JF-17 Thunders: Pakistan to get 50 Chinese jets in six months

Published: May 21, 2011
Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar did not explicitly state whether the deal is final but implied it is nearing completion.

Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar did not explicitly state whether the deal is final but implied it is nearing completion.


Pakistan hopes to take delivery within the next six months of 50 JF-17 fighter jets manufactured jointly with China, Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar said on Friday during a visit to Beijing.

Mukhtar made the comments on the sidelines of a meeting between Chinese President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

“We think there is a good deal,” said Mukhtar, who put the price of each JF-17, or Thunder, aircraft at $20-25 million “as compared to $80 million for the F16”, a US-built jet also used by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).

Mukhtar did not explicitly state whether the deal had been finalised, but it appeared that the agreement was nearing completion.

Further details of the deal were not made public but the agreement was apparently discussed during the visit by Gilani.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal originally quoted an unnamed high-ranking PAF spokesman, in Beijing with Gilani, as saying the jointly developed JF-17 jets would be in addition to another batch of the same aircraft that is currently being assembled in Pakistan.

China is one of Pakistan’s largest aircraft providers. The PAF has a fleet of Chinese aircraft, including F-7PGs and A-5s. The JF-17 “Thunder” programme dates back to 1999 and is aimed at reducing Pakistan’s dependence on Western companies for advanced fighters.

The jets are a single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft, which Mukhtar said are being jointly produced between China and Pakistan.

“There was a loan given for starting the manufacturing of this because the Chinese will also buy these aircraft,” he said on Chinese financing for the order.

The Pakistani Air Force has ordered 150 “Thunders”, which it may increase to 250. The 50 mentioned in the report are likely part of the larger order. In February 2010, Pakistan fielded its first JF-17 squadron with 14 aircraft.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2011.

Correction: May 21, 2011

The earlier headline of this article incorrectly called the JF-17 a stealth jet. The correction has been made.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • umar
    May 21, 2011 - 11:10AM

    Would someone please explain how JF-17 is considered a stealth fighter?Recommend

  • Iceberg
    May 21, 2011 - 11:16AM

    JF 17 is not stealth. Its a 3rd generation multi role aircraft. Stealthy capabilities start at 4.5+ generation


  • anwar khan
    May 21, 2011 - 11:17AM

    This is great deal with great friendRecommend

  • Waquar
    May 21, 2011 - 11:20AM

    @umar: Please don’t ask such childish questions.
    It is stealth fighter because the PAF says it is.
    And who are we to probe that.
    Probity is a luxury that Pakistan cannot afford.
    We can afford either the planes or probity.
    You know which is more important.
    Next thing, you know, people will be questioning,
    whether it is even a ‘fighter’ at all, or if it can take-off … and land.
    Clearly, such speculations are fraught with pitfalls.
    Therefore, we should just concentrate on our source of private income.
    And let the people at the controls … do the cruising.
    We can do the cursing … but only behind closed doors. Recommend

  • syed
    May 21, 2011 - 11:24AM

    bro jf 17 is not a stealth fighter, though there were some reports in media about the joint collaboration of Stealth version of JF 17.please see http://www.defence.pk for more details.Recommend

  • Uzma Hasan
    May 21, 2011 - 11:36AM

    The Jest has a very low Radar signature So it is Stealth , they have used silver coated paint to absorb Radar wavesRecommend

  • Muhammad Iqbal
    May 21, 2011 - 12:24PM

    JF-17 is not stealth:) but every fighter is stealth while it is on ground, because no radar can detect it.Recommend

  • Fahad Raza
    May 21, 2011 - 1:20PM

    @Uzma Hasan:
    Where did you get this..jf 17 is 4th generation fighet this is no way near staealth. the stealth air craft is J-20Recommend

  • rgg
    May 21, 2011 - 1:32PM

    @Uzma Hasan:
    No. Its gold coated paint. That makes it stealthy on radar, but it shines in sunlightRecommend

  • rgg
    May 21, 2011 - 1:37PM

    @anwar khan:
    Yes. We love those Chinese. We have so much in common with them. Similar religion. Same values. Same culture. Similar language and food. They are our dear, dear friends and ally. And they have so many other great friends like Sudan and North Korea and Burma We are in such great company. And they give us nukes and missiles and planes and build roads in our great country. With friends like China, we will be able to teach those Americans and Indians a lesson.Recommend

  • kamran
    May 21, 2011 - 1:41PM

    please also consider the fact that it is a multi role fighter. whether it has stealth capabillities or not is a useless debate because stealth capbabillities are not part of our tactical requirements. What it does have is the BVR capabillity upto 120 knotical miles. Beyond visual range firing and target lockon capabillity is a real asset to have in any modern jet, therfore the need to engage in a one-to-one dog fight never really arises. i cannot comment on the avionics of the jet as it is a closely guarded secret, rest assured the jf17s being delievered to pakistan have much better avionics than those which have already acquired previously, which is a result of years of technical development and collaboration between china and franceRecommend

