In the absence of F-35 and Russian PAK-FA, Chinese JF-17 is expected to garner eyeballs at the Paris Air Show (PAS) starting on June 15.
The Chinese-Pakistani JF-17, a relatively low-tech aircraft when compared to the American and Russian stealth fighters will be making its first international appearance at the PAS. The JF-17 Thunder, a light-weight, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft is jointly developed by the Pakistan Air Force, the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and the Chengdu Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAC) of China.
The JF-17 can be deployed diverse ordnance, including air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, and a 23 mm GSh-23-2 twin-barrel auto-cannon. Powered by a RD-93 afterburning turbofan, the fighter has a top speed of Mach 1.6.
The F-35 is not expected to be displayed at the PAS going by various reports while other American planes such as the F-15E Strike Eagle and the F-16 would only be present in the static displays.
The French Rafale is expected to make a triumphant fly-past at PAS given that its manufacturer, Dassault has won three big contracts in Egypt, Qatar and India in the space of a few months.
The JF-17 will the cynosure of all eyes considering its pedigree and its surprising success in the international arms market. According to a statement early this year by Khalid Mohammed, director of sales and marketing for the JF-17, 11 countries are interested in buying the JF-17. Reports say that Bulgaria, Nigeria and Egypt could be among the buyers. Pakistan is the first country to have ordered the JF-17.
The PAK-FA, also known as the T-50 will not be brought to Paris despite its Russian manufacturers' keenness to showcase its stealth characteristics as better than that of the F-35 and the F-22. Neither will be the staple air show crowd puller, the Su-35. "The Western sanctions against Russia has put a big dent in our ability to be present in various shows", said a Russian source to Defenseworld.net.
Gilles Fournier, the biennial show’s managing director, has been quoted as saying that this year organizers are expecting 2,200 exhibitors from some 45 countries (“around the same as last time”) and approximately 340 chalets.