Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pakistan Air Force Chief Rao Qamar Visits JF-17 Thunder at Farnborough Air Show

Pakistan Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman has termed the development and production of JF-17 Thunder warplanes in co-operation with China as ‘success story’ and said the two countries will continue their mutual co-operation in the aviation field.

The Air Chief was speaking on the occasion of the biennial Farnborough International Air Show 2010 which opened in south west England on Monday where two PAF JF-17 Thunder fighter planes are on static display along with other latest military and civilians aircrafts from around the globe.

The two aircraft have been co-developed and co-produced by Pakistan Air Force and China Aviation Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC).PAF delegation is headed by Air Vice Marshal Muhammad Arif. The two aircraft have been flown to the UK by Wing Commander Khalid and Sqn Ldr. Leader Azkaar.

The Chief of Air Staff is currently visiting UK on the invitation of Royal Air Force. The Air Chief held meetings with the President CATIC Li Yu Hai and Vice President Aviation Industry of China (AVIC) Li Yu Hai and visited joint Stall setup by CATIC and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra, and signed the visitors book.

This is the first time that JF-17 Thunder aircraft has been put on display at any international air show by the PAF.The Pakistan Air Force officially inducted its first JF-17 squadron on February 18 this year. The aircraft will eventually replace its present fleet of F-7, A-5 and Mirage planes.

The Air Force has already announced that it has a confirmed order for 150 JF-17’s which may increase of 250 aircraft.JF-17 Thunder aircraft is an advanced multi-role light combat aircraft jointly developed by Chengdu and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex under a strategic collaboration project.

The aircraft is designed to be cost-effective and can meet the tactical and strategic needs of the Pakistan Air Force, and various other air forces.The production facilities have been setup for the aircraft in Pakistan. The first batch of 50 JF-17 Thunder aircrafts will be equipped with the Chinese/Pakistani avionics and missiles, while the later aircrafts are to be equipped with more advanced radars and missiles.

Last month, latest version of three F-16’s aircraft were inducted into PAF. These were of 18 Block 52 C/D ordered by PAF from the United States.The JF-17 Thunder is an all weather, multi-role, light combat aircraft.

Its design is based on modern concepts of aerodynamics and is equipped with hybrid fly-by-wire flight control system. The aircraft has a full glass cockpit, excellent man-machine interface and modern self-protection suite, which gives it a good combat potential and ensures its survivability in high threat combat environments.

The aircraft is equipped with fourth generation avionics systems, wide range of conventional/smart weapons. Beyond Visual Range and short range air-to-air missiles, and air-to-surface missiles, the aircraft also has a remarkably short take-off/landing distance that gives it the flexibility to operate from short airfields.

Shortly, the aircraft will also have the air-to-air refuelling capability which will further enhance its combat potential and employment options.

First proto type of the JF-17 aircraft flew in September, 2003.After flight testing, a small batch of eight aircraft was produced in year 2007 and finally serial production of the aircraft started in Pakistan last year and so far 16 aircraft have been produced.

The JF-17 aircraft will be produced in blocks of 50 aircraft each where every succeeding block would be an upgraded version of the preceding block. Pakistan’s share in co-production of the airframe of JF-17 aircraft would be more than 50%. Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra, has the capacity to roll-out 15-25 aircraft per year.-APP


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