Analysis of Thunderís performance at Dubai Air show 2011

Posted on November 18, 2011 by Najam Khan - Blog Link

At this year’s Dubai Air Show 2011, PAC sent three JF-17 Thunder aircraft to participate in the event. All aircraft belonging to No.16 Sqn “Black Panthers” of the Pakistan Air Force took off from their home base at Minhas AB, Kamra on 10th Nov 2011. The fourth aircraft being a reserve aircraft was part of the formation which returned from Masroor AB, Karachi after the display team left Pak airspace.

 

Two aircraft from the trio performed at the air display, where as the third was at the static display for up-close viewing for the officials and general attendees. Most of the state-of-the-art weaponry in JF-17’s arsenal were also up on show at the static display, which included PL-5E Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (SRAAM), SD-10A Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Air-to-Air Missile, 1000lbs LS-6 Extended-range glide guided bomb, 1000lbs LT-2 Laser Guided Bomb (LGB), C-802AK Air Launched Anti-shipping Missile, WMD-7 Day/Night detection and targeting pod.

 

On Nov 13, a JF-17 put on a decent air display in front on large crowd. In some eight and a half minutes air show, the pilot demonstrated the strength and potential of the aircraft. Starting on with a slight 10 alpha turn to the left, followed an aileron roll the pilot completed a Cuban-8 maneuver. In the next part of the show, the pilot took the aircraft to its limits, displaying its agility under different altitude of flight. The performance of the aircraft was very impressive, high-G turns, inverted flying, vertical climb and deep dives were all that were expected from Pakistani team which have showed their talent in the past.

 

From PAF’s performance at Zhuahi, Izmir and now Dubai it is certain that a lot of high-maneuvering and deep stall testing has been done on JF-17s. During the course of such testing they multiple weapon configurations with different center of gravity (CG) are tried. The worst case is tested when centerline tanks or centerline pods are intact. Getting in a deep stall with a 50-60 deg Angel-of-Attack (AOA) and then recovering within minimum cycles is all that is needed. JF-17’s computer compares values of pitch, Angle-of-Attack, speed and attitude with default values of normal stall. Based on its instincts it decides to recover automatically.

 

The big reason why F-16 and Mirage pilots are selected for JF-17 program is that they have too much expertise in maneuvering training (both normal and high AOA maneuvering), which is a per-requisite for test and evaluation. Getting knowledge about aircraft’s aerodynamics, flight characteristics, recovery techniques and handling procedures is all that is required before going in the air. From the Nov 13th, JF-17’s performance it was also worth noting that during the landing approach the pilot positioned itself in the landing bracket from a high AOA to a 13 deg landing in a very small time. Needless to say, the landing was also ‘smooth as silk’…an example for young pilots too!


What is even more interesting is that, during the landing the pilot exhibits professionalism in managing the back pressure and speed. He is also seen managing horizontal stabilizers extensively to complete his perfect landing. Albeit JF-17 requires drogue chute to land under 850m runway, but this air display is enough evidence to disprove it.
During Exercise High Mark 2010, PAF Mirage-VEL and F-7PG aircraft participated in road landings at Motorway. JF-17’s landing (823m) and takeoff distance (610m) allows it to be deployed to any small air strip of road at the time of need, thus fulfilling the needs of a true Multirole fighter.

 

Youtube PAF JF-17′s performance at Dubai – Nov 13, 2011

 



 

 

 

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