A ceremony arranged at Minhas Airbase in Kamra witnessed induction of 16 new JF-17 Thunder fighter jets in the No. 14 Squadron (Tail Choppers ) of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). The No. 14 Squadron is the oldest squadron of the Pakistani Air Force. It was formally known as “Shaheens” before. It was equipped with different planes in the past like: F-86 Sabre, Shenyang F-6, FT-6, F-16, F-7P and now the JF-17 Thunder.
Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif was the chief guest at the ceremony. The Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman was also present at the occasion. The defense minister inspected the guard of honor followed by an impressive fly-past. Later, he inspected newly added jets.
PAF flies over 70 JF-17 Thunder jets. A total of 16 JF-17 Thunder aircraft were produced last year and handed over to the PAF.
The new jet can operate in various configurations to carry out different missions like: air-to-air and air-to-ground strikes. It can mount both short-range infra-red air to air missiles and longer ranged radar-guided BVR missiles, which makes it a front line interceptor.
The aircraft can lift 8,000lbs of ordinance on seven external hardpoints. It gives the PAF the much needed capability of beyond visual range (BVR) engagements.
The PAF is expected to induct 250-300 units of the JF-17 to replace obsolete jets, which are still in operation.