As part of ongoing Pak-China defense trade, China will deliver 50 units of JF-17 Thunder combat aircraft to Pakistan Air Force over the next three years, a top Chinese official said.
Li Pei, former head of the aircraft project under the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, described the JF-17 as a landmark achievement in cooperation between Beijing and Islamabad in the defense sector.
Chengdu Aircraft will produce some parts of 50 jets for Pakistan over the next three years, Li told the state-run People’s Daily. Remaining production will be done in Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra.
Pakistan has already developed 60 jets through cooperation with China since 2007. Ten of them were used by a test and evaluation unit of the Pakistan Air Force while 50 jets were assigned to two combat squadrons namely Black Spiders and Black Panthers. Under the contract signed by the two countries, Pakistan will receive a total of 110 JF-17 jets.
The JF-17 was jointly developed by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex.
Recently, eight JF-17 jets of the PAF escorted President Xi Jinping’s aircraft when it entered Pakistani airspace before his arrival in Islamabad on April 20.
Pak-China friendship remains a matter of concern for India, which is one of biggest arms importer in the South Asian region.