Initially In 1989, the Chinese Chengdu Aerospace Corporation (CCAC) unveiled a major upgrade for its locally-made F-7 jet fighter, a licensed copy of the classic Soviet MiG-21. Twenty-one years later, this upgrade—now named JF-17 Thunder is used in flying combat missions with the Pakistani air force. The much improved JF-17 Thunder has greater capacity to hold big radar and wider pilot visibility. Further enhanced design and a new more powerful engine, the JF-17 is Pakistan’s most important front-line fighter—and a remarkable extension of a basic plane design dating back to the 1950s.
Importance of JF-17
As large machines comes with huge money as previously Pakistan air force is primarily based on American technology including the famous F-16 that costs between 80 -100 million dollars. However with strong collaboration from Russia, China and Pakistan JF-15 costs between 20 – 25 million dollars that brings a huge advantage in the reduction of cost. Moreover, the powerful engine from Russia and efforts from both China and Pakistan has made JF-17 a very effective machine with relatively a lower cost. Production began in China in 2006 and soon moved to a facility in Pakistan owned by the Pakistani air force, making the JF-17 the only jet fighter in the world actually manufactured by an air arm, ratherthan by a private corporation. Islamabad inaugurated the first Thunder squadron in 2010. The same year, the new jets flew bombing missions targeting suspected terrorists in South Waziristan, part of Pakistan’s tribal area. Also Pakistan is planning to export these planes to other potential states and countrties to generate profits like other famous fighting planes like American F-16s and Soviet MiGs .
Clearly pleased, Islamabad ordered 150 JF-17s to form the backbone of its air force for the next 30 years. More than 40 are already in service. New versions of the same plane are being developed and JF-17 thunder bock II might be coming up this year with greater improvements.
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