Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on Wednesday formally inducted 14 JF-17 Thunder Block II dual-seater fighter aircraft into its fleet and also launched the production of Block III of the same aircraft, a significant advance in the country’s air defense arsenal.
According to an official release, a ceremony for the formal induction of 14 JF-17 Thunder Block II, a dual-seat combat fighter aircraft, jointly developed by Islamabad and Beijing, was held at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), the PAF’s manufacturing facility in Kamra, near capital Islamabad.
The grand ceremony was organized at the Aircraft Manufacturing Factory, Kamra where Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan was the chief guest while the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong and Executive Vice President of Aviation Industries of China (AVIC) Hao Zhaoping had also attended the ceremony as the guests of honour, said the statement released by PAF.
The air chief had also inaugurated the JF-17 Dual-Seat Integration facility at Avionics Production Factory, Kamra.
Chief of the Air Staff Mujahid Anwar Khan congratulated Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC) on successful accomplishment of 2019 production target and completing the first eight dual-seat JF-17 aircraft in a record time of five months.
He had said that JF-17 Thunder is the backbone of PAF which has been battle-proven during operation Swift Retort.
The induction of JF-17 Block II dual-seater aircraft will increase the potential for national defense and in another significant development Pakistan Air Force begins preparations for the Block 3 of JF-17 multirole fighter aircraft, Pakistan’s first 4.5 Generation fighter jet and the most advanced JF-17 variant that represents cutting-edge aerospace technology which is believed to be equivalent to that of Rafael jets.
The PAC in Kamra has so far delivered more than 100 home-made JF-17 Block I and Block II aircraft to the PAF since 2009.
The production is part of the modernization of Pakistan’s air fleet to compete with its arch-rival, the Indian Air Force, which has more than 2,000 aircrafts compared to the PAF’s current strength of over 900 aircraft and helicopters.