The Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC) signed an agreement for co-production of Chinese commercial aircraft.
It is not yet known what type of CATIC commercial aircraft could be manufactured in Pakistan. CATIC has several commercial aircraft in its portfolio such as the 17-seat Y-12, a short take-off and landing aircraft which can operate from poorly prepared or unpaved runways. It is already operating in Nepal and could be a candidate to connect remote areas in Pakistan.
The agreement took place during a ceremony to mark the rollout of the first batch of twin-seater JF-17B fighter jets at the PAC facility in Kamra, on December 27.
In comparison to the single-seat JF-17, the JF-17B variant features a dorsal fin that contains an additional fuel tank. The aircraft prototype also has a slightly larger wingspan and a marginally modified nose section to accommodate an active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar.
Unchanged from the single-seat version are seven hard points to carry weapon payloads of up to 3,650 kilograms such as air-to-air, air-to-ground missiles besides guided bombs. Different from the JF-17 is a larger swept-back vertical stabilizer housing a new three-axis fly-by-wire system.
In addition, a new JF-17 Dual-Seat Integration facility at Avionics Production Factory, Kamra, was inaugurated. The facility will enable PAF to integrate avionics and weapon systems of choice with JF-17 aircraft.