Myanmar is negotiating with Pakistan to licence-build Chinese-Pak JF-17 multi-role combat aircraft.
Also, the first of 16 imported JF-17s ordered by Myanmar in 2015 are expected to go into service with the air force later this year.
If a deal to license built the combat aircraft takes place, Myanmar's bid to manufacture the single-engine combat aircraft - co-developed by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and China's Chengdu Aerospace Corporation (CAC), would significantly boost the country's local defence-manufacturing industry.
Further, the aircraft will go on to become Myanmar Air Force (MAF)'s workhorse combat aircraft. Myanmar is also looking to phase out the now obsolete combat aircraft fleet that includes F-7 M Airguard and A-5C 'Fantan.' These aircraft were purchased from China in the 1990s, IHS Jane's 360 reported this week.
Since its inception in 2009, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has been a prominent user of the JF-17 Thunder, which is a lightweight, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft.
The PAF has built around 70-odd aircraft and also has plans to build a total of 250 of them.
The MAF has selected the Block II variant, which features air-to-air refuelling capability, improved avionics, enhanced load-carrying capacity, data link and electronic warfare capabilities.
Even though the first 16 will be imported, Myanmar is looking to license-build the Block III variant, which features avionics advancements like elmet-mounted display and sight (HMD/S) system, a new single-panel multi-functional display (MFD), an active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar, more composites, new engine, a two-seater cockpit option, with a top speed of 2.0+ Mach.
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