The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is all set to induct a first batch of next generation JF-17 Thunder block III fighter jets built jointly with China to upgrade its fleet by the end of next month, a PAF spokesperson has said, Arab News reported.
JF-17 Thunder, an advanced, light-weight, all weather, multi-role fighter aircraft with air-to-air and air-to-surface combat capabilities, was developed as a joint venture between the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAC) in China.
The aircraft will replace Pakistan's current aging fleet, the report said.The first JF-17 prototype aircraft (called FC-1) was rolled out in May 2003. Basic flight testing was completed in 2007, which marked the arrival of the JF-17 Thunder aircraft in Pakistan, formally presented to the nation as a Pakistan Day gift on March 23, 2007. PAC has delivered nearly 120 JF-17 Block I and II fighter jets to PAF since 2009.
"JF-17 Thunder block III is the latest aircraft of this series and all taxi tests and flight tests have been completed," a PAF spokesperson told Arab News on Tuesday.
"It's first batch will become part of the PAF fleet by the end of March," he added, saying there would be a proper induction ceremony on the occasion, the report said.
The rollout ceremony of block III was held in December last year, the spokesperson said. The new JF-17 jets will also fly-past at the Pakistan Day military parade on March 23, he added.