China has delivered first overhauled JF-17 Thunder fighter jet to Pakistan under a project that experts said would benefit the country’s aviation industry.
Changsha 5712 Aircraft Industry Co Ltd under the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) reassembled the overhauled JF-17 and delivered it to its Pakistani client in March, reported Global Times quoting China Aviation News on Tuesday.
This is also the first time AVIC has overhauled a made-for-export fighter jet
“The first [JF-17] overhaul marks an important milestone [in the JF-17 project],” Fu Qianshao, a Chinese air defence expert, told the Global Times.
The first overhaul represents the trial-and-error phase of the project and provided experience in establishing standards for other JF-17 overhauls in the future.
After a decade of use, it was time for the first JF-17s to undergo overhauls, military analysts said.
A contract was signed in 2016 and the first overhaul started in November 2017. The overhauled aircraft made its first test flight in October 2018, reports said.
An overhaul includes major maintenance featuring repairs and replacement of old components including the airframe and engine, Fu said.
PAF to receive final Block II JF-17 aircraft by June
Jointly developed and manufactured by China and Pakistan, the single-engine multi-role light fighter jet JF-17 made its maiden flight in 2003.
The first JF-17s were delivered to Pakistani clients in 2007 and a number of them were later commissioned by the Pakistan Air Force
While standard, regular maintenance could be done by the military, an overhaul usually needs to be conducted by a designated and more capable supplier due to higher complexity, he added.
A Block 3 variant of the JF-17 is under development, which is expected to be much more powerful than the previous two blocks thanks to a new China-developed active electronically scanned array radar, reports said.
JF-17 Thunder is a backbone of PAF. In a recent Ind0-Paki Airstrike, PAF used JF-17 thunder and claims that JF-17 was managed to Shutdown two IAF Fighter jets. According to Pakistan media sources Squadron Leader Hassan Siddiqui Shot down Indian Air Force MiG-21 bison piloted by wing-commander Abhinandan Varthaman and Wing Commander Nauman Ali Khan shot down Indian Air Force SU-30MKI