JF-17 Thunder of the PAF (photo: top81)
JF-17 Thunder : PAF Gets Indigenously Manufactured Fighter Aircraft
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday formally joined the international community of fighter aircraft manufacturers as JF 17 Thunder, the first ever multi role state of the art rolled out of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra and was included to the fleet of Pakistan Air Force.
Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani was the chief guest at the ceremony that marked a milestone in the Sino Pak joint venture in air defence system. Senate Chairman Farooq H. Naik, Federal Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira, Defence Minister Ch Ahmed Mukhtar, Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Luo Zhaohui, Pakistan ambassador to China Masood Khan and three services chiefs attended the ceremony.
The sophisticated JF 17 Thunder, painted green in the colour scheme of national flag appeared with grandeur as the Prime Minister unveiled the fighter jet before the audience. Manufactured with the cooperation of China, the event has been termed as a beginning of new era of Pak China friendship.
Addressing a select gathering of local and foreign dignitaries and PAF officials, the Prime Minister said the goals of progress and prosperity could not be achieved without achieving self reliance in the defence production. He termed the manufacturing of JF 17 Thunder aircraft as the - achievement of an important milestone - in the government’s ongoing efforts to attain self reliance.
The Prime Minister assured full cooperation, support and patronage to the PAF in its projects and congratulated the entire nation, adding the national project would be remembered as a landmark in the country’s history.
Referring to present challenges, the Prime Minister said the fast changing technology intensive battle arena required intense involvement of air power which had emerged as a major player in conflict scenarios.He said the role of air force also becomes vital in tackling the threat posed by the forces of extremism and militancy.
Under these circumstances, he said, a modern air force was a national requirement adding the government was making sincere efforts for a strong and well equipped Pakistan Air Force. He said the PAF had repeatedly proved equal to the task even in most challenging times, measuring up to the expectations of the nation in safeguarding the sacred soil and skies of the country.
In the recent drive against militants, PAF side by side with Pak Army was endeavouring to root out terrorism from the country, he added. The Prime Minister said; The PAF has been able to achieve, both in the form of meeting its operational requirement by co developing a fighter aircraft and developing Pakistan’s Aviation Industry.
He said following the example of Kamra, there should be more similar centres of excellence in other fields, to attract youth towards a more constructive approach to life that leads to a better and more prosperous future. He appreciated that the JF 17 programme had provided employment to about 5,000 people.
The Prime Minister also reiterated the government’s firm resolve in eradicating ignorance, illiteracy and backwardness to carve a respectable place for the country in the comity of nations.
JF-17 in a Pakistan's colour scheme (photo : Defencetalk)
Referring to long and trust worthy relations between Pakistan and China, the Prime Minister said, It is not trade or economics that we collaborate and cooperate for, but our association and fraternal ties bind us in the everlasting embrace of friendship. He said; China has always stood by us in our hour of need its unflinching support and willingness, to go an extra mile for Pakistan, has been a source of great strength for the people of Pakistan.
The Prime Minister said there has been significant contribution by China towards the socio economic development of the country. Gilani thanked the Chinese friends for providing PAF the required technical assistance for the programme.
The Prime Minister said the Chinese calm sagacity, futuristic thinking and willingness to stand by its friends, even in the era of terrorism and extremism promised not only hope and stability but also acted as an example for others.He also mentioned the Chinese cooperation in many other projects in the country and said it was a pride for the nation.
He especially highlighted the projects including Gwadar Deep Sea Port, Korakoram Highway, Heavy Mechanical Complex, Heavy Electrical Complex and Saindak Copper Project where China is helping the country.He lauded the PAF’s initiative for appreciating and putting to use the tremendous potential of Pakistan and jointly developing the industrial infrastructure.
Chief of the Air Staff Rao Qamar Suleman highlighted the efforts of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra in establishing itself as a hub of aviation industry.He lauded the support of Chinese government and Aviation Industries of China without which, he said the project would not have succeeded.
He said that 40 JF 17 Thunder aircraft would be produced by PAC Kamra within next three years and would be inducted in PAF replacing the existing aircraft. He added that the first JF 17 Squadron would be established shortly.
China’s ambassador Luo Zhaohui on behalf on the Chinese government appreciated the technical acumen of PAC Kamra in acquiring complex skills and expertise in fighter aircraft manufacturing.He said the collaboration between the two peace loving countries in air defence was a major step for the regional peace.
Earlier Air Marshal Farhat Hussain Khan, Chairman PAC Board Kamra in his welcome address gave an overview of the JF 17 project and highlighted the benefits of co production in terms of incorporation of modern technologies of manufacturing and skill enhancement of personnel.
The Prime Minister was presented two souvenirs, including a painting of JF 17 Thunder made by Squadron Leader Adnan Siraj and a handmade carpet weaved with the impression of the same fighter aircraft.
In visitors remarks, Gilani termed the production of the aircraft as - a testimony of the time tested all weather Pakistan China friendship.
The JF 17 Thunder, the light weight and low cost multi role fighter aircraft has high maneuverability and BVR capability. It has advanced aerodynamics configuration and high thrust. The JF 17 Thunder will replace the ageing fleets of A 5s, F 7Ps and the Mirages in the PAF inventory thus fulfilling a multi role task.
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Pakistan Receives First Block 52 F-16s
14 Oktober 2009
F-16D block 52 of the PAF (photo : Lockheed Martin)
Pakistan received its first Block 52 F-16D yesterday as part of ambitious plans to refurbish its air force's fighter fleet.The PAF, however, is doing this with a combination of both western fighters, and help from its traditional supplier China through the JF-17 and potentially the J-10B.
J-10B (photo : pakdef)
Tactically, that will be facinating in the future - using both Chinese and US fighters in tandem is gonna be interesting and I am sure there will be be many people watching the service closely in the coming years.
Politically, is this a case of keeping your friends close and enemies closer? If so, who is who in this instance? Your guess is as good as mine.
The bigger question, however, is where this leaves Lockheed Martin in India's $12 billion 126-fighter medium multi-role combat aircraft competition. New Delhi has never been happy about the sale of the F-16 to Pakistan, and this will not help Lockheed's cause in that lucrative competition. Watch this space.