KAMRA: Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) formally handed-over the 50th indigenously produced Block-I JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft to Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in a ceremony held here on Wednesday.
The event also marked the launch of production work for Block-ll JF-17 aircraft.
Prime Minister, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif graced the occasion as a chief guest.
Federal Defence Minister, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Federal Defence Production Minister, Rana Tanvir Hussain, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee (CJCSC), Gen. Rashad Mahmood, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Raheel Sharif, Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila, secretaries of relevant ministries, Ambassador of China to Pakistan, alongside senior officials of Chinese aviation industry, also attended the ceremony.
A MoU regarding the co-production of Block-ll of additional 50 JF-17 aircraft was also signed. The MoU included the joint sales and marketing agreement with China Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC).
Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt, while speaking on the occasion, highlighted the importance of JF-17 aircraft for PAF.
He said that the aircraft had been designed to fulfill PAF’s operational needs and its induction would help PAF to replace its aging fleet of fighter aircraft.
The Air Chief highlighted that there was close cooperation between the aviation industries of china and PAC and the JF-17 project was the strongest link in this context.
Earlier, Chairman PAC Kamra, Air Marshal Sohail Gul Khan, presented the program review and highlighted the salient aspects of co-production project.
The JF-17 Thunder’ is a multi role aircraft which has been co-developed and co-produced with the support of Chinese Aviation Industry, to meet PAF’ requirements.
The developmental work of the aircraft commenced in year-1999. Detailed design of the JF-17 aircraft was finalized in 2001; its development from the drawing-board to the maiden- fight of the first prototype was achieved within a short span.
After flight testing, a Small Batch of 08 aircraft was produced in year-2007 and finally serial co-production of the aircraft at PAC Kamra was started in Pakistan in Year-2009.
The JF-17 is being produced in blocks of 50 aircraft each where every succeeding block would be an upgraded version of the preceding block. Therefore, Block-ll JF-17s will have improved versions of avionics sub-systems, air-to-air refuelling capability, additional weapons carriage capability, optimized maintenance facilitation and some additional operational capabilities.