The JF-17 Thunder is a fighter jet which has been developed with the joint collaboration of Pakistan and China. There has been a lot of hype about this aircraft in recent years. Pakistani and Chinese authorities are aggressively searching for customers for this aircraft. Recently they have got some orders from an Air Force of an undisclosed Asian country.

Is the JF-17 merely an upgraded Mig-21/F-7 (like Mig-21 Bison), or is it a whole new aircraft?

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    $\begingroup$ If we actually knew the answer, could we/would we tell you? It seems as if you are asking questions where the responses might jeopardize national security. $\endgroup$ Jun 19 '15 at 0:23
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    $\begingroup$ Do you have a link to some more information about the aircraft? And what does "good" mean for you? I don't think there's any clear way to answer this; you seem to be asking for opinions, but if you can make the question more factual and objective then you might get some good responses. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Jun 19 '15 at 1:37
  • $\begingroup$ pac.org.pk/jf-17 $\endgroup$
    – user8792
    Jun 19 '15 at 1:46
  • $\begingroup$ catic.cn/indexPortal/home/… $\endgroup$
    – user8792
    Jun 19 '15 at 1:48
  • $\begingroup$ The basic performance numbers (max speed and altitude, thrust, thrust/weight ratio, G limit) are easy to get. But qualified comparison would require military exercise with China or Pakistan and some NATO country that has Gripens and that is extremely unlikely and even if it happened, the details would likely remain classified anyway. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Jun 19 '15 at 7:19

One peculiarity was that the Pakistanis had a clause in their agreement with the Chinese that the JF-17 not be an F-7/Super 7 upgrade. Yet, the similarities to the Super 7 are quite obvious. If not actually based on the Super 7, then there is at least some commonality of design philosophy.

The truth is, it's impossible to tell. However, even if far back in it's genes there is still elements of the MiG-21 that wouldn't be so extraordinary. The F-18 if you go back, has parts of the F-5, which itself was based upon a 1950s fighter, the N156! As a slight twist, the Super 7 has elements of the F-20 Tigershark, which is an updated F-5.

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    $\begingroup$ Interesting answer, and welcome to aviation.se. Is there any reference you can link to that documents any of this? $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Nov 26 '15 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ I seriously doubt the Super 7 has any elements of the F-20 in it, apart from cosmetic similarities. Northrop never deliveed F-20s to anyone, let alone to Pakistan or communist China. You can't just an aircraft to be derived from another merely based on looks, which you are doing. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Nov 27 '15 at 9:33
  • $\begingroup$ @jwenting I never said derived, but some elements of the F-20. This is because the design of the Super 7 was in collaboration with Grumman, who had just finished the F-20 (mid-1980s). Apparently, and I'm sorry I have no links, the Grumman team recommended the same intake/nose solution as they used for the F-20. QED, whilst it's right that the elements are indirect, they are extant. $\endgroup$
    – DietCoke
    Feb 27 '16 at 0:02
  • $\begingroup$ @RalphJ I am dreadfully sorry, but it was in a magazine article, and I can't find it. Many do claim that it's the full Chinese version of the Sino-American Super-7, that was cancelled in 1989, when Grumman pulled out for political reasons. There are indeed design similarities, however this doesn't mean that there is a family connection to the MiG-21, or that, if there are, they're more than tenuous, like calling contemporary Russian bombers B-29s, because they, over many years, evolved from it (although, the connection would be tighter here, if it exists). $\endgroup$
    – DietCoke
    Feb 27 '16 at 0:12
  • $\begingroup$ Note that while the F18 is produced by Boeing (and formerly M-D), it is a development of the XF17, a Northrop design that lost out to the F16 in the lightweight fighter competition. M-D bought the design from Northrop for Navy use, because the F17 had two engines, desirable for extended over water use. The Northrop heritage accounts for the F18's use of F5 parts, as the F5/T38 was also produced by Northrop. The F20 was a development of the F5 that never found any buyers. $\endgroup$
    – tj1000
    Apr 21 '18 at 6:55

JF-17 is certainly not a mig-22/f7 derivative. It's a generation ahead of those aircraft, a whole new aircraft.

In terms of capabilities, it is designed to give maximum bang for buck while keeping multi-role capabilities. It's got BVR missiles, an impressive array of stand off weapons for strike purposes, so on etc.

It comes with no political strings attached, like western aircraft often do.

It's a low risk investment with decent capabilities, certainly no where near the latest F-16s in terms of capabilities, money or political strings.

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    $\begingroup$ The JF-17 is most definitely not a Mig-21 derivative. If anything it looks like a single-engined variant of the F/A-18, with a smidgen of Gripen. In other words it's at least a full "generation" behind the cutting edge of the F-22, PAK FA, J-20 etc, but it's also only $15 million a plane (export F-16s start at 20 million each) and it can be produced domestically, with the Chinese mainly helping with the technical development and initial production. $\endgroup$
    – KeithS
    Jun 22 '15 at 20:18

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