The Chief of Air Staff of The Pakistan Air Force Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan has announced that Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) has officially started production of the 4++ Generation JF-17A Thunder Block III advanced fighter aircraft, in a ceremony here today. The Chief of Air Staff also inaugurated the JF-17A Block III’s production and integration facility at PAC Kamra.
The Pakistan Air Force was also handed over a squadron of 14 JF-17B Block II aircraft, by the PAC. The induction ceremony was attended by Chief of Air Staff, the Chinese ambassador and the Nigerian ambassador.
Last year, PAC officially closed down production of the JF-17A Block II variant and started work on the JF-17B Block II variant, producing 8 of them in 2019 in just 5 months. Now JF-17A Block III production has started with the first Block III variant to be inducted in early to mid 2021.
The JF-17A Thunder Block III is an advanced 4+ generation fighter, armed with the latest radars, sensors, electronic warfare equipment, cockpit ergonomics, HUD, MAWS, HMD and a strengthened structure using more advanced composites. The fighter will feature an advanced variant of the RD-93 engine previously used, the RD-93MA.
The fighter will also feature the most capable and longest-range air-to-air missile in the world, the PL-15 BVR missile which only China currently uses. The PL-15 outranges the upcoming Indian Rafale’s upcoming Meteor BVR missiles by over 100 kilometres and America’s latest BVR missile the AIM-120D by over 120 kilometres. The fighter will also feature a new high off-boresight IR missile, the PL-10.