Pakistan Air Force today successfully flight tested the dual-seat variant of the JF-17 Thunder fighter jets – the JF-17B, for the first time.
Jointly developed by China and Pakistan, the dual-seat JF-17 variant is currently entering the testing phase. Three JF-17Bs are under production, two of which will join the PAF, Quwa reports citing a report by Aviation journalist Alan Warnes via AirForces Monthly.
According to the report, the dual-seat aircraft will feature dorsal spine - possibly for fuel, the swept tail houses components for a new three-axis fly-by-wire flight control system. The nose is also enlarged to accommodate active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar, which will be a core subsystem of the forthcoming JF-17 Block-III. Its vertical stabilizer has also been modified.
The report says that the JF-17B could be used as a lead-in-fighter-trainer (LIFT) platform within its own fleet. And with advanced targeting pods and commercially available electronic warfare (EW) jamming pods, the JF-17B could also potentially be deployed as a strike or stand-off EW platform, respectively.