Pakistan and China are jointly producing the JF-17B dual seat combat fighter aircraft to be inducted by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).
Production of the multi-role combat aircraft was announced at an induction ceremony held at Chengdu Aerospace Corporation (CAC ) Chengdu, China.
Developed jointly by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC ) and the CAC, the aircraft can be used for aerial reconnaissance, ground attack and aircraft interception.
The PAF will induct the twin-seater version by April next year for training and enhanced operational capability.
Commenting on the project, PAF air marshal Muhammad Iqbal said that the dual seat aircraft is of great value for PAF in enhancing not only training value but also the operational capability and the induction of dual seat JF-17B aircraft would also improve its market prospects in future.
Iqbal also thanked Chinese leadership for their continuous support in the design, development and manufacturing phases of the JF-17 development project.
The aircraft will undergo testing in September this year.
The JF-17 aircraft was primarily developed to replace the PAF’s fleet of Dassault Mirage III/5 fighters, Nanchang A-5 bombers, and Chengdu F-7 interceptors.
The PAF’s first JF-17 aircraft was inducted in February 2010.
As of December 2015, 49 JF-17 Thunder aircraft were in service with 50 additional airframes ordered, of which 17 have been delivered.
Image: Pakistan Air Force JF-17 Thunder. Photo: courtesy of Aldo Bidini.