An unidentified Middle Eastern country has shown keen interest and is in talks to purchase the JF-17 Thunder (a.k.a FC-1 Dragon)- an aircraft jointly developed by Pakistan and China.
A joint team from the Pakistan Air Force and China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation also known as CATIC, are leading sales initiative and talks with around 10 other countries to sell the JF-17 Thunder, said PAF Air Commodore Khalid Mahmood – head of sales and marketing for the program. The volatile political situation in Middle East is impacting potential sales and causing delay, said Khalid Mahmood in an interview at the Zhuhai Air Show.
The JF-17 Thunder fighter jet is among several aircraft China is seeking to export, after designating its domestic aerospace sector as a key national strategic industry. The single-engine jet was jointly designed and manufactured by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and Chengdu Aircraft Corporation, a subsidiary of state-owned Aviation Industry Corp of China, also known as AVIC.
Pakistan Air Force is currently using 50 units of the aircraft and working on its Block 2. Prospective orders will be for the third block of 50 planes. There are plans in place for coming up with a dual-seater version of the JF-17 Thunder after seeking feedback from potential clients.