ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) announced on Wednesday that Pakistan is observing into an official initiation of the newly-launched JF-17B dual seat fighter jet by April 2017.
Manufacturing of the first JF-17B was started by Pakistan and China during a dual ceremony at Chengdu Aerospace Corporation. The PAF said that the jet is set to make its initial flight by the end of this year.
The twofold seat jets will improve drill value and working capability, Air Marshal Muhammad Iqbal said at the ceremony. He also acknowledged Chinese leadership for their non-stop support in the design, development and manufacturing phases of the JF-17 development project.
The JF-17 Thunder, a single-engine multi-role fighter jet, and was mutually established by China and Pakistan. Development on the aircraft started in 1999, and the maiden flight was conducted in 2003.
The initial Block 1 JF-17s were received in 2007, with manufacture of the advanced Block 2 JF-17s started in 2013. The improved models have elevated avionics, air-to-air refuelling capability, data link, enhanced electronic warfare capability and enhanced load carrying ability.
The JF-17 can be armed with air-to-air and air-to-ground ordinance. The aircraft stands both short-range infra-red air to air missiles along with longer ranged radar-guided BVR missiles, a vital aptitude for a forefront interceptor.
The aircraft can carry 8,000lbs of ordinance on seven external hard points, which is a satisfactory amount of ordinance for any mission profile. The JF-17 improves the much needed ability of the air force in beyond visual range (BVR) engagements.
The JF-17 is a skilled platform, and is on its way to form the backbone of the PAF. It was reported that between 250 and 300 aircraft will be inducted into the air force in order to phase out the senior fleet of some other aircraft models that are still in operation.