Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is expected to receive the last batch of JF-17 Thunder Block II multirole fighter aircraft next month.
JF-17 Thunder is a joint production of Pakistan’s Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and China’s Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) and is known for its advanced features and cost-effectiveness. The Thunder has proved its metal in the latest dogfight with arch-rival India.
Jane’s Defense Weekly has quoted PAF Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan saying that the Air Force will be handed over the remaining three JF-17 Block II aircraft by the end of June this year.
The upcoming supply is part of an order of 12 aircraft placed late in 2017, he said.
The Jets are currently getting the ‘finishing touch’ at Aircraft Manufacturing Factory (AMF), the final assembly line at PAC. AMF has delivered more than 100 JF-17s to Pakistan Air Force since November 2009, when the first JF-17 (serialled 09-111) was rolled out.
In the next step, PAF is going to add 50 indigenously built fourth generation JF-17 fighter jets to its fleet by the year 2022 – the production is starting later this year.
What’s New in JF-17 Block 3?
JF-17 Block 3 is a fourth generation warplane with more advanced equipment and features such as:
- New electronic warfare system
- Upgraded Avionics Lab
- Helmet mounted display and sighting system
- A new single panel multi-functional display
- An active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar
- An infrared search and track system
- A two-seater cockpit option with a flight control stick
- A top speed of 2.00 plus Mach
- Three-axis fly-by-wire digital flight control system
These upgrades will bring JF-17 Block 3 to be a close match of an improved version of the F-16 fighter jet.