Induction ceremony of JF-17B Thunder in Pakistan Air Force


This tandem-seat trainer version was developed at the request of Pakistani AF, which also pre-ordered the first prototype. JF-17B is believed to have been based on the JF-17 Block II configuration with a IFR probe and an LED probe light installed on the starboard side of the forward fuselage.

The aircraft features an enlarged and raised spine which creates additional space for flight instruments and fuel in order to compensate the space occupied by the rear cockpit. The aircraft also features a more swept vertical tail in order to reduce drag and to maintain the center of gravity.

A new color LED landing light was installed above the front landing gear. A more powerful cockpit environmental control system has been installed as well to accommodate two pilots. More composite materials have been used in order to reduce the weight and to strengthen the structure. JF-17B is reportedly controlled by a new 3-axis digital FBW system replacing the old analog system.

The aircraft is equipped with the same KLJ-7 PD fire-control radar and retain the same BVR as well as precision air-to-ground strike capabilities as JF-17 Block II. As the result JF-17B represents a very attractive option to foreign customers with limited budget and resources. Its length is 14.5m, height is 4.6m, TO weight is 9.4t, max external load is 4.6t. A model of the aircraft was first unveiled at the 2013 Paris Airshow by CATIC.

The development started officially in 2014. The 01 prototype of JF-17B was constructed in December 2016 and conducted its firsttaxiing test on April 21, 2017. The JF-17BBC0001 prototype conducted its maiden flight on April 27, 2017. The JF-17B 02 prototype flew for the first time on December 7, 2017.

Currently the 01 prototype (17-601) is conducting test flights at PAC with the pitot tube removed from the nose. The 03 prototype (19-603) conducted its maiden flight on August 3rd, 2018. 26 were reportedly ordered by PAF. The first batch of 8 JF-17Bs (including prototypes) were ready for delivery from PAC in late 2019. A recent image (March 2019) indicated that first customer of JF-17B turned out to be the Myanmar Air Force. So far two JF-17Bs (S/N 1706 & 1707) have been delivered to MAF.