Dubai – Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) showed off its K-8 Karakorum two-seat intermediate jet trainer and light attack aircraft at the Dubai Airshow along with models of its newest fighter, the JF-17 Thunder, currently under production.
PAC hopes to expand exports of the K-8 in the region, said Air Marshal Farhat Hussain Khan, PAC chairman. The aircraft are already serving in the Egyptian Air Force and the K-8 is a cost-effective trainer solution. “We do joint sales and marketing with our Chinese partners.”
The K-8 is a joint Chinese Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) and PAC program, as is the JF-17, he said. The Chinese variant of the trainer is the JL-8 and the fighter is the FC-1.
He confirmed reports Pakistan will procure the Chinese-built Chengdu FC-20 fighter, an export version of the J-10 fighter. However, PAC will not be participating in the co-production of the FC-20 program, Farhat Hussain said.
PAC began series production of the JF-17 this year and expects to roll out its first aircraft by the end of this month.
“We have an initial order from the Pakistan Air Force for 150, but we expect it to go to upwards of 250 JF-17s,” he said. After that, PAC hopes to begin exporting the fighter.
The JF-17 is a multi-role combat supersonic fighter equipped with both a beyond-visual-range and within-visual-range dog fighting capability. Besides supersonic, it has sub-transonic maneuverability.
It is equipped with a state-of-the-art digital glass cockpit with three large, full color Multi-Function Displays (MFD), digital moving map, Helmet Mounted Display, hands-on approach and a wide angle Smart Heads-Up Display (SHUD).
The primary sensor of the target acquisition and weapon aiming system is the multi-mode pulse Doppler radar. It also offers look-down performance and electronic counter-counter measures capability.
Despite media reports the JF-17 has suffered setbacks trying to resolve the acquisition of an engine for the aircraft the Russian-built RD-93 engines have been outfitted on the aircraft without problems, Farhat Hussain said. “The media created the issue, it was not true.”
PAC has no plans to develop an indigenous engine or avionics system for the aircraft at this time, he said. “We have no desire of becoming engine producers,” he said.
The aircraft has a maximum speed of 1.6 mach with a service ceiling of 16,700 meters and a ferry range with drop tanks of 3,000 kilometers. The weapon systems are a mix of Chinese and Pakistan systems.