BEIJING, (BM) – Analysts at the Chinese publication Sohu are confident that the new Russian RD-93MA engine will be a major breakthrough not only for Russian aviation. The PRC also relies on this power unit and its use in the JF-17 Block 3 fighters, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
Chinese journalists clarify that the engine, which has been developed since 2018, is about to start flight tests. This is expected to happen by the end of 2020.
While active work is underway on the RD-93MA, the RD-93 is being installed on Chinese fighters. However, with such engines, the PRC aircraft are so far inferior to the F-16 of Pakistan. With an updated powertrain, the JF-17 Block 3 will overtake the competition, are confident in Sohu.
It should be noted that the PRC also planned to install engines of its own production in fighters. A similar to the RD-93 WS-13 is now under development, but information about this engine has not appeared in the media for a long time.
Journalists assume that Chinese fighters will continue to be produced with Russian power plants. However, only in a complete set with the RD-93MA JF-17 Block 3 will be able to truly compete with other modern fighters in the world market.
Sohu analysts sadly noted that today Russia has advanced much further in creating engines for combat vehicles. It will take years of hard work for China to catch up with the Russian Federation.
At the same time, journalists note that Beijing’s hopes for the introduction of domestic engines into its fighters may not be justified precisely due to the appearance of the RD-93MA. Russian units can be installed on Chinese aircraft as early as next year, cutting off the PRC’s engines even in theory from the project.
Earlier, Chinese journalists in their material noted that Russian engines could cause huge losses for the United States. This will happen if the PRC abandons US units in favor of the Russian Federation.
The Pakistanis will also install a new cruise missile
On 18 February Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) announced the successful testing of a RAAD-II air launched nuclear capable cruise missile, as BulgarianMilitary.com reported.
The missile was launched by a Mirage III fighter, and would allow the aircraft to strike targets unto 600km away. This new capability “significantly enhances” the Air Force’s “air delivered strategic standoff capability on land and at sea” – according to the ISPR statement, which further noted that the RAAD-II “is equipped with state-of-the-art guidance and navigation systems ensuring engagement of targets with high precision.”
The new missile appears to be more compact and lighter than the original RAAD design, and is thought to be more precise and have superior electronic warfare countermeasures.
The RAAD-II was first unveiled in March 23rd 2017 during a major military parade, and its development comes as part of a broader effort by Pakistan to diversify its nuclear delivery capabilities.
Other recently tested nuclear delivery systems have included strategic platforms such as the Shaheen-II, the Babur-III submarine launched nuclear capable cruise missile and at the lowest level the Nasr nuclear rocket artillery system.
It is expected that the JF-17 will eventually integrate the RAAD-II missile to complement its existing standoff cruise missiles – possibly the JF-17B which with a twin seat configuration can accommodate a weapons systems officer making it better suited to a strike role.
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.
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 will have its predecessor improvements. For example – 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.
What JF-17 could change for the Pakistanis?
It may sound strange, but the JF-17 has the full potential to compete with the US F-16 fighter, with the potential to outrun it.
The advantage may come from the AESA radar, which will be built up of small transceivers and will allow about 80% enemy jamming. The fact that the JF-17 will receive a new electronic warfare system and upgraded avionics including a three-axis fly-by-wire digital flight control system should not be underestimated.
In their fight with India for supremacy over the regional sky, this may prove to be a factor that aligns forces and puts the Pakistani Air Force on an equal footing with the Indian Air Force. But it should be noted that a possible Pakistan advantage would be above over the Russian MiG-29s of the Indian Air Force.
In the last 18 months, it has been widely rumored that India is ready to invest heavily in Russian aircraft. In addition to the MiG-29, the Indians are also capable of buys Su-30, MiG-35 and Su-57. The question is whether they will, because, on the other hand, the United States is already prepared to impose economic sanctions, mainly on the purchase of S-400 air defense missile systems.
But not only India is on the daily agenda of Pakistan. In recent years, the country has helped Allied troops track down terrorists being sought and assisted in their capture. JF-17 will strengthen the ability of Pakistani pilots to provide timely support and assistance, thus, in addition to protecting the country’s borders, consolidating the image of Pakistanis as a nation that only wants to live in a peaceful region.
Last but not least, the economic stability of the country will be important. The continued production of fighter jets by Pakistan and, accordingly, the new Block 3 model will at least keep jobs, with a tendency to even increase them. Economically speaking, this is the only plus for the standard of living in the country.
In this regard, the implementation plans of the Pakistani Ministry of Defense are impressive – Pakistan needs to have 50 GG-17 fighter jets by 2024, with the first units deployed as early as 2020.
That is why the development of the JF-17 is very important for Pakistan. This aircraft can not avoid the danger of being overthrown by the Russian S-400 system, but it is able to fully protect the Pakistani sky, even if it can afford to claim equal rights with the Indian Air Force.
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