According to a report, 40 percent of JF-17 Thunder fighter jets of Pakistan Air Force is grounded due to multiple reasons.
A fighter jets which is powered by a Russian engine and considering that JF-17 is single engine aircraft, 60% availability is definitely not a bad number.
But only if this availability issue occurred due to poor maintenance or due to scarcity of spare parts, but as mentioned in report these jets are grounded due to structural issue.
There are problems in fuselage area with cracks being detected in lower area. Cracks were also noticed in the strake areas, which could be in the fuselage or wings.
These are the areas which face intense stress in the air when pilots pulled intense G-load manoeuvre.
The problem of cracks in the airframe of an aircraft that is only 10-13 years old confirms how bad the aircraft quality is.
The structure of JF-17 is made up of metal rather than composite material, but even the metallic Airframes didn’t cracks so easily.
There are also cases of anchor breakages in the JF-17. This is another sign of structural weakness. The radar and it’s attached equipment is heavy and is clearly too heavy for that part of the fighter, sources said.
There is no quick fix for these structural issue. The jets need to be go to refurbished in order to again fly in the air.
As many aircraft is on long term ground, the availability of aircraft will definitely far below than 60 percent as the rest of the jets also need to maintained regularly.
The JF-17’s canopy electrical system is also malfunctioning. This is also the case in the JF-17B, dual seat variant of the jets.
However what Pakistani Air Force can expect from a made in Chinese product, they only care about quantity not quality.