China will upgrade Pakistan Air Force JF-17 fighter jets with a world-class radar system that will substantially improve the combat capability of the aircraft, a top Chinese radar researcher said.
Hu Mingchun, head of the Nanjing Research Institute of Electronics Technology in Jiangsu province, said the KLJ-7A active phased array radar will give the JF-17 many advantages in an aerial combat.
"Our product will tremendously extend the fighter jet's detection range, giving it a much longer sight that will help it detect the enemy's aircraft before they do, and this is very important because in real combat if you see first, you fire first," he said. "The radar is capable of tracking dozens of targets and engaging several of them simultaneously. It also has a good jamming-resistant capacity that keeps the plane away from enemy's electronic interference."
The KLJ-7A radar can be mounted on light-or medium-weight fighter jets. It is one of the best of its kind in the world in terms of technology and capability, Hu said.
Nanjing Research Institute of Electronics Technology, part of the State-owned defense giant China Electronics Technology Group Corp, is the country's largest and strongest developer of military radar. Its products have been sold to more than 20 nations in Africa and Asia.
The JF-17, known as the FC-1 in China, is a lightweight, multirole fighter jet codeveloped by Aviation Industry Corp of China and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex.
The plane is widely deployed by the Pakistan Air Force and some reportedly have been purchased by the Myanmar Air Force.
Meanwhile China and Pakistan have spared no effort to find new buyers.
Wu Peixin, an aviation industry analyst in Beijing, said the upgrade with a type of cutting-edge radar will undoubtedly enhance the JF-17/FC-1's appeal to potential buyers from developing nations.
"The KLJ-7A will enable JF-17 and its variants to have stronger fighting capability at a reasonable cost, allowing the aircraft to compete with or confront expensive Western or Russian jets," he said.
Hu suggested that China should encourage and give more support to the efforts of Chinese arms makers to export because by doing so the country's defense technologies and products will have more opportunities to display their advantages to buyers and to verify designs and capabilities for further improvements.
The research institute has been promoting a series of new-generation radar capable of detecting stealth aircraft such as the US F-22 Raptor.
These new radar types, such as the YLC-8B, SLC-7 and SLC-12, integrate the traditional detection method of mechanical scanning with two-dimensional active phased array technology, so they are able to handle not only stealth fighter jets but also unmanned aircraft, and even cruise or ballistic missiles, according to the institute.
All of them can be mounted on vehicles, it said.
Hu said the institute not only sells its radar but also provides air-defense solution packages to clients and helps them build their own research and development capabilities.
"In the past, our radar was backward so we had to follow others' rules in both the market and the battlefield. Now we have begun to turn into a leading player in this sphere. Therefore, we are becoming a rule maker and make others follow our rules," Hu said.