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Pakistan Air Force to get JF-17 Thunder fighter jets developed with China

ISLAMABAD (PTI):  Pakistan's air defence would get a major boost with the induction of the latest version of JF-17 Thunder fighter planes, developed jointly with China, by the end of next month, according to a top defence official.

A spokesperson of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) told the international media that the next generation JF-17 Thunder block III jets, developed jointly with China, would take part in the fly-past on the occasion of the military parade on March 23.

JF-17 Thunder block III is the latest aircraft of this series, and all taxi tests and flight tests have been completed, the spokesperson told Arab News on Tuesday.

Its first batch will become part of the PAF fleet by the end of March, the official said.

The rollout ceremony of JF-Thunder block III was held in December last year.

JF-17 Thunder, an advanced, light-weight, all weather, multi-role fighter aircraft with air-to-air and air-to-surface combat features, was developed jointly by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAC) in China.

Pakistan and China embarked on a project to build a latest fighter, and succeeded in 2003 to roll out the first JF-17 prototype aircraft. It was formally inducted in the PAF in 2007. It was being completely built at the PAC which so far has delivered nearly 120 JF-17 Block I and II.

Officials said that Pakistan is modernising its air force in the wake of India buying 36 Rafale jets from France.

Apart from induction of the latest generation JF-Thunder, Pakistan will also get Chinese multirole J-10C jets and for the first time showcase them in the fly-past on March 23.

The induction of JF-17 Thunder block III is expected to offset the edge which India gained after getting Rafale.

It has the world's most advanced Airborne Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar and the PL-15 missile, which has the highest and the longest range, the PAF spokesperson said about the new JF-17 Thunder.

That is a very big edge, that our homegrown fighter has the latest missile and radar technology, the official added.

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