A hallmark of strength and deterrence
December 23, 2011
The picture of JF-17 Thunder on the Indian Navy’s website on December 5, 2011 has fuelled the hyper-cordiality of canon that strength alters the mind and changes the course of action. It has also corroborated the aerospace school of strategic thoughts, maintained by Douhet in which he asserts that the final blow to the adversary for sake of winning the war is rightly given by a competent and well-equipped air force. Actually, JF-17 Thunder is a lightweight multirole fighter co-produced by Chengdu Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAC) and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and is the sole generation fighter that is engineered by an air force. It is more agile than any other fighter the combat aviation has ever seen.
The comparable fighters operated by the Indian Air force (IAF) in the line of mainstream fronts include Su 30 MK-1(272 up till 2018) jointly produced by India and Russia, Mirage 2000 acquired from France, and Russian MIG 29 B- the latest versions. Light weight Combat Aircraft (LCA) is the most recent inventory made by India, with current inventory of 8 fighters being built by Hindustan Aeronautical limited (HAL) with the cooperation of Israel and France in the sphere of avionics and design and with the assistance of Russia in the subject of engine manufacturing.
Comparing JF.17 Thunder with the present IAF inventories, it is superior to in terms of maneuverability, avionics, air to air role, air to ground capabilities, anti-ship utilities and non-conventional usages in the context of strategic perspective. As for the maneuverability, the thunder block 1 owing to its small size, is better than Su 30 MK-1, MIG 29B and LCA. By dint of the outstanding pilots, it is superior to the Indian fighters in regard of hit and run tactics and dog fighting. Given the avionics capability, the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) likely to be used by Thunder Block-2 could only be compared with the one used in F.16 U&I block-52+ which is far better than that of the Indian Mirages, Sukhois and LCA. Beyond vision Range (BVR) and Within Vision Range (WVR) are the two other dimensions through which the Thunders capabilities are likely to be visualized. SD-10 a Chinese BVR, with the range of 100 kms and AIM-9 Sidewinder, an American WVR, with the range of 22 miles is the weapons system in Thunder that shows its disadvantage as Compared with Sukhoi 30. Although Su 30 has an edge in this way, yet the sincere efforts are being stepped up in order to soothe it.
On part of both air to ground and non-conventional qualities, the sole asset which demonstrates Thunder’s superiority not only in the region, but also in the entire world is RA’AD, an air launched cruise missile (ALCM), having range of 350 kms. Its efficacy has appeared more intensified and accurate with the induction of SAAB 2000, an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system recently acquired from Sweden. It is an outstanding-to-none in the region vis-à-vis its range and being operational. This is a grave blow to the Indian numerical air superiority. Hence, Indian boorishness has ended mainly because of two reasons. Firstly, the completely Indian installations, both civilian and military, alongside the western border come under the fatal kind of threat because of possible nuclear attack delivered by RA’ AD. On the other hand, India is far behind from operationalizing its own air-launched version of “BRAHMOS” cruise missile. Additionally, it has less range than RA’AD, capable of covering a distance of more than 200 kms. Secondly, Thunder with RA’AD reduces the advantage of more fighters IAF enjoys. For that reason of the shorter distance, juxtaposed frontiers and severity of RA’Ad and the advanced features of Thunder, the Indian stakeholders get stunned and find their hegemonic objectives at risk and time and again express their concern over the growing strength of PAF by dint of Thunder fighters.
On the part of anti-ship role, it is equipped with both Chinese and western missiles including Brazilian MAR-1 and Chinese C-802A& C-803. Therefore, it evenly possesses a threat to both military and non-military maritime interests of India at surface, sub-surface and offshore targets in the Indian Ocean. An air show was held in Dubai, UAE on November 13-17, 2011 where PAF staged the Thunder for commercial purposes. It attracted many costumers like Zimbabwe, Azerbaijan, Iran and Egypt and found its scope in the competitive markets, causing commercial incentives to the Pakistani combat aviation. This is also a remarkable milestone to bourgeon the Pakistani defense Industry.
The induction of Block 2 will play an integral role of reliable second line delivery system besides variety of ballistic missiles, ensuring Pakistan’s strategic capability and nuclear deterrence in South Asia.
To wind up, Thunder proves to be stalwart in the bulwark of national defense. The efforts should increasingly be made to introduce its new versions like block-3 with stealth capabilities and block-4 that might no longer depend on the land bases and should be the one that can dive and remain in the ocean and hit the enemy in the time of need with its both conventional and non-conventional weapons.