Flying & Fighting in the JF-17 Thunder: Interview with Pakistan Air Force fighter pilot
The JF-17 Thunder is one of the rarest and least known fighter aircraft in the world. Operated solely by the Pakistan Air Force*, it is a capable fighter in the same class as the F-16. On conditions of anonymity, we spoke to one JF-17 pilot to learn more.
The views expressed are not the official positions of the PAF.
“Best thing: Continuous upgrades of indigenous and Chinese weapons/electronic counter-measures suites, standoff capabilities of exceptional range i.e REK/IREK,CM-400,C-802AK etc. Worst : limited BVR load-out.”
What advice would you give to new pilots on the type? “Know your books and more importantly know the adversaries books. The modern jets are complex fighting machines so you must be at ease with all the systems in order to employ your jet with confidence.
“With the current config engine produces sufficient power – but who doesn’t like a bit of extra thrust?
“Currently we have PL-5(IR missile) SD-10(BVR). C-802 anti ship standoff , REK/IREK air-surface standoff with multiple warhead/seekers/roles and then all the GP Bombs, CM-400 and host of other A/G weapons for precision strikes. All that with the integrated ASEL Pod for targeting.”
The pilot seems like a novice who had recently joined airforce and is much flattered by the BVR and Limited tech capabilities without actually having any clue about the manoeuver that IAF deployed. Particularly the element of surprise which Mig-21 showed. Which was a repetition of a fighting sequence showed during Red Flag 2008 exercise and outwitted USAF’s F-15 12:1. None of the F-16 dared to cross the LOC and launched 4-5 AMRAAMs at a distance greater than 50-60kms from Su-30s, which shows how unprofessional the pilots are given the 10% success rate of BVRs launched at greater distance from the adversity. The standoff laser weapons and glide bombs were also fired from across the LOC.The Su-30 were in defensive position SO AS TO SECURE the vital military installations and were subsequently flying at low altitudes. Had Su-30 showed the resolve to attack first with a strike package of 24 of them Pak Air Force would have not even made it to the air, as seen yesterday during Balakot Strike.
None of the recently joined pilots are allowed to fly thunder it took atleast 8 years of flying for a pilot to make it to thunder and falcon your argument is foul in my sight.
In PAF only 1 out of every 400 applicants get selected n are fully trained experienced pilot as mentioned for 8 years! I think some are expressing wishful thoughts. US satellites n experts clearly shows only trees 🌲 were hit in Balakot. Foreign Policy’s report along with all F-16 counts to be complete by US officials further forced IAF general to call US officials n Pentagon liars on NDTV which I found quite amusing to see. Now If no wreckage is found n all missiles are in tact on the Mig 21 claimed to have downed Pak F-16 then I rest assure PAF lost no F-16 n this is only fabricated by IAF to make the so called surgical aerial strike a success which is clearly not the case.
Ridiculous comment .. PAF strike was being supported by AWACS ..No way Abhinandan could avoid being picked up instantaneously by the SAAB Erieye ..He was picked up instantaneously after take-off and was locked on by multiple F-16’s . its ridiculous to think that IAF would be able to pull off the stunt they did in Red Flag and sneak up on PAF ..Also USAF was limited by the rules of the exercise a lot during the said exercise . Finally, why would the Pak F-16 want to cross? and who says that purpose of BVR fired by PAF was to necessarily down IAF jet?.. It may have been to keep your Su-30 out of engagement. And on that count alone, it was successful. haha.. btw .. they PAF did shoot down a Su-30 .. so yeah ..
Just to be clear it was JF-17 not F-16 or do you disagree? I believe F-16’s were never deployed
Take your meds on time Pffft
Read Mavericks Response below. Im sure if you are aware of Military Protocols, why was there a need to deploy an SAR in a hot zone…..the fratricide can also be intentional, as to avoid the news leaking out about the downed SU-30 MKI. Hence destroy the evidence before it reaches anyone’s ears….
No Su-30 got a single scratch.
The AMRAAM simply timed out after losing Lock and self detonated and it’s debris was found near a village right on the foothills of Pir Panjal.
The greatest evidence of the shooting down of SU-30 was the fratricide of Indian helicopter, minutes after the initial engagement. It is a standard operating procedure that no slow moving traffic is allowed to airborne in a hostile airspace. Why was helicopter allowed to airborne in the first place? The answer is simple: it got airborne in great urgency, on a mission to secure important pieces from SU-30 MKI wreckage, lest they fall in wrong hands. The father of one of the killed pilot affirmed that in a TV interview, stating that his son airborne to look for the downed aircraft. Panic ridden and overwhelmed IAF air defenses, then shoot down its own in a show of remarkable incompetence. Another evidence was the removal of AOC western command the day after the battle. Captured pilot, fratricide and frontline aircraft downed. No wonder IAF, thoroughly humiliated relied on cock and bull stories to cover it.
