Procurement: Russia Allows Export of RD93 to Pakistan


November24, 2006: Russia has relented, and will now allow China to export it's new JF17 (also known as FC-1 and Super 7) fighter to Pakistan. Pakistan has paid for much of the development expenses., and was not happy when Russia insisted that, because the FC1 uses a Russian engine, the RD93, China could not export the fighter. Russia did not want to offend India, a major arms customer, by being one of the suppliers for FC-1s used by Pakistan (an enemy of India). Pakistan also has a deal to build the FC-1 itself, using Chinese and Russian components.

The 13 ton JF17 is meant to be a low cost ($20 million) alternative to the American F16. The JF17 is considered the equal to earlier versions of the F16, but only 80 percent as effective as more recent F-16 models. The JF17 uses the same Russian engine, the RD-93, that is used in the MiG29. The JF-17 design is based on a cancelled Russian project, the MiG33. Most of the JF-17 electronics are Western, with Italian firms being major suppliers. The JF-17; can carry 3.6 tons of weapons and use radar guided and heat seeking missiles. It has max speed of Mach 1.6, an operating range of 1,300 kilometers and a max altitude of 55,000 feet.

The JF17 first flew three years ago, and the aircraft is expected to enter service next year. China is trying to build an engine equal in performance to the RD93, but isn't quite there yet. Pakistan planned on buying 150 of the JF17s, but now says it may build and buy as many as 300.

The Russians say they relented because they realized that if they did not sell the RD93 engines to Pakistan, someone else, an European or American firm, would come in with a similar engine and get all that business. Apparently, this argument was sufficient for the Indians, who did not go out of their way to interfere.


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