JF-17 Thunder, the Pakistan-China joint venture is one subject that attracts viewers to my earlier posts on this aircraft throughout the year. Therefore, I thought to add more to it as an update on my previous posts.
The JF-17 Thunder project after making headlines at the Farnborough air show earlier this year, has recently been at the centre of attraction for the prospective buyers at the 8th China International aviation and Aerospace Exhibition recently held in the China’s coastal city of Zhuhai. Some 35 countries participated in the exhibition. This was the first time that Pakistan also participated in the Exhibition with its proud possession of JF-17 Thunders, besides the K-8 Karakoram trainer aircraft (also a joint production of China and Pakistan).
Beside many attractions, the air show also provided its participants a rare opportunity to see China’s J-10 aircraft, followed by awesome aerobatic display of the three JF-17 Thunders by the Pakistani pilots. The Sherdils of Pakistan displayed hair raising aerobatics with their ten K-8 trainer aircraft, which really spellbound the spectators.
The participants of the exhibition are reported to have taken keen interest in the JF-17 Thunder, which provides a low price tagged solution to the challenges in the air with its par excellence avionics, reduced maintenance and operational costs as compared to other aircraft of the same class and category. South African and French companies have already shown interest in updating the JF-17’s avionics and weapons package.
It may be added here that Pakistan Air Force has already officially inducted its first JF-17 squadron on 18th February 2010 and is in the process of adding yet another squadron soon. This light weight multirole all-weather combat aircraft has seven external hard points that can carry 8,000 pounds of ordnance. Internal armament comprises one 23 mm GSh-23-2 twin-barrel cannon mounted under the port side air intake, which can be replaced with a 30 mm GSh-30-2 twin-barrel cannon.