Fourth JF-17 Thunder squadron whole as PAC rolls out
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) on Monday rolled out the 16th Block 2 JF-17 aircraft and officially handed it over to the Pakistan Air force (PAF), indicating the end of four squadrons.
Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman attended the service, with Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain attending as the chief guest.
Hussain reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment towards encouraging self-reliance in defense creation and thanked the authorities of China for its unrelenting support.
“I value the crucial part played by our time-tested Chinese buddies for the success with the JF17 plan. Their support of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra and so many other jobs is cherished and highly valued by every Pakistani,” Hussain said.
The Chief of Air Staff expressed his satisfaction with all the improvement to the JF17 program.
He commended the professional competence and dedication shown by PAC staff in meeting the landmarks of the JF17 program and encouraged them to continue their best efforts in pursuit of superiority.
PAC Kamra is in command of the upkeep of all PAF operational assets.
In 2010, the Chief of the Air Staff in the time, Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman had said the aircraft would be the mainstay of PAF’s operations, multiply its operational capability and empower it to run day-and-night multiple operations, which became critical in the prevalent international and regional scenario.
JF17: Operational history
The JF-17 Thunder, a single-engine multi-role fighter jet, and was jointly developed by China and Pakistan. Development on the aircraft began in 1999, as well as the maiden flight was conducted in 2003.
The first Block 1 JF 17s was received in 2007, with creation of the updated Block, 2 JF-17s began in 2013. The updated versions have updated avionics, air to air refueling capacity. Data link, improved electronic warfare capacity and improved load carrying ability.
The JF17 could be equipped with air to air and air to ground ordinance. The aircraft mounts both short-range infrared air to air missiles along with more ranged radar-guided BVR missiles, an essential ability for a frontline interceptor.
The aircraft can take 8, 000lbs of ordinance on seven external hard points, which is an adequate quantity of ordinance for any mission profile. The JF17 enriches the essential capacity of the air force in beyond the visual range (BVR) battles.
The JF17 is a competent platform, and is on its way to form the keystone of the PAF. It was reported that between 250, and 300 aircraft will soon be inducted into the air force as a way to phase out the ageing fleet of other aircraft versions, which are still in operation.
For the Pakistan Air Force, the JF17 fills the opening that had sprung up due to an ageing stock, which was further affected by sanctions put upon the country following the nuclear tests in 1998.