China may bypass a possible UK ban over Argentina’s JF-17 purchase

PANAGYURISHTE ($1=2.01 Bulgarian Levs) — One possible option for Argentina to modernize its Air Force is the purchase of the JF-17. It is a known fact that Britain can also intervene in such a deal and ban it. The reason is that the JF-17 has several British components integrated, including the PK16LE ejection seat. It is designed and manufactured by the British company Martin Baker.

Pakistani JF-17A defeated MiG-35 in a passionate 'Argentine tango'
Photo credit: Twitter

If the impossibility of future JF-17 sales to Argentina is a possible ban from London, Beijing might bypass it. Argentine online portal Fullaviació claims that China is ready to find a solution. The solution is to remove the British ejection seat and replace it with the Chinese-made HTY-5D ejection seat. The HTY-5D has already been successfully integrated into another Chinese fighter – the Chengdu J-10.

Argentina has the manufacturing capacity to begin production [or at least assembly] of the JF-17. These are the Argentine aviation factory – Fábrica Argentina de Aviones, as well as the Área Material Río Cuarto factory. This would reduce Pakistan’s influence specifically on this eventual deal. A real opportunity opens up for China as well – establishing a permanent presence with joint production in Latin America. Closer to the US means at least a slight reduction in American influence in the region.

Some debunked claims

Last year on September 17th, it was reported that Argentina not only spent nearly 660 million USD on fighter jets but also chose the Chinese JF-17. A few days later, Argentina’s defense ministry had to deny it. And it denied both claims – the choice of a supplier and a set budget for the purchase of fighters.

As wrote very recently, Great Britain will be forced to partially lift the arms embargo on Argentina. The question is which lesser evil will he choose – a Chinese presence in Argentina, or the delivery of F-16 Fighter Falcon and spare parts in the future, however much the UK disagrees.

What JF-17 fighter jet really is?

Generally, these types of Pakistani planes are light and single-engine, which is to some extent an advantage in managing and performing complex air maneuvers. Its capabilities are exactly the same as those of most fighter jets in the world – they intercept planes, strike air-to-ground and air-to-air.

Nigeria will fight Boko Haram with Pakistani JF-17 fighters
Photo credit: Wikipedia

This also answers the next question – what weapons are integrated into the fighter. The JF-17 has various ammunition, including air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, 23 mm twin-barrel autocannon and more.

Depending on the purpose, this type of aircraft can be equipped with two types of engines – one is the Chinese Guizhou WS-13, the other is the Russian Klimov RD-93, which also drives the famous MiG-29 fighter. Whichever is the choice of the two engines, they are capable of providing the JF-17 with a speed of up to 1.8 Mach.

According to information from the Pakistani Defense Ministry, the latest JF-17 Block 3 model has a better multifunction display, a built-in pilot helmet display, AESA radar integrated with the aircraft’s infrared target map, a new engine that will allow the JF-17 to reach a maximum speed of 2.0 Mach and more.


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