by-wire digital flight control system and new helmet-mounted display and access to a range of munitions.
It is anticipated that AESA radar will overhaul the fighter’s situational awareness at the same time decreasing its radar signature to beef up survivability. The radar system is said to be more effective than anything currently in Indian service besides the passively electronically scanned array radar deployed by the Su-30MKI. Also, the long-range air-to-air munitions, such as PL-15 with a 150-Km range will overpower the existing analogs in Indian service, giving Pakistani fleet a superiority in combat.
— Zahir Saraaj (@zahirsaraaj) December 28, 2019
According to the reports, Pakistan will be acquiring 50 JF-17 Block III Prototypes with two to be completed by 2020. In the next four years until 2024, 12 fighter jets will be produced annually.