KAMRA, PAKISTAN: A new JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighter plane, first of its kind made in Pakistan, was unveiled at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) here Monday.
Representatives from the Chinese embassy, the Chinese companies involved in the project, the Pakistani three services and federal ministries were present at a ceremony held at the PAC in Kamra, some 60 kilometers northwest of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.
Speaking at the rollout ceremony, Pakistani Prime Minister SyedYusuf Raza Gilani said that this will kick start a new era in Pakistan-China relationship and Pakistan’s aviation industry.
He added that it is “the achievement of an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to attain self-reliance”.
Formally handing over the combat aircraft to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Gilani said that the PAF has played a significant role in the country’s defense and the war against terror.
In his message, Pakistani Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman thanked the Chinese government for extending support in designing a fighter aircraft to meet Pakistan’s specific needs besides helping in setting up aircraft production facilities in the country.
He said that the PAF will always meet its obligations and spare no sacrifice in defending the motherland against all external and internal threats.
Speaking at the ceremony, Chinese Ambassador Luo Zhaohui said that the JF-17 project is a milestone in cooperation between the armed forces of China and Pakistan.
Luo also expressed the hope that it will further enhance the friendly relationship and cooperation between the two countries inall fields.
According to a PAC press release, the JF-17 has been developed to meet the tactical and strategic needs of the PAF. The aircraft is designed to accommodate future upgrades and additional requirements. Equipped with advanced avionics, it is capable of carrying multiple air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons.