25 May 2013 terminalx.org
People's Daily, Beijing, May 23 (Reporter Yang Mu) - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang came to his official visit to Pakistan on May 22nd. He arrived at Islamabad, at the Nur Khan air field. Earlier, when Li Keqiang's plane entered Pakistani airspace, the Pakistan Air Force sent six JF-17 fighters to escort the Premier. On stepping out of the door of the airplane, an additional overpass was made over the airport. When the news of this came out, it immediately aroused worldwide attention.
JF-17 is made by the China Aviation Industry Group CATIC, Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation and Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute, among other organizations, in joint development with the Pakistan Air Force. The JF-17 is a new generation of single engined, single-seat, multi-role light fighters and is an important cooperation between the two countries. It is known as a successful example of cooperation between China and Pakistan. Pakistan Air Force named it the JF-17 Thunder.
On the afternoon of May 23rd, a People's Daily reporter Yang interviewed the "Fierce Dragon" fighter's Chief Architect.
Reporter: As the designer of the JF-17, how did you feel when Premier Li Keqiang's plane was escorted by the JF-17 when visiting Pakistan?
Yang: Prime Minister's visit being escorted by Pakistani JF-17 fighter jets reflects on the political importance of the visit and also the close relationship between China and Pakistan. As the developer we are very proud. A full escort is pretty spectacular and we read the news and saw the pictures. Pakistan sent 6 JF-17s, reflecting the importance of the JF-17 in the Pakistan Air Force.
Reporter: What improvements are to be made on the JF-17 in the future?
Yang: As a fighter, sensor suite and strike capability is the force multiplier. We will focus on improving the JF-17 in terms of information perception, system integration capabilities and weaponry, making it a better third generation aircraft. [Chinese 3rd Generation = Western 4th Generation]
Reporter: Are there plans to develop a two-seater JF-17?
Yang: We have plans to develop two-seater, and there are plans to develop series models.
Reporter: Will the stealth performance further improve?
Yang: The JF-17 itself is not a full stealth aircraft, but the design is considered low observable because of such factors as a front edge of the wing sweep angle, S bend inlet, etc., which are better for stealth. In addition, the JF-17 among third generation aircraft, in the head is relatively small, whose stealth is good. The future will take low-cost stealth measures to further improve the stealth ability.
Reporter: What is the status of the JF-17's engine development?
Yang: The engine of the JF-17 fighter and other major national engine developments is going according to plan and has made considerable achievements.
Reporter: Are there any plans for improving air refueling capability in the "Fierce Dragon" jets?
Yang: Within a year or two, we will see the air refueling capability of the "Fierce Dragon" aircraft in Pakistan.
[Refined English translation from http://world.people.com.cn/n/2013/0524/c349424-21595064.html]