Air Marshal Javed Ahmed, chief of the state-owned Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), said the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had already received 50 of the home-made aircraft and that the supply of the second block is expected to start this month. The JF-17 was first introduced to the PAF in 2007.
“The five aircraft of the next block would be inducted (into PAF) this year,” Air Marshal Javed Ahmed, told AFP on the sidelines of International Defence Exhibition And Seminars (Ideas) 2014 in Karachi.
Pakistan has been manufacturing the JF-17 aircraft since 2009 with the help of the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation of China (CACC). In addition to block one, block two is now in production which has advanced avionics and mid-air refueling capabilities.
“JF-17 is a modern aircraft, it fulfills all the needs of PAF, it is affordable, the cockpit is very user friendly, all beyond visual range attack capabilities as well as stand of deliveries are available at this aircraft,” Ahmed said.
The PAF intends to induct at least 200 JF-17s into its fleet to replace the ageing F-7s and Dassault Mirage-III. The PAF also has explored the possibility of acquiring the J-10s and last month enquired about the new range of stealth aircraft, J-31, that China unveiled during an airshow in Zhuhai.
The ordnance factories have recently been making attempts to develop arms to meet domestic needs, as well as seeking to tap into the export market.
“A lot of international customers from developing countries have shown interest in the aircraft and we are in active negotiations with many countries,” the PAC chief said.