JF-17 Block II advances with new refuelling probe | World Defense

JF-17 Block II advances with new refuelling probe


Dec 5, 2014
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JF-17 Block II advances with new refuelling probe
Richard D Fisher Jr, Washington, DC - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
27 January 2016

The first image of a new Chengdu-designed refuelling probe on the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation FC-1/JF-17 fighter seen on the CAC airfield in late January. Source: CJDBY Web Page

Images revealed on Chinese websites on 23 January indicate the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) FC-1 export fighter - co-developed with Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, which calls it the JF-17 Thunder - is advancing into a 'Block II' development and reportedly testing new weapons.

New images of an FC-1 at the CAC airfield with port number 229 show the first employment of an apparently Chinese-designed aerial refuelling probe: an important feature of the JF-17 Block II version. The probe features a streamlined tube, is located below the aircraft's cockpit canopy frame and may be detachable.

Chinese reports indicate the refuelling probe design will be used by the Block II version of the FC-1/JF-17. However, this is not yet confirmed as the Chinese-designed refuelling probe differs from an initial version first seen on a JF-17 in Pakistan in late 2013. This previous design was entirely cylindrical and its shape and placement just behind the canopy frame indicate there was probably design assistance from Denel Aviation of South Africa. Denel, formerly Atlas Aviation, has previously assisted with outfitting some Pakistani Mirage III fighters with refuelling probes.


An earlier JF-17 refuelling probe design revealed in Pakistan in late 2013 was probably achieved with assistance from South Africa. (CJDBY Web Page)

Other images that appeared on Chinese websites in late January showed the new refueling probe-modified FC-1 in flight testing on an unknown but likely recent date. The Block II JF-17 will also feature a Nanjing Research Institute of Electronics and Technology (NRIET) KLJ-7 V2 radar and an improved data bus to handle integration of advanced air-to-air and precision-guided munitions.

An unconfirmed report published on 24 January on China's Sina.com website noted that Pakistan's indigenous 350 km range, optionally nuclear-armed Ra'ad (Thunder) air-launched cruise missile had been launched from a JF-17. The most recent test of the Ra'ad occurred on 19 January, but Pakistani reports did not mention the Ra'ad having been launched by a JF-17, even though this weapon has long been scheduled for JF-17 integration.
JF-17 Block II advances with new refuelling probe | IHS Jane's 360