Our Bureau
05:00 PM, March 11, 2015

Pakistan plans to offer its PAC JF-17 Thunder fighter jets to Bulgaria under the country's tender to acquire 16 combat aircraft for its military.

The Bulgarian Air Force is aiming to replace its outdated Soviet-designed Mikoyan MiG-21 aircraft, Novinite, local media reported.

The country's Defense Ministry has shortlisted old F-16s, the Eurofighter Typhoon and Sweden's Gripen.

Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolai Nenchev said that he aimed to visit the US in the first quarter of 2015 to discuss the potential procurement.

If the Bulgarian government decides to acquire the JF-17, the country would become the aircraft's first foreign operator.

The first prototype of the JF-17 was launched in May 2003, and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and China's Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group have been jointly producing the fighter jet since 2007. The aircraft is enabled with a service ceiling of 55,500 feet and a maximum speed of 700 knots, according to data released by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex.

The fighter jet's glass cockpit and hands-on throttle and stick controls reduce pilot workload, and it can be armed with beyond-visual-range active missiles with a range of 70 to 100 kilometers and highly agile imaging infrared short-range missiles.


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