Saturday, January 22, 2011

JF-17 Thunder fighter jet production begins in Pakistan - January 22, 2008

Chief of Air Staff Pakistan Air Force Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed on Tuesday said the PAF would induct 8 JF-17 Thunder aircraft by end of this year. The fighter aircraft is being indigenously assembled with the co-operation of China.

Addressing the launching ceremony for manufacturing of JF-17 Thunder sub-assemblies, marking formal assembling of the fighter aircraft, at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed said around 60 percent of the frame of the aircraft while up to 80 percent of the avionics to be fitted in the aircraft would be manufactured in the country by 2010.

He said the PAC has all plans to make JF-17 Thunder the world's first weapon system that will be able to carry all types of conventional weapons targeting from air to air, air to ground, air to sea, and to pound from the air. He said this state-of-the-art, multipurpose, light combat aircraft, would be a complete combination of fighter and a weapon system which would also have optional capability of carrying non-conventional weapons.

He said the PAF would induct 150 aircraft in its inventory in the Phase-I in accordance with the already signed agreement with the Chines company, co-operating Pakistan in assembling and manufacturing of the aircraft. "Still we will require some 100 aircraft, as the PAC envisages to take the yearly assembling and manufacturing capability of the aircraft from at present 8 aircraft to 15 then up to 25 by 2011," he said.

Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed said: "All JF-17 Thunders will have to be produced in Pakistan as the PAC has achieved the capability of assembling, paint the frame and aircraft, besides conducting flight tests." He said on March 23, (Pakistan Day) the indigenously assembled aircraft would take part in the fly past, a routine feature of Pakistan Day parade of PAF.

He said around 40 to 50 aircraft would have avionics of Chinese origin, while in the next batch these would have indigenously developed avionics. Air Chief Marshal Tanvir said that in the next decade the aircraft would be available for re-export through China and the share in the financial receipts would be paid to Pakistan.

After formal inauguration of the sub-assemblies of the aircraft the Air Chief told media persons that the PAC in the next two years would achieve the capability of making the fighter a 'warfare suite' that would be matching to the needs of most of the countries in the sector. He said the alphabets "J & F" included as title of the aircraft denoting "Joint Fighter" and "we will prove that this Joint Fighter is the best available in the market."

Air Chief Marshal Tanvir thanked the friendly country, China, for extending all co-operation enabling Pakistan to achieve the cherished goal towards manufacturing of a fighter aircraft. He said JF-17 Thunder is a living example of Pak-China friendship and this will help further deepen the bonds existed between both the brotherly and friendly countries.

Terming it a landmark achievement, he said, it is not only a source of pride for Pakistan but also a measure of rare distinction for the country to have joined a selected group of nations having indigenous fighter aircraft production capability.

The project launched in 2000 has already made major strides, including first flight of prototype in August 2003, then in April 2004 and on May 10, 2006 with fully integrated configurations.

Later, in September 20006, the prototype-6 of the aircraft made its maiden flight paving the way for smooth flight testing process ever since. In order to speed up the development progress and facilitate maturity of the aircraft, two J-17 of the small batch production were received in Pakistan on March 21 last. Subsequently, these aircraft made their debut by participating in Pakistan Day Parade on March 23.

Earlier, in his address of welcome, PAC Chairman Air Marshal Khalid Chaudary said PAC has all the capability of achieving the goals with the help and assistance of Chinese engineers and technicians. He said the factory has created employment opportunities for around 5,000 skilful workers and around 80 percent of them are already on job.

The ceremony was attended by Defence Production Division Secretary Lieutenant General Shahid Sidique Timizi (retd), Vice President of Chinese Aircraft Manufacturing Company, Defence Attache of China in Islamabad and a large number senior military officers.
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