PAF LAUNCHES FINAL ASSEMBLY AND FLIGHT TESTING OF
JF-17 THUNDER AIRCRAFT
Report : Directorate of Media Affairs Pakistan Air Force
Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman , Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force formally inaugurated the Final Assembly work of JF-17 THUNDER fighter aircraft in a simple but impressive ceremony held at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra on Tuesday.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief of the Air Staff highlighted the significance of the occasion as a major step towards the long-term goal of self reliance in military aviation industry. Highlighting the significance of the occasion, he said “JF-17 is a light combat aircraft, developed to meet the PAF‘s specific requirements. It would be replacing PAF aging fleet of A-5s, F-7s and Mirages. The aircraft is capable of carrying variety of conventional and precision guided bombs, Air-to-Air, Air-to-Sea missiles of both short and beyond visual ranges. The weapon carrying capabilities of the aircraft would enable its employment in day and night multi-role tasks on land, sea and air. The aircraft would add to PAF’s operational capability manifold and help retain the much needed balance in air power in sub continent. “
He further said,” The JF-17 Programme had two main objectives: strengthening of our national security through indigenous production of fighter aircraft and building up of Pakistan’s Aviation Industries. The programme has so far made very significant progress on both these counts. As we stand today, most of our technical infrastructure is complete and all machines and equipment have either been ordered or received in country and are in the process of commissioning. Similarly, a lot of hard work has gone into developing infrastructure, inducting equipment, training human resource and signing various contracts. I am satisfied that the programme conceived and launched many years ago is finally nearing fruition. God willing, it will not only produce aircraft for use by our two countries, but also ensure third party sales in big numbers.” The Air Chief lauded the efforts of engineers and technicians of Aircraft Manufacturing Factory and Kamra Avionics and Radar Factory who had worked relentlessly for the last years to bring this dream to reality.
Earlier, Chairman Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Karma, Air Marshal Farhat Hussain Khan, presented an appraisal of the project activities. He specifically mentioned “JF-17 programme has traveled a long distance while going through various phases of conception, development and production. Aircraft developed phase, that started from a drawing board in 90s, is now nearing its culmination. The phase included design, development of prototype aircraft, their avionics, integration of weapons and related flight testing and has gone very well. The last step of this phase ie weapons evaluation is planned in Pakistan in the 2nd part of current year.” He further said “Out of the 42 aircraft contracted for co-production, 40 are planned to roll-out of PAC – a very significant step towards indigenization. Out of these, 4-6 aircraft would roll-out before the end of current year, 12 in 2010 and 15-16 aircraft per year from 2011 and onwards. We are working with our Chinese friends to enhance PAC’s production capability to 20-25 aircraft per year.”
The ceremony was also attended by Secretaries of Defence and Defence Production, Members of JF-17 Board of Directors, Principal Staff Officers and representatives of CATIC, CADI & CAC.
JF-17 Thunder is an advanced multirole combat aircraft strategically designed through joint Pakistan-China efforts and addresses the specific needs of Pakistan Air Force. The roll-out of first JF-17 aircraft from Pakistan Aeronautical Complex is scheduled in the last quarter of 2009.