Export Sales Reported for Sino-Pakistan JF-17 Combat Jet

 - January 13, 2016, 12:49 PM

Further exports of the Sino-Pakistan JF-17 “Thunder” combat aircraft have been reported, following an initial sale last year, which is now known to be 16 aircraft for Myanmar. According to Pakistan's President Mamnoon Hussain, Azerbaijan and Nigeria are both interested. But a proposed sale to Sri Lanka has been opposed by India, according to unconfirmed reports. 

A Nigerian newspaper reported that the country’s 2016 defense budget includes funds for the acquisition of three JF-17s, as well as 10 Super Mushshak basic trainers that are also produced by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC). The JF-17 is a joint project between PAC and the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation. The Nigerian air force currently flies Chengdu F-7 fighters and uses armed Alpha Jet trainers in operations against domestic insurgents, as well as Mi-17SH, Mi-24V and Mi-35P attack helicopters. But a senior NAF officer told The Fighter Conference organized by Defence IQ in London last November that the service wants to replace the Alpha Jets soon. 

Speculation that the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) would become a customer was prompted by a visit to Pakistan last November by the SLAF commander, followed by a trip to Sri Lanka by the Pakistani prime minister early this month, when the deal was expected to be sealed. But according to India’s Sunday Express newspaper, Sri Lanka’s plan to buy eight to 12 JF-17s was strongly opposed by India. The SLAF currently operates Chengdu F-7s, as well as IAI Kfir and MiG-27 jet fighters.

All JF-17s are assembled in Pakistan, but China retains around 40 percent of the total workshare. After initially receiving 50 Block 1 versions, the Pakistan air force is taking delivery of 50 Block 2s. A Block 3 version with a new radar and internal targeting pod is planned, and a two-seat version is due to fly in China late this year.