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Pakistan’s Quantum Leap in Technological Growth: Beyond JF-17 Thunder

Source : Pakalert Press

by BZ

undefinedPakistan has faced tribulation since birth. A hegemonic neigh bent on its destruction, a far away enemy that is insidious in it enmity, a rough neighborhood, and a geographic area which focuses the superpower’s attention to it. Pakistanis are the most resilient nation on earth–coming up with solutions to defend itself by any means necessary. A missile based nuclear deterrence combined with a potent Air Force and a 1 million Army will make anyone casting a bad eye on Pakistan to think twice. Bharat was unable to cross the border in 1998, 2002 and 2010 because of the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). Pakistan has made quantum leaps in technology to help it get on the way.

– The Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, established in the early 1970s with the aim to create an indigenous facility for overhauling aircraft and aero-engines.
– PAC manufactured of a small trainer aircraft by establishing the Aircraft Manufacturing Factory (AMF).
– The factory has gathered experience of manufacturing over 300 Mushshak / Super Mushshak primary flight trainer aircraft and of producing structural assemblies of K-8 Advanced Jet Trainer.
– Success on these and other similar projects afforded the confidence to the decision makers to venture into manufacturing a fighter aircraft at PAC. On the other hand, Kamra Avionics & Radar Factory (KARF).
In the JF-17 programme, first milestone in manufacturing was achieved with the capability of sub-assembly work in Jan 2008.
– 2009. On 23 November, in the same year, the first indigenously assembled JF-17 aircraft rolled-out from the Aircraft Manufacturing Factory of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex. (The News)

The PAF Countermeasures are as follows:
1. Begin the slow progress of mastering the technology so that it can be inculcated into existing Aircraft.
2. Jointly design and build Aircraft with China with approach 5th generation and beyond.
3. Purchase US aircraft with a bit older technology, and then upgrade those aircraft at lesser cost.
4.Work with Indonesia, and Turkey in developing local military technologies to counter the threats.
5. Use less expensive ways to deal with the incoming threat.
6. Bank on Missiles to counter the threat.
7. Bring incremental improvement to the JF-17 Thunder in Blcoks of fifty. This will keep the JF-17 thunder infused the latest technology for the next fifty years.
8. Start production of the FC-20s based on the J-10B and work with the Chinese on the production of the J-11s.
9. Enhance the UAV technology to the next level and design and produce Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UCAVs).
10. One expensive option is to build X-47 Pegasus class, to counter India’s military aviation threat to Pakistan.
11. Work with the Chinese to jontly build the WS-13 engine so that it can be used on the UCAV’s.
12. Continue development of the Babur Cruise missile and use to to build UCAV’s.
13. This mixture of response will not only be a potent defense against the IAF, but it will be eliminate the attempt of the IAF to intimidate Pakistan.

Pakistan is now moving towards Stealth Technology for its birds, and finalizing its Unmanned aircraft. will be has already signed contracts with China about Space Technology. It is also looking at UCAV’s. UCAV’s’s were autonomous cruise missiles, something that the U.S. and Germany have been fielding since the 1940′s. In Europe, several UCAV’s are known as robotic warplanes ( the Neuron, the Barrakuda and the Corax) are under development. These UACV concepts had their origins in the US, and Europe wants to remain competitive with the American Aviation industry. All the programs have stealth features playing in the same league as the American J-UCAS (Joint Unmanned Combat Aerial System). The US program includes the Boeing X45C and the Northrop Grumman X47B Pegasus . These European projects are the first foreign competitors for the American UCAV’.

These major UCAV’ systems are in play:
1. The six nation $480 million European effort has a produced a flying prototype.
2. The joint German-Spanish, Swiss, Barrakuda conducted its first taxi tests on the 26 January 2006
3. The British Corax UACV. The UK perceives the Joint Strike Fighter as the last manned platform for its Air Force, which will eventually replaced by an UCAV. The Corax, which undertook its maiden flight already in 2004.
4. China is making UCAV by adopting the old F-7 designs. China is using the J-6 and J-7 into target drones. Pakistan which already has the old F-7s, can do this cheaply.

The UACVs have the following advantage:
1. Greater maneuverability – in modern day fighter aircraft human tolerance is the limiting factor for the number of g forces the plane can pool during rapid manoeuvres, with UACV this bottleneck is eliminated so they can be very manoeuvrable indeed.
2. Less weight – this can affect many things like endurance time, acceleration, payload and so on. One or two pilots and all the stuff you put in the cockpit can weight quite a bit.
3. Better aerodynamics – you don’t need the cockpit canopy.
4. Situational awareness – as Clerik said you can create very good virtual cockpit on ground that is superior to anything you can fit in an aircraft. SA is most important for air superiority missions, I think, and as air-to-air battles are pushed to BWR there is no benefit of having your Mark I eyeball on the actual aircraft.
5. No crew fatigue – on the ground pilots can control their UACVs in greater comfort and rotate during mission.
6. Lower price – often the flying unit can be made cheaper. All that fancy plane-human interface gear, life support, ejection seats and whatnot costs big $, but in case of UACV you only need the plane-human interface part and with that it is one for many planes and can bee cheaper as it doesn’t have to endure all the stresses and such.
7. You need gear for communicating with UACVs instead, but some means of communication are already in place, so no big change there.
8. Pilots are out of harms way – UACVs will save pilots lives. Pilot is very expensive to train and hard to replace quickly.
9. Long Range Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Combat, short Range within Visual Range Combat
10. Low Costs
11. Quantity versus Quality
12. Kamikaze possibilities

The Disadvantages of UCAV
1. Tackling the Problem of Jamming
2. Human Element
3. Lag – radio communications can travel only so quickly but reaction time is critical for air engagements.
4. Single point of failure – if the enemy takes out the command centre, all the UCAV’ are neutralized too.

Those who espouse following the C-47 route for the PAF are living in a fools paradise. The US will not share that technology with Pakistan and it will be too expensive for the PAF. The best route for the PAF will be to work with the Chinese and the Europeans to develop these unmanned systems.

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