On November 9th, the second day of the 14th Dubai International Air Show, AVIC CATIC and Pakistan Aeronautical complex (PAC) Kamra held a joint press conference for the JF-17 Thunder fighter. During the press conference, AVIC and PAC introduced the latest progress of the fighter co-developed by China and Pakistan to domestic and international media.
They also released the blueprint for the fighter’s international market development. AVIC CATIC Executive Vice President Liu Yu and PAC Vice President, Air Vice Marshal Arshad Malik attended the press conference and answered questions from the media.
JF-17 Thunder fighter is co-developed and co-produced by AVIC and PAF. The aircraft is mainly designed for air-to-air combat, but also equipped with strong air-to-surface combat capability. It is an all-weather, single-engine, single-seat, lightweight, multipurpose third-generation combat aircraft.
After several years’ co-development and marketing, China and Pakistan have signed a contract with third party customer for the purchase of JF-17 Thunder. Liu Yu indicated that JF-17 Thunder had performed flights and had been exhibited in many international airshows in Zhuhai, Paris, Dubai and other cities. It had showed its strong capabilities in air-to-air, air-to-surface combats and its great cost-effectiveness, receiving extensive attention in the global aviation industry.
As China and Pakistan improve their ability and skills in co-developing JF-17 Thunder, the aircraft is becoming a “Blue Ocean product” with much market potentials as an ideal replacement for second-generation fighters in many countries’ air force.
Several batches of JF-17 Thunder have been delivered to Pakistan Air Force and have become a fighting force. According to Air Vice Marshal Arshad Malik, the PAF has equipped itself with 60 JF-17 Thunder fighters and will procure 40 more in the future. JF-17 Thunder’s excellent performance and combat capability have been repeatedly demonstrated in Pakistan’s domestic and international military exercises. Air Vice Marshal Malik said that these JF-17 Thunder fighters will soon be deployed into combat.
Air Vice Marshal Arshad Malik also indicated that they had been improving and upgrading JF-17 Thunder since it began to equip the PAF. The JF-17 fighters manufactured later will be capable of in-flight refueling. It will also be equipped with advanced data link, electronic combat capability and new guided weapons in the future.
When talking about the development progress of JF-17’s two-seater trainer version, Air Vice Marshal Arshad Malik revealed that the trainer version was designed not only for pilot training, but also with the same combat capability as the single-seat JF-17 Thunder. He said the trainer version will perform its maiden flight next year, and the PAF has plans to procure this two-seater version.
AVIC and PAC said that as JF-17 Thunder was further introduced to the market at the Dubai Air Show, their joint sales team would further develop the international market. They anticipate a market for at least 300 JF-17 Thunder fighters.