China and Pakistan may soon sell fighter jets developed jointly to an unidentified Middle Eastern country, Bloomberg reported today.
The report says that they are in advanced talks with the country to make its first foreign purchase.
“Pakistan Air Force and China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC) are in talks with 10 other nations that include countries from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America to sell the JF-17 Thunder,” PAF Air Commodore Khalid Mahmood, who heads sales and marketing for the fighter jet was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.
“We are in advanced negotiations with a Middle Eastern country, but the political situation over there has delayed the deal,” said Mahmood in an interview at the Zhuhai Air Show yesterday, declining to give more details. “But we still expect them to be our first foreign client.”
The Thunder fighter jet was jointly designed and manufactured by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and Chengdu Aircraft Corporation, a subsidiary of state-owned Aviation Industry Corp of China, also known as AVIC.
"Prospective orders will be for the third block of 50 planes, with the Pakistan Air Force having ordered the first two blocks of 50,” he added.
Mahmood said there are plans in place for a dual-seater version of the JF-17 Thunder after feedback from potential clients. The third-generation fighter jet, also known as FC-1 Dragon by the Chinese, can be used for aerial reconnaissance and has air-to-air and air-to-surface combat capabilities, according to its product website.
Still largely-shrouded in secrecy, the production of the fighter could add heft to China’s sea and air expansion in the region and its push-back against decades of U.S. economic and military dominance.