Pakistani Air Cheif has said that the JF-17 Thunder fighter jet “represented a much-needed capability for the Pakistan Air Force”. Pakistan Air Force will replace the the French Mirage III/V , Chinese F-7P/MP and F-7PG, and A-5s which were based on the 1950s or 1960s technology.
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman has said, that PAF today operate 25-0 to 275 Mirages and F-7s which are “obsolete and expensive to maintain and support”.
He added that JF-17 Thunder fighter jet has offered “cutting edge capabilities at an affordable cost” to the Pakistan air force for replacing these acient aircrarfts. He said that estimating price of a JF-17 is around one third of the price other fourth generation aircrafts.
Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman has said that JF-17 Thunder is tailored to meet the requirements of the Pakistan air force as it was “developed from the start by PAF fighter pilots and engineers” which were guided by Pakistani operational experience.
Suleman said that JF-17's performance is already “far exceeding our expectations”and Pakistan will start the production of an improved version of the JF-17 from 2012.
The JF-17 Thunder Block 2 fighter jet will have improved avionics, radar, data link and EW systems and aerial refuelling capability. Pakistan also plan to integrate new weapons with the JF-17 block 2 aircraft and first two-seat version will also be arriving before the end of next year.