Jan 29, 2016

JF-17 Block II advances with new refuelling probe

Images revealed on Chinese websites on 23 January indicate the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) FC-1 export fighter - co-developed with Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, which calls it the JF-17 Thunder - is advancing into a 'Block II' development and reportedly testing new weapons.
New images of an FC-1 at the CAC airfield with port number 229 show the first employment of an apparently Chinese-designed aerial refuelling probe: an important feature of the JF-17 Block II version. The probe features a streamlined tube, is located below the aircraft's cockpit canopy frame and may be detachable.
Chinese reports indicate the refuelling probe design will be used by the Block II version of the FC-1/JF-17. However, this is not yet confirmed as the Chinese-designed refuelling probe differs from an initial version first seen on a JF-17 in Pakistan in late 2013. This previous design was entirely cylindrical and its shape and placement just behind the canopy frame indicate there was probably design assistance from Denel Aviation of South Africa. Denel, formerly Atlas Aviation, has previously assisted with outfitting some Pakistani Mirage III fighters with refuelling probes.
Other images that appeared on Chinese websites in late January showed the new refueling probe-modified FC-1 in flight testing on an unknown but likely recent date.

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