Friday, May 13, 2016

JF 17B Thunder Dual Seat Version going to be inducted into PAF soon

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is eyeing formal induction of the newly-launched JF-17B dual seat fighter jet by April 2017. Trainer version of this fighter jet is designated as "JF-17B Thunder" officially and the first prototype would be handed over to the PAF later this year for flight tests and evaluation purposes. Experts saying that trainer version of the JFT will help this combat fighter to grab more export orders from the international light to medium fighter jet market. Already a bunch of countries evaluated this fighter for their airforces and asked for "conversion-trainer" twin-seater version. It is being assumed that the dual seat version comes as the future customers intended to acquire with single seater main version. 

Production of the first JF-17B was initiated by Pakistan and China during a joint ceremony at Chengdu Aerospace Corporation. The jet is set to make its maiden flight by the end of this year, the PAF said.

The dual seat aircraft will enhance training value and operational capability, Air Marshal Muhammad Iqbal said at the ceremony. He also thanked Chinese leadership for their continuous support in the design, development and manufacturing phases of the JF-17 development project.

Chinese leadership paid tribute to PAF authorities for operationalising the aircraft and expressed their resolve to continue support for development work of JF-17 project.

The JF-17 Thunder's operational history
The JF-17 Thunder, a single-engine multi-role fighter jet, and was jointly developed by China and Pakistan. Development on the aircraft started in 1999, and the maiden flight was conducted in 2003.

The initial Block 1 JF-17s were received in 2007, with production of the upgraded Block 2 JF-17s started in 2013. The upgraded models have upgraded avionics, air-to-air refuelling capability, data link, enhanced electronic warfare capability and enhanced load carrying ability.

The JF-17 can be equipped with air-to-air and air-to-ground ordinance. The aircraft mounts both short-range infra-red air to air missiles along with longer ranged radar-guided BVR missiles, an essential capability for a frontline interceptor.

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