BUENOS AIRES, ($1=98.29 Argentine Pesos) – A budget of $ 664 million was presented to the Argentine Congress on September 17 for the purchase of 12 Pakistani JF-17A Block III fighters, BulgarianMilitary.com has learned, citing local sources. This decision of the Argentine authorities continues to “dig the grave” of the Russian MiG-35 fighter.
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Moscow had high hopes that Buenos Aires would acquire Russian fighter jets. At least that has been the signal for the last few months. However, it turns out that the price offered by Islamabad for “Pakistani thunder” is much better than the Russian one.
The MiG-35 went into series production in 2019. So far, eight fighters have been produced – six tests and two serial. Russia is the first country to place an order from Mikoyan’s design bureau. Russia has ordered a total of 37 units.
Argentina’s decision is not good for Russia at all. This is another country that has given up on acquiring the MiG-35 or has not yet made a decision. Other such countries are Egypt, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Peru, and Myanmar. The Russian media describe the Argentine decision as a step backward in the development of the MiG-35 and do not see how its predicted bright future will come true. It even finds itself in a situation where, if Indonesia or Myanmar make an order, it will hurt the brand.
How did the JF-17A Block III win the battle for the Argentine sky in front of the MiG-35?
The common perception and opinion currently circulated among Argentine journalists is the low price of the Pakistani fighter. $664 million for 12 fighters is a really good deal.
The JF-17A Block III is a truly brand new fighter. Its test flights took place last year. Although the JF-17A Block III does not boast high maneuverability compared to its Russian competitor, the fighter is not to be underestimated. This is evidenced by the fact that, unlike the MiG-35, JF-17A Block III already operates in Pakistan, Nigeria, Myanmar, and Argentina. There are inquiries from Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, and at least a dozen other countries.
Buenos Aires’ decision to acquire Pakistan’s JF-17A Block III is a political one. Argentina and Pakistan share the same values for the right to self-determination, which are discussed annually in the UN General Assembly.
Pakistan voted in favor of the UN Resolution, which states that “the continued existence of colonialism is incompatible with the idea of universal peace upheld by the United Nations”, which is relevant to the issue of the Falkland Islands / Malvinas. The President of the Pakistani Senate said of the relationship that “Pakistan and Argentina have very close cooperation in various fields and unanimous views on international issues.”
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 was built up of small transceivers and will allow about 80% enemy jamming. The fact that the JF-17 has 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 the Russian MiG-29s of the Indian Air Force.
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 JF-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 can fully protect the Pakistani sky, even if it can afford to claim equal rights with the Indian Air Force.
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 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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