China-Pakistan warplane makes test-phase flight

Pakistan Air Force says modified JF-17 Thunder fighter jet will 'enhance advanced combat training'

China-Pakistan warplane makes test-phase flight

World Bulletin / News Desk

A modified version of the JF-17 Thunder fighter jet -- a joint venture of Pakistan and China -- made its maiden test flight in Chengdu, China on Friday, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has said.

The dual-seat JF-17B "is currently entering the testing phase, which is a major milestone towards self-reliance", read a statement from the PAF.

Pakistan’s air chief, Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, who is currently visiting China, attended the test event hosted by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

Production of the first JF-17B was initiated by Pakistan and China during a joint ceremony at Chengdu Aerospace Corporation last year.

The JF-17B is slated to boost the operational and training capabilities of the PAF, the statement read and added: "It will further enhance the advanced combat training of PAF fighter pilots on this indigenous war fighting machine."

The development is part of Pakistan’s modernization of its air fleet to compete with the Indian Air Force, which has more than 2,000 aircraft compared to the PAF’s current strength of around 920 planes and helicopters.

Pakistan already has more than 80 JF-17s, the first of which entered service in 2009.

The single-engine multi-role jets have been jointly developed by Pakistan and China. Each one can carry up to 3,630 kilograms (8,000 pounds) of weapons, reach speeds of up to 2,200 kilometers per hour (1,370 miles per hour) and have a combat radius of 1,350 kilometers (840 miles).

Pakistan is scheduled to receive four Russian-made Mi-35M attack helicopters later this year.

Beijing is Islamabad’s largest trade and defense partner; the two sides plan to enhance the current volume up to $20 billion amid execution of the $51-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Project.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Nisan 2017, 17:45