Fresh from international sales success in Myanmar and Nigeria, the Pakistani-Chinese JF-17 fighter jet is seeking new customers at Paris Air Show 2019 (PAS) and will fly on all days of the show beginning Monday.
Immediate sales prospects for the JF-17 are Egypt and Malaysia both of which are interested in the upcoming Block III version. Official delegations from both countries are expected to visit the show.
It expects customers in Asia, Africa and Latin America to be excited about an aircraft costing around $40 million but has performance and equipment like that of a 4 plus generation plane such as the Saab Gripen and F-16.
The Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), where the final assembly of the aircraft is performed, has put up a stall at PAS highlighting the Block III version, the most advanced yet and comparable to the f-16 Block 70. The Block III will come equipped with an AESA radar, Aselsan targeting pods, helmet-mounted cueing system, an advanced air-to-air missile, precision air-to-ground capability, improved electronic warfare suite, missile warning system and improved avionics and communication. It will also come with and increased payload capability.
While PAC builds the fuselage, wings and some other equipment, the engine, radar and some critical sub systems are supplied by China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC). The final assembly is done at PAC.
The PAC is also preparing to ‘inform’ potential customers of the aircraft’s performance during its engagement with Indian Air Force in February when an IAF MiG-21 was shot down.
Currently, the JF-17 is in the final manufacturing phase of the Block-II version after which it will transition to Block III by early next year.