The helicopter was returning from a supply mission to a post in Tangdhar .
The father never said anything like that.
I was the boss of the reporter who interviewed him.
AOC-in-C WAC retired as he turned 60 on 17th Feb and all 3 star officers must retire on last day of the month they turn 60.
Pure Fantasy. The helicopter took off for Search and rescue of Downed Indian Pilot of Mig 21 Not Su 30 s All Su 30 are accounted for and Su30 were jamming AMRAAM missile by Electronic War Fare
Pure Fantasy from you , the hindustani side knew that both the mig and it’s pilot were in the pakistani side , that the su 30 had fallen on their own side ! the heli also knew that the whole area was hot, so crossing over into the pakistani side was not feasible
no one , repeat no one from the hindustani side said , “all su 30’s are accounted for ” !! hindustani proclivity to lie exposed, they took something the pakistanis said , only because these were the words used by the US state department to confirm that all f 16’s were accounted for , as they are allowed to count all the f 16’s that pakistan has , even those purchased from jordan , as part of an end user agreement !
How Do You like my story when warlike situation is there everybody is in his highest level of alertness and a very simple mistake can cause havock remember the term the war was lot because a nail was lost
Waooo… Thrilling details
PAF Claim That it shot down Su 30 is pure fantasy. AMRAAM Missile variation held by Indians Is Not From Taiwan Air Force Stocks.The Curious Case Of The Third Pilot and The Pictures of Missiles that the crashed Mig 21 show that at least two of them have been fired
so what if AMRAAM misssile variation held by hindustani air force is not from taiwan air force , the pakistani side showed all 4 air to air missiles that a mig 21 has , with serial numbers there for the world to see ! the mig did not fire anything , it got shot down instead , it was amusing to see hindustan try to save face by concocting this story out of the blue ! you even had one nationally known tv host get disgraced in front of the whole of hindustan when the wreckage he was showing gleefully to the world as that of a f 16 was pointed out to be that of a mig 21 by a hindustani hindu expert ! you and your nation make up stories like no tomorrow , part of your propaganda war !
Notice Abhinandan never mentioned shooting down any aircraft when speaking of his activities , which he did in detail when captured !
I’m not sure why Indians are still claiming a 12:1 “outwitted” ratio for their Mig 21s against USAF F-15s when the Pakistanis shot down one and captured its pilot.
Its also interesting the commanding officer of the IAF Western Command was “retired” the very next day of the incident, when both nuclear powers were on full war alert and it was looking like an all-out war would break out any minute. And even more incredible that the pilot who was shot down by Pakistan was given a medal for gallantry!!
And in all of this, the IAF seems to have forgotten it shot down an F-16 after sources in the pentagon told a reporter all PAF F-16s were accounted for.
Oh the fog of war and what it can do to nations.
Pure propaganda piece. But safe to say that no IAF fighter pilot loses sleep at night worrying about the JF-17.
hindustan never shot down a pakistani F 16 , a times article………https://time.com/5564980/india-never-shot-pakistani-plane-kashmir/?fbclid=IwAR3xiTW4nCE5g4e0TFAFSnh89luAVVnEeb1Z-8iqdkUPYM-EwuVw65UKucQ
The only reason he is not bad-mouthing Mirage 2000 is because they probably hope to secure some seconded jets from France to replace their M3/5. IAF Sukhois are of course no-good. Except when they are exercising with PLAAF, Sukhois are all ooh ahh then.
Paf sure do respect fancy mirages, sukhois and upcoming rafales but they most certainly don’t respect shitty pilots who fly them
And PAFs propaganda continues… first they claimed that JF 17 shot down mig 21 and su 30 … even gave kill marking to the planes… then claimed that F 16 shot them down… 😂 .. you lost F 16 to an MIG 21… accept it and move on… stop living in denial…
You Indians live in a different world altogether dont you? Bollywood has taken over reality. 😂😂😂
I mean only you Indians can convert a serious beating which resulted in A MIG21 shoot down, and a fraticide in which u guys shot down your own helicopter into a fantasy of victory by claiming to have shot down a PAF F1yl6 😂😂😂
No One I repeat No one in the world except India believes an F16 was shot down. You guys have tried for a full year now to convince even a single nation, international press or media outlet, or an expert but still No one believes it. 😂😂😂 Wake up and ask yourself why is that? Because you guys havent presented a single piece of concrete evidence to date. All you have is DG ISPR said this and he said that, some nonsense storied about a pilot being lynched by own people which is hillarious 😂😂😂, and radar images your air forced cooked up and showed after it was exposed by the Foreign Policy article which confirmed no PAF F16 was lost.
Please move on kiddo
2 things, one the comments are hilarious, if India did shoot a F-16 down, it would been parading the wreckage and two, great interview, love it.