Karachi: A fresh batch of 16 upgraded JF-17 Thunder aircraft, jointly developed by China and Pakistan, were on Monday inducted into the Pakistan Air Force, bolstering its tactical and surveillance capabilities.
The command flag of the fighter and surveillance aircraft was handed over to Squadron-II of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra.
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman said the addition of the JF-17 aircraft built at Kamra airbase with the support of China would strengthen the tactical and surveillance capabilities of the PAF.
He said PAF is well prepared to fight any threat against the state. The PAF has been assisting the ground troops in operation Zarb-e-Azb as well, Aman said.
During the ceremony, Asif spoke about the role played by China in the “success” of the JF-17 programme.
PAC Kamra is responsible for the maintenance of all PAF operational assets.
The PAF completed its target of producing 16 JF-17 Thunder aircraft for the year 2015 and the ceremony today marked their induction into the force.
Aman also expressed Pakistan’s resolve to produce up to 24 jets in 2016.
The JF-17 Thunder is a single-engine multi-role fighter jet that was jointly developed by China and Pakistan.
Development of the aircraft started in 1999 and the maiden flight was conducted in 2003.
The upgraded models which were added to the PAF fleet today have advanced avionics, air-to-air refuelling capability, data link, enhanced electronic warfare capability and enhanced load carrying ability.