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-   -   JF-17 Thunder Discussions (https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=207195)

probad 04-29-2017 04:25 AM

JF-17 Thunder Discussions
 
Hey guys, some of you must be aware of a proposed JF-17 module by Deka Ironworks of Beijing. While there's a Russian forum topic for it I was surprised there was no English forum counterpart. I suppose it's too obscure an aircraft for some NATO weenies, and Chinese nomenclature is too obtuse to bother with for others, but it's definitely deserving of some enthusiasm, especially as a counterpoint to the F/A-18C.

First Deka's work:

https://scontent.fagc1-1.fna.fbcdn.n...e4&oe=59820804
https://scontent.fagc1-1.fna.fbcdn.n...61&oe=59753A81
The production values look excellent, I certainly hope they can get this greenlit. China's not known for being open with military information, but the JF-17 being an export offering at least seems like a case for optimism.

History:
Long before LanceR and the Bison came around there was Project Sabre II, a Pakistani initiative started in the early 1980s to upgrade its Chinese F-7s (MiG-21FL) with Western avionics. This was encouraged by the US's interest in recruiting Pakistan against Soviet activities in Afghanistan, and made possible due to the thaw in US-China relationships. Pakistan was concerned about India's procurement of MiG-29s, but they were also running a nuclear program, and so they wanted something effective, but cheap. They must have figured it to be a trivial task to drop in Western technologies into bargain bin F-7s, so in 1987 they asked Grumman to study the feasibility of their pitch and this was what they came up with, dubbed the Super-7:
http://i.imgur.com/Eu4FnxC.jpg http://i.imgur.com/51o3qck.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/4uFcucE.jpg
Calling it a radical redesign is something of an understatement. It was completely rewinged and reengined, so it was very much a different animal altogether. The engine proposed was a PW1120, a development of the F-4's F100, or an F404. As an ironic sidenote, the F404 would see use powering India's Tejas light fighter, the JF-17's nemesis.

http://i.imgur.com/wbk9jmO.jpg
Incidentally there was another fighter powered by a single F404 around this time: Northrop's F-20 Tigershark, which had just hit the chopping block less than a year prior to Grumman's study. Some of its avionics would make its way into the Super-7, as well as its windscreen. The nose section could house the F-20's APG-67 but ended up with the F-16A's APG-66. The APG-67 instead would go on to find a home in Taiwan's homebrewed F-CK-1 (not to be confused with the FC-1, aka JF-17), which, in another twist of irony, came about because the US would not allow F-20s to be sold for fear of souring relations with the PRC!
The Super-7 wound up awkwardly close to an F-20 and annoyingly far away from a MiG-21, and Grumman suggested to Pakistan that they'd be better off just buying an existing design. Then in 1989, the political situation turned on its head again with the Tiananmen protests and the end of the Soviet-Afghan war leading into a focal shift to discouraging Pakistan's nuclear weapons tests. This meant the withdrawal of Grumman and the end of the the Super-7, as far as the US was concerned.

http://i.imgur.com/ih8wj8z.jpg
China and Pakistan built upon the Grumman study and worked out the Super-7, later called the FC-1, through the 90s. The Soviet collapse left the Russian aircraft industry scrambling to stay afloat, and so Mikoyan wound up enlisted to expedite the development of the FC-1 as well as selling R&D data for their F-16-esque Izdeliye 33.
http://i.imgur.com/SVUgGUb.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/pRwsSVV.jpg
The first prototype was rolled out in 2003. These early prototypes are distinguished by fixed splitter plate intakes.

http://i.imgur.com/7Upv7GE.jpg
In 2006 the fourth prototype PT-04 was rolled out with the diverterless intakes and much enlarged LERXs seen on production JF-17s. Block 1 LRIP started shortly after in 2007, with Block 2 production originally planned for 2011 iirc but only started at the end of 2013. Officially now it's referred to as the JF-17, JF standing for "Joint Fighter" as opposed to domestic Chinese nomenclature of "Jian" (fighter).
http://i.imgur.com/mOJtlUj.jpg
The JF-17 is comparable to the F-16 in size, being less than one foot smaller in every dimension. Empty weight is around 14,000lb compared to the F/A-18C's 23,000lbs. Internal fuel is 5,130lb, less than half of the F/A-18C's 10,860lb. The JF-17 was initially powered by an RD-93, a derivative of the RD-33s from the MiG-29. China wants to replace the RD-93 with the indigenous WS-13. Static thrust figures vary slightly between sources but generally are in the ballpark of 11,000lbf dry to 18,500lbf wet, comparable to a single F404.
For BFM numberjunkies, TWR is obviously not stellar. A 2x heaters loadout will not likely break 1:1 static TWR until below 80% internal. It should be pointed out that it's nevertheless an improvement on the J-7's 14,550lbf wet output, which has something on the order of 4,500lbs internal gas and won't break even until half fuel.
Block 1 and initial Block 2's do not have any inflight refueling gear, although later Pakistani Block 2's have received a fairly ridiculous looking fixed probe.
http://i.imgur.com/X5y2oDL.jpg

Armament:
http://i.imgur.com/7eHdj8w.jpg
This isn't an exhaustive list for the JF-17's armament. Some weapons of note:

http://i.imgur.com/FDgi5LH.jpg
PL-5(E-II)
- The Chinese designation for the R-3/13. Not a lot of information for what the E-II version would be equivalent to, but likely aims to match L/M Sidewinder.

http://i.imgur.com/4csmrwb.jpg
PL-12
- Also seen referred to as the SD-10 for export, this is the Chinese ARH BVR missile. The tailfins have a distinctive forward-swept root. It likely uses an R-77 derived seeker in an 8in AIM-7-like package, so while it looks like an AIM-120 it's something more like an "AIM-77".

http://i.imgur.com/3j8GxiM.jpg
MAR-1
- This is an indigenous Brazilian anti-radiation missile generally similar to the AGM-88. 100 rounds were purchased by the Pakistan Air Force.

http://i.imgur.com/vzu8fzI.jpg
C-802
- Export version of the YJ-8 anti-ship missile. Visually similar to the Exocet, but it's turbojet-driven like the Harpoon.

http://i.imgur.com/n30kpX9.jpg
LS-6
- This designation encompasses a family of JDAM-ER-esque PGM kits.

http://i.imgur.com/GZ1MIrj.jpg
Hatf-VIII
- Also known as the Ra'ad, this is a Pakistani air launched cruise missile.

