JF-17 Thunderís radome/nose design

Posted on February 22, 2012 by Najam Khan - Blog Link

JF-17 Thunder – All round view                                                                                                                                    Chapter 1 : JF-17 Thunder’s radome/nose design


KLJ-7 radar is housed inside the cone of the aircraft. KLJ-7 is a multi-mode Pulse Doppler (PD) radar, with beyond visual range, close-air to air and ground surveillance modes. The radar can display 40 targets within its field of view and is capable of tracking up to 10 targets in the Track While Scan (TWS) mode. Two of them can be fired upon at the same time. KLJ-7 has five modes in Air-to-Air and six modes in Air-to-Surface, in the latter two dedicated modes for sea are also included.

Left photo: A close view of KLJ-7 radar.

Right photo: A radar compartment of JF-17, waiting in the assembly lines to receive a KJL-7.


The radome of JF-17 contains electricity closure, used to scatter electricity that could cause malfunction in working of KLJ-7 multi mode radar and other sensors. Radome is not painted, it has a special neoprene coating which reduces Radar cross section (RCS) and absorbs radar echo. During the service of an aircraft over the years, radome wears same grey colour coating and receives no paint unlike rest of the parts of the aircraft. The words ‘DO NOT PAINT’ or ‘NO PAINT’ are generally visible on it. Such words are meant for understanding of ground crew, responsible for maintenance of the aircraft.

A close up of electricity closure vanes present on the radome to scatter electricity. Six of such vanes are present on the radome which houses KLJ-7 radar.

AOA Antennas:

On the both sides of radome are the Angle of Attack (AOA) antennas, used to provide AOA values to aircraft’s computer. Based on these values, computer itself decides the direction and angle of aircraft’s cone under the set values of maximum high AOA maneuvering. Expressions like  ‘NO TOUCH’ or ‘DO NOT TOUCH’ are found near these antennas.


AOA antennas are present on both sides of radome.

DADS, AIFF, Radar altimeter and Navigational antennas:

Distributed Air Data System (DADS) antenna is present on the starboard side of aircraft, just ahead of the cockpit.

It gives information about atmospheric pressure, temperature etc to the aircraft computer.


DADS antenna with ‘NO GRIP’ markings around it.



Seen above is the Advanced Identification of Friend or Foe (AIFF) antenna. AIFF reads signatures of aerial and ground targets and relays results

to the computer, which display its findings as friend or foe to the pilot. The AIFF has full 360º Coverage and is can operate under 22km height.


Radar altimeter antenna is present on the both sides of the radome. It provides precise Air to Ground Level (AGL) information to the KLJ-7 radar housed inside aircraft’s cone.


Left photo: Close up of Radar altimeter antenna. Right photo: Both Air data and Radar altimeter antennas.


Two Ultra High Frequency / Very High Frequency  (UHF/VHF ) antennas are present under the AOA antennas and above the upper fuselage. Both these antennas are used in combination with UHF antenna present on the tail housing. Both these upper and lower antennas are used for radio communication between aircraft(s) and ground controller/air traffic controller.

GPS antenna and Navigational antennas are visible on the top of aircraft’s fuselage.

External canopy opening door:

Seen in above photo is an external canopy opening button with its operating procedure mentioned too. This button is present  under the cockpit’s port side.

The Rescue arrow points to the door containing canopy jettison cable.



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