JF-17 Thunder Block 3 vs F-16 Fighting Falcon

F-16 vs. JF-17

The sentence JF-17 vs. F-16 is a hot debate, especially in Pakistan. Both of these jets have been undoubtedly the cornerstone of Pakistan Air Force (PAF). While Pakistan was an American ally, and debatably it still is, Pakistan relied heavily on US-made F-16s. Not only they gave PAF an unprecedented edge in aerial competitiveness, but they also added to the overall strength of the fleet.

Over the year, F-16 became a crucial resource for Pakistan as most of its pilots trained and conducted flights on this very jet. However, after the deterioration of relations, Pakistan realized that it needs to attain self-sufficiency in terms of aerial power manufacturing.

Enter JF-17: A jet made solely for the needs of PAF and to attain self-sufficiency. The program cost Pakistan more than $500 million. Was this worth it?

The JF-17 has unquestionably shown its dominance in the battlefield. Starting from basic surveillance operations in Northern Areas all the way to countering and downing Indian jet MIG-21  during the Balakot incident.

Pakistan aims to soon replace its old fleet with upcoming JF-17s. Furthermore, the development of Block-III is being actively carried out. The question arises that if Pakistan built JF-17 to counter F-16’s reliance, then how do they both compare against each other in performance.


Maximum Speed.

In terms of speed, F-16 surely has an edge with its maximum being 2175 km/h. When it comes to JF-17, the jet can attain a maximum speed of 1909 km/h.

Stall Speed.

Stall speed refers to the lowest speed a jet needs to fly and maintain its altitude. When it comes to stall speed, F-16 stands at just over 230 km/h. However, for JF-17 it’s only 150 km/h since it is extremely lightweight.


Both of the jets have a fair amount of range packed in their normal configurations. For the F-16, the jet has a range of 4220 km while the JF-17 boasts only 2500 km. However, considering that Pakistan has never been fond of longer-range interventions, the range seems workable.

In terms of combat range, JF-17 can operate within 1352 km while the F-16 loses the mark with just 550 km.

G Limits.

The g limits of the F-16 are actually limited by the flight control system. It is not different from the JF-17 either. Both of these jets can attain a maximum g limit of +9. However, some sources argue that JF-17 has a g limit of 8 at the moment. 

Thrust to Weight Ratio.

We know that the JF-17 is extremely light. But what is the thrust to weight ratio? It depends on the engine.

In the variants with the RD-93 engine, the JF-17 can push its ratio to 0.95. While with the WS-13 variant, the ratio sits at 0.97.

When it comes to F-16, the engine provides an immense push to the jet. With the normal configuration, the jet has a thrust to weight ratio of more than 1.095. However, when it is with loaded weight and 50% internal fuel, the ratio can climb up to 1.24.

Concluding notes.

There are a lot of factors to consider when comparing JF-17 vs. F-16. JF-17 was made specifically for Pakistani needs in the battlefield while F-16 was an all-weather aircraft. This comparison in no way highlights the general characteristics, armament, and avionics that these jets may have. So, do pitch in with your opinions on what you think about JF-17 vs. F-16 we would love to hear them!


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