China today handed over 14 dual-seat JF-17 aircraft to Pakistan Air Force (PAF) for induction into fighter fleet.
Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan attended the ceremony as the chief guest for the induction of dual-seat JF-17 aircraft into PAF’s fleet. The event was also attended by the Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong and Nigerian officials, Pakistan’s ARY News reported.
The JF-17 multirole aircraft was jointly developed by China and Pakistan. Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra rolled out the first batch of eight dual-seat JF-17 aircraft on December 27 last year.
The newly-delivered jet’s multi-roles include use as a JF-17 conversion trainer, Lead-In Fighter Trainer (LIFT), ground-attack aircraft and reconnaissance aircraft.
The dual-seat JF-17 Block II jets are expected to pave the way for the Block III jets. Their headline feature is an active electronically scanning array (AESA) radar, the latest targeting and electronic warfare systems analogous to those found on much more expensive aircraft such as the F-16 and JAS 39 Gripen.
The jet also reportedly packs information-based warfare capability and upgraded weapons. It has an upgraded engine which will allow it to go farther and faster.
In July, Russia confirmed it is working on a new engine, RD-93MA, which is an upgraded version of RD-93 used on the JF-17. This engine can produce maximum thrust of 9,300 kgf, more when compared to RD-93’s maximum thrust of 8,300kgf. It is not yet clear if this engine will be shoe-horned into the JF-17.
A report published by China Aviation News affiliated with state-owned AVIC company in the same month had said that manufactures managed to reduce production period of each JF-17 by 15 days.
Pakistan has already built over 100 JF-17 fighters for its air force and officials have indicated 62 JF-17 Block III fighters will be ordered by 2024. Prototype testing of two block III jets began in early 2020.