Better than India’s Rafael: Pakistan starts production of advanced JF-17 Thunder Block III aircraft

ISLAMABAD, (MANEND NEWS): Indian Air Force’s Rafael jets will no longer be as lethal as it hoped them to be as the Pakistan Air Force announced on Wednesday the serial production of the 4.5-generation aircraft of the most advanced variant of JF-17 Thunder Block III.

The start of production was announced at a ceremony at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), Kamra where the PAF was also handed over the 14 state-of-the-art indigenously developed dual seater JF-17B Thunder Block-II fighter jets.

Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan called the the new jets a “significant milestone” in the history of the country.

The air chief said that the JF-17 Thunder had been proven as a battle-tested aircraft during the Operation Swift Retort against IAF’s intrusion into Pakistan’s territorial sovereignty on February 27, 2019.

The ceremony also marked the announcement of serial production of PAF’s most advanced 4.5 generation JF-17 Thunder Block III jets.

The air chief commended PAC for the in-time completion of the project by the Aircraft Manufacturing Factory (AMF) team involved in the development of the advance generation of the dual seater JF-17B Thunder and Block-III jets version.

“The year of 2020 has been very challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic as it disturbed life all over the world. It also inflicted serious impacts on the PAC project of JF-17B Thunder Block-III as the entire complex has remained under lockdown,” said Air Chief Marshal Mujahid.

The PAF chief lauded PAC Kamra for upholding its traditions despite the most challenging times of the pandemic.

“I would like to commend the entire team and PAC leadership including chairman PAC and managing director AMF for their concerted efforts to meet the project deadlines,” said Air Chief Marshal Mujahid.

The PAF head said that PAC was the backbone of PAF’s operational readiness and had displayed their capabilities to meet challenges with limited resources at the optimum level.

The air chief also extended his gratitude to the Ministry of Defence Production and Chinese Aviation Industry for their continuous support.

“The dual seat version of JF-17B and the production of Block-III marks the achievement of a significant milestone as it will play an important and significant role in geostrategic milieu due to the technology installed in the modern aircraft,” said the PAF chief.

Earlier, PAC Chairman Air Marshal Syed Nauman Ali briefed the participants over the project details and highlighted that JF-17 Thunder would be the shining symbol of cooperation between Pakistan and China.

He said due to COVID-19 lockdown in PAC, technicians and experts completed the project in due time despite many odds where the Chinese experts supported PAC extraordinarily for meeting the programme targets.

Speaking on the occasion, Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong said PAC’s successful acquiring of the capacity to build JF-17B Thunder Block-III aircraft has set up a perfect model of Pak-China friendship.

“Pakistan has become self-sufficient in developing JF-17 Thunder and an advance fighter aircraft producing country in the world. JF-17 Thunder has finally become the backbone of Pakistan’s defence,” said the envoy.

He hoped it would further strengthen the defence ties between Pakistan and China. “Pakistan and China’s close collaboration will bring more success in the future.”

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