Beijing: In a major boost for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), China has delivered the first overhauled multi-role JF-17 fighter jet to Islamabad as part of a project undertaken by the two countries for the development and manufacture of the aircraft.
China and Pakistan had begun joint development and manufacture of the single-engine light JF-17 jets over a decade ago. Beijing delivered the first batch in 2007 and a number of them were later commissioned by the PAF, state-run Global Times reported on Wednesday.
After a decade of use, it was time for the first JF-17s to undergo overhauls, the report quoted military analysts as saying, adding that the first overhaul started in November 2017 after a contract was signed between the two sides in 2016.
Changsha 5712 Aircraft Industry Co Ltd under the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) reassembled the jet and delivered it to its Pakistani client in March, the daily quoted a report by China Aviation News.
This is also the first time AVIC has overhauled a made-for-export third generation fighter, or fourth generation according to another widely used standard, the report said.
“The first [JF-17] overhaul marks an important milestone [in the JF-17 project],” Fu Qianshao, a Chinese air defence expert, said. It represents the trial-and-error phase of the project and provided experience in establishing standards for other JF-17 overhauls in future, Qianshao said.
The overhaul of the fighter jet includes major maintenance, featuring repairs and replacement of old components.
Also, a Block 3 variant of the JF-17 is under development. It is expected to be much more powerful than the previous two blocks due to new China-developed active electronically scanned array radar, the report said....