The serial production of JF-17 (Thunder) aircraft would start soon as Pakistan and China have agreed to start serial production of the fighter aircrafts. In this regard an agreement between Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and Chinese firm Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAC) was signed here on Saturday, under which 15 aircrafts will be produced annually.
The agreement between PAF and CAC on the basis of “seller’s credit” was signed in a ceremony. Chairman, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), Air Marshal Khalid Chaudary and President CAC MA Zhiping signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations. Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed and Ambassador of China to Pakistan Luo Zhaohui were also present on the occasion.
Under this agreement the lot of 42 aircraft would be co-manufactured by China and Pakistan and later these would be inducted in the fleet of Pakistan Air Force. Talking to media, Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mehmood Ahmed congratulated the peoples and governments of Pakistan and China on conducting successful tests and trails of the most modern aircraft of its class and signing of agreement for start of their serial production.
He said “despite all odds, we have been successful to reach the stage of starting serial production of the aircraft.” “In the beginning, we will produce 15 aircrafts annually and their number will increase to 30 in a year. This programme will be carried out in phases,” he said.
Tanvir said first squadron of these highest quality fighter jets would be inducted in the PAF’s fleet by mid of this year, as PAF has already been using 8 jointly produced aircrafts for the last couple of years. This fleet would be raised in Peshawar, he added. About the delivery of AWACS system to Pakistan, he said that agreement had already been reached with a Chinese firm which would start its delivery by 2010.
On the delivery of first AWACS system, Pakistan would pay 10 percent cost of the aircraft while the rest would be paid on easy instalments basis, he said. Answering a question, he said the agreement between Pakistan and China for the delivery of High-Tech aircraft J-10 was intact and these aircrafts after improving them further would be delivered to PAF in 2014 – 15. He said these aircrafts are being modernised in accordance with the PAF’s requirements and would be delivered under the title of FC-20.
Story first published: 8th March 2009