Pakistan to sell JF17 aircraft to Sri Lanka

Phasing out its older Dassault Mirage III/5s and Chinese F-7Ps fighters, the PAF reportedly plans to induct at least 250 JF-17s. By contrast, China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) does not fly the JF-17. Immediately after the visit AM Bulathsinhala was invited to send an evaluation team of technicians and pilots to PAC’s Kamra facilities near Islamabad, where the JF-17 is produced. The SLAF – which already flies several other Chinese-made aircraft types – is currently looking to upgrade its fighter capabilities. At present these rely on the Israel Aircraft Industries Kfir, which served as the workhorse of SLAF ground attack operations in the 1983-2009 civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).Currently the JF-17 is flown only by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), with the first squadron of Block 1 aircraft becoming operational in 2010. In late December 2015, PAC rolled out the 16th of a planned total of 50 Block 2 aircraft to complete the PAF’s fourth JF-17 squadron in service. Pakistan is expected to secure an agreement for the sale of the JF-17 Thunder Aircraft during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit in Sri Lanka in the first week of January 2016, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly reported.JF-17 Thunder is a third-generation fighter co-produced by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and China’s Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAC). The prime minister’s upcoming talks in Colombo follow a mid-November visit to Pakistan by Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) commander Air Marshal Gagan Bulathsinhala during which the JF-17 was showcased by the Pakistanis.

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