The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is all set to induct a first batch of next generation JF-17 Thunder block III fighter jets built jointly with China to upgrade its fleet by the end of next month, a PAF spokesperson has said, Arab News reported.
JF-17 Thunder, an advanced, light-weight, all weather, multi-role fighter aircraft with air-to-air and air-to-surface combat capabilities, was developed as a joint venture between the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAC) in China. The aircraft will replace Pakistan’s current aging fleet, the report said.
The first JF-17 prototype aircraft (called FC-1) was rolled out in May 2003. Basic flight testing was completed in 2007, which marked the arrival of the JF-17 Thunder aircraft in Pakistan, formally presented to the nation as a Pakistan Day gift on March 23, 2007. PAC has delivered nearly 120 JF-17 Block I and II fighter jets to PAF since 2009.
“JF-17 Thunder block III is the latest aircraft of this series and all taxi tests and flight tests have been completed,” a PAF spokesperson told Arab News on Tuesday.
“It’s first batch will become part of the PAF fleet by the end of March,” he added, saying there would be a proper induction ceremony on the occasion, the report said.The rollout ceremony of block III was held in December last year, the spokesperson said. The new JF-17 jets will also fly-past at the Pakistan Day military parade on March 23, he added.