The JF-17 has a GSh-23-2 under the port intake in a housing similar to the one on the MiG-21bis.

Avionics:
The radar for Blocks 1 and 2 is a KLJ-7 mechanically scanned planar array radar, capable of tracking 10 and engaging 2 with a typical detection range of a MiG-21-sized target around 40nm. It's also got all the standard bells and whistles of a modern multirole radar, including synthetic aperture mode and nominal ground moving target track capability.
http://i.imgur.com/ANVnHeO.jpg
A targeting pod known as WMD-7 has been shown off but doesn't seem to have achieved adoption yet. HMS had been envisioned early on, with a Chinese HMS unit tested in 2006 and Pakistani hoped for fleetwide adoption in 2008, but currently it's been pushed back to (yet another) Block 3 feature.
In terms of defensive aids, the JF-17 allegedly is equipped with a self protection jammer on top of the vertical tail, and a dedicated external EWAR pod is also available as the KG300G. In addition to standard RWR, it has a rear hemisphere missile warning system, located on the base of the vertical tail. Countermeasure count is difficult to assess but at least 36 tubes in a paired array are visible on the dorsal root of the stabilizers with another pair in the corresponding ventral position.

----------------------
Basically, we have a slightly watered down but still modern redfor multirole aircraft. While it may lack muscle, its got a modern multirole radar and a modern weapons selection. Nevertheless while performance isn't eyewatering, it's not bad either; with bags jettisoned and loaded lightly for A2A it's not exactly slouching. The airframe is rated at a "tame" +8G, but the 14G Yankee yank is by no means the only way to fight and win. Low speed performance will certainly be interesting to explore with consideration to its FBW and massive Super Hornet LERXs.
A lot is going to depend on what Deka can get and provide in terms of systems modelling. While access to JF-17 may not be a stretch of the imagination, data on weapons like the PL-12 may be unprecedented. A targeting pod would be a critical feature for strike missions, and it's hard to say if the WMD-7 could be modeled. The same goes for the HMS.

All said and done though, the most interesting part about the JF-17 is its pedigree. For everyone who has wished for a Bison/LanceR module, the JF-17 represents the ultimate ricer Fishbed. For everyone who enjoys the F-5 and wishes for an F-20 module, the JF-17 is a spiritual reincarnation. And by relation to the F-5 lineage, the JF-17 in the end is the bastard cousin the F/A-18 never knew it had.

Vitormouraa 04-29-2017 04:28 AM

Looking good indeed, I wish the best of luck for the team, these guys aren't kidding at all. :)

javelina1 04-29-2017 04:47 AM

Thanks for the post. very interesting!

Sweep 04-29-2017 05:04 AM

Here's the working video:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSS9Y3jqB5k

This thing looks amazing. Badass Red Air jet that could be very competitive in most environments. Want!

Revelation 04-29-2017 05:21 AM

I've been following the development of this gal on facebook. She looks promising and don't count Westerners "out" of this one. If it flies, we buys... :)

I hope this can be achieved as I'd like to see the red side get some modern ASM/PFM aircraft to go toe-to-toe against the NATO ones in the pipe.

Sport 04-29-2017 05:53 AM

I hope people are going to realize that this is a 'b-tier' cannon fodder fighter. I would certainly give it a go, but I'm gonna go in with a slightly lower expectation of survival. Much like going into a fight now with the MiG-21 or F-5...

Dehuman 04-29-2017 06:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sport (Post 3124351)
I hope people are going to realize that this is a 'b-tier' cannon fodder fighter. I would certainly give it a go, but I'm gonna go in with a slightly lower expectation of survival. Much like going into a fight now with the MiG-21 or F-5...

Modern radar and Fox-3 capable, I think it'll be able to hold it's own. Certainly at least have parity if not superiority over M-2000C.

Sarraceno 04-29-2017 07:46 AM

Looks like the crossbreed between a F-5, Mirage,and a fishbed, definitely looks cool and promising

shagrat 04-29-2017 08:04 AM

I absolutely agree. This is a very interesting jet.

Though a lot of questions and negative comments about a more modern jet seem to be common, as it "can't be realistic, because everything is confidential".
Personally I'm looking forward to this.
If we see what technology is used in this platform it might be not that much "confidential" anymore.

Definitely something to keep an eye on.

Thanks probad for the details and history. [emoji106]

P.S. There is a thread on the German forum, as well, for quite a while

Sarraceno 04-29-2017 08:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by shagrat (Post 3124411)
I absolutely agree. This is a very interesting jet.

Though a lot of questions and negative comments about a more modern jet seem to be common, as it "can't be realistic, because everything is confidential".
Personally I'm looking forward to this.
If we see what technology is used in this platform it might be not that much "confidential" anymore.

Definitely something to keep an eye on.

Thanks probad for the details and history. [emoji106]

P.S. There is a thread on the German forum, as well, for quite a while

As far as i know, this planes was a project for a modern low cost jet with already existing technologies, i doubt there's something really confidential about this plane


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