Making its international debut here is this Chengdu/PAC JF-17 Thunder, a joint Chinese/Pakistani multi-role fighter project. Known in China as the FC-1 Xiaolong, the Thunder is now in series assembly at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex’s Kamra plant. The aircraft is powered by a Russian Klimov RD-93 engine and has a Chinese NRIET KLJ-7 radar.
Pakistan Air Force
The Pakistan air force is due to begin receiving new-build F-16s from Lockheed Martin beginning in 2009. The 18 aircraft on order–plus a major upgrade package for the nation’s existing aircraft and further options–will dramatically enhance the service’s capabilities and will bring to a close a controversial 20-year procurement saga.
The Asian Aerospace show in Hong Kong earlier this month was supposed to be a civil-only event. But the main China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) stand was dominated by a large model of the L15 advanced combat jet trainer. AVIC also released a DVD, which while showing the ARJ21 and MA60 regional passenger transports, was dominated by footage of China’s front-line combat jets.
This past March the White House authorized the sale of F-16s to Pakistan, a move that ends a 1990-imposed embargo on sales of military aircraft and spares to Islamabad. Pakistan reportedly wants initially to buy 24 aircraft, but the Bush Administration has not placed any limits on the total number of aircraft that the Pakistanis could purchase over the next several years.
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