China to deliver 50 Thunder fighters to Pakistan over 3 years

China will turn over the last batch of 50 FC-1 Xiaolong fighters to Pakistan over the next three years, said Li Pei, the former head of the aircraft project under the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, in a report by the party-run People’s Daily.

16th May 2015


 

China to deliver 50 Thunder fighters to Pakistan over 3 years

 

China will turn over the last batch of 50 FC-1 Xiaolong fighters to Pakistan over the next three years, said Li Pei, the former head of the aircraft project under the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, in a report by the party-run People’s Daily.

Known as the JF-17 Thunder in Pakistan, the Xiaolong is a multirole fighter designed jointly by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group and the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex. The aircraft is a symbol of the friendship between China and Pakistan, according to Li. Pakistan is currently the only other country that uses the fighter.

Under the contract signed between Beijing and Islamabad, Pakistan will receive a total number of 110 Thunder fighters from China.

Pakistan has already received 60 fighters from China since 2007. Ten of them were devoted to the test and evaluation unit, based in Minhas, the other 50 aircraft were assigned to the 16th and 26th squadrons of the Pakistan Air Force.

The fighter, co-developed by China and Pakistan, is considered a symbol of national pride by the people of Pakistan, according to Li.

The Thunder has been responsible for escorting the aircraft of Chinese leaders during their visits to Pakistan. When Wen Jiabao and Li Keqiang, the former and current premiers, visited Islamabad in 2010 and 2013 respectively, their aircraft were under Thunder escort after they entered Pakistani airspace. Xi Jinping’s aircraft was also escorted by eight JF-17 fighters before his arrival in Islamabad on April 20.

 

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