ACCESS: Top Secret
- 3 January 2006
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Russia blocks sale of Chinese jets to Pakistan
The JF-17 fighter aircraft have been powered by Russian RD-93 engines
New Delhi, Moscow to sign pact on 5th generation fighter plane
Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov to visit India
MOSCOW: Russia has blocked the sale of Chinese fighter planes with Russian engines to Pakistan.
"We've denied China the right to supply its JF-17 fighter aircraft powered by Russian RD-93 engines to third countries, asking it to sign an end-user certificate for the engines," said Colonel-General Anatoly Mazurkevich, head of the Defence Ministry's International Cooperation Department.
President Pervez Musharraf said last year that the JF-17s would be flying in Pakistani skies by March 2007. Islamabad plans to acquire 150 JF-17s, known in China as FC-1. China has bought 100 Klimov RD-93 engines from Russia for installing on JF-17s, with an option to contract another 400 engines.
Speaking to Indian and Russian journalists ahead of a visit to India by Russia's Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov on January 22, Col.-Gen. Mazurkevich confirmed that India and Russia are shortly to sign accords to jointly develop and produce a 5th generation fighter plane and a multi-role transport aircraft.
India is expected to announce during Mr. Ivanov's visit its choice between two Russian concepts of a multi-role stealth fighter plane of the 5th generation that the Russian aviation majors, Sukhoi and MIG, presented to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) last year.
The aircraft deals will be discussed when Mr. Ivanov co-chairs with Defence Minister A.K. Antony the 6th meeting of the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission for Military-Technical Cooperation. Ahead of the commission meeting on January 24 Mr. Ivanov will fly to Bangalore to visit the HAL and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), as well as some leading Information and Technology companies, and meet business people.
Stuck in Sichuan: Pakistani JF-17 Program Grounded
Posted 25-Jan-2007 09:02
Related stories: Asia - Central, Asia - China, Asia - India, Engines - Aircraft, Events, Fighters & Attack, New Systems Tech, Northrop-Grumman, Partnerships & Consortia, Russia
Also on this day: 25-Jan-2007 »
(click to view full)The military world has no shortage of irony. The defense industry has its moments too, as Pakistan just discovered. An aircraft whose development was driven by military sanctions from the US and Europe is now derailed by military sanctions. This leaves the Pakistani Air Force dependent on an alternative from... America. Meanwhile, the Chinese are left with no export launch customer for a plane they may now have to reluctantly buy themselves, instead of the favoured and more capable J-10. Somewhere in Delhi, champagne is pouring - but first, a bit of background.
The JF-17/FC-1 is a sub-$20 million fighter designed as a co-operative venture between Pakistan and China to replace F-7P (MiG-21+) and Mirage 3/5 aircraft in Pakistan's fleet. China also has options to produce them, but has made no firm decisions and seems unenthusiastic. It's a comparable peer for India's still-under-development LCA Tejas, Taiwan's F-CK-1 Ching Kuo fighters, and South Korea's T/A-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer & light fighter. Sino Defense reminds us that the JF-17/FC-1 'Xiaolong' has a long history...
(click to view full)The site recalls that China signed a $550 million agreement with Grumman in 1986 to modernise its J-7 fighter (MiG-21 copy) under the "Super-7" upgrade project, with US and British firms competing to provide the engine and avionics. The project was canceled after the Tienanmen Square massacre, but Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation managed to continue the programme with its own resources, and the project was re-branded as FC-1 (Fighter China-1). US sanctions related to Pakistan's nuclear program and Chinese-Pakistani use of ballistic missile components led Pakistan to seek helps from its Chinese ally. A joint development and production agreement was signed in June 1999, with China Aviation Import and Export Corporation (CATIC) and Pakistan each contributing 50% of the estimated $150 million development costs.
The Pakistan Government had hoped to sign a deal to acquire 150 JF-17/FC-1 fighters in 2007, with 8 aircraft in service by year's end. China had reportedly even bought 100 Klimov RD-93 engines from Russia for installing on JF-17s, with an option to contract another 400 engines.
There's only one problem: Russia has just refused permission for the transfer of its RD-93 engines, derived from the RD-33 that equips the MiG-29. The decision comes only a few days after a visit to India by Russia's Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov, during which a number of joint defense projects were discussed and agreements were signed. These include the MRTA transport aircraft, and reportedly a "5th generation fighter" project, even as the MiG-29OVT/MiG-35 is touted as the likely winner of the multi-billion MRCA fighter contract.
Coincidence? Not a chance. Replacement with another engine? Unless it's a very close copy, that requires re-work of the entire fighter design and takes years. Just ask the J-10 project team.
Bottom line? Pakistan's ongoing F-16 fleet upgrade and expansion program with the USA has just become much more important - giving the USA a larger lever to use over Pakistani behaviour vis-a-vis Afghanistan, al-Qaeda, et. al.