  • Umair Ali Rashid
    May 21, 2011 - 2:15PM

    Fly a Cessna at treetop level and you get a stealth Cessna. Recommend

  • Ayub Khan
    May 21, 2011 - 3:27PM

    @rgg Since when did Chinese follow the same religion as Pakistanis and speak the same language as Pakistanis ??? Pakistan is an Islamic nation and Chinese people are Buddhists, Chinese speak Mandarin !!! Even with 250 of these “Thunders” which are modest 4th generation fighters without any stealth whatsoever, you would be able to teach a lesson only to those Taliban scum and no one else since Indian and Americans have much technologically advanced aircrafts than these in their armory. By the way if you have heard about “Wikipedia”, then you can check out everything you need to know about the JF-17’s capabilities, there’s nothing secretive about it ! Recommend

  • Fahd hassan
    May 21, 2011 - 6:15PM

    A truly truly amazing machine, the cockpit is so elaborate one look can give you that feeling of ‘something very special on board’. With all my responsibility I affirm the PAF has crossed nuclear threshold of Military Aviation. Recommend

  • Noman Naseem
    May 21, 2011 - 8:44PM

    Well.. JF-17 is a fourth gen aircraft and its not stealth.
    But CAC and PAC have planed to design JF-17 X after 2015 (which will be a 5th gen aircraft) by doing few modifications/additions in JF-17 design and features.
    PAF is going steady and I must say that the results are really nice and well planned.
    Long live Pak-China friendship!Recommend

  • Ricky Nastan
    May 21, 2011 - 8:59PM

    Great NewsRecommend

  • SMR
    May 21, 2011 - 9:39PM

    since when is JF-17 a stealth fighter? if we seriously started producing a stealth fighter at $20 million apiece and a total program cost of $600 million then i applaud PAF and China, we have thoroughly humiliated the air defence industries of EU, United States and Russia. People there should be frothing at the mouths that they’ve spent $40 billion+ to develop stealth capability on airplanes and thats besides the costs of each individual stealth aircraft which can range from $120 million(i.e. F-22) to $2.9 billion(i.e. B-2 spirit bomber) apiece.

    express tribune, get your headlines straight… thanks.Recommend

  • TimP
    May 21, 2011 - 10:57PM

    Bought with American Tax payer money, and probably stolen or sold military secrets from USA by the Chinese. Welcome to the new American way. I pray every night that our wonderful country is not destroyed by Washington Greed, and the American people wake up and see what is happening with the some of these politicians that are selling us out. Democrate and Republican. Please get out and look at your politicians that represent you, voting record and policy and vote the losers and traitors out that are selling out the American people and this country. Or all the people that has died for this country, to make us free and a democracy is in vain. And our children and grand children won’t have what we have had. This includes Presidents, Senators, Congressman, Republicans, Democrates. Also need to change term limits of Senators and Congressman to no more than 2 terms. God Bless America, and in God we trust!Recommend

  • khan
    May 21, 2011 - 11:07PM

    chines 3rd gen = to western 4th d, so educatre yourselfRecommend

  • Usama
    May 22, 2011 - 4:41AM

    lol, good oneRecommend

    May 22, 2011 - 2:11PM

    JF-Thunder is a good effort for self relience.but we can not make country strong only through arms race.our country needs a good leadership which has the vision for 20 to 30 years planning.our country needs a strong local development system at district level.we need developing infrastructure at district level.when problems of people will solve the country will progress.then we are able to make our defence one of the best in world.we make a good airdefence system setellitte connected.and electronics complex with the help of malysia and chinaRecommend

  • Ahsan
    May 24, 2011 - 11:15AM

    I believe our country men need good education, jobs, social security, solid infrastructure to lay foundation for our future generation. How can we do that? Firstly, we should get rid of load shedding which has crippled our society. Then, basic needs like health, education and roads should be improved. How many new roads, bridges, flyovers have been built? How many new dams have been built? How many children are getting FREE EDUCATION at primary level level? People of Pakistan are best judge of the situation. We should CAST OUR VOTE so that we could elect someone who puts people of Pakistan foremost.Recommend

    May 29, 2011 - 2:41PM

    I think our system of government is so poor and un efficient that it is useless to have expectation with this system.our national assembly members are above 300.40 to 60 are ministers,rest members are doing nothing for country.they are just sitting in a/c hall & enjoying parties.this system should be change.people representatives should sit at district level so that people can meet with him and inform him about their issues.members of higher house(senate) should be high educated and good characters.ministers selected should be approved by senate either these (ministers) are eligble or not.prime minister qualification should be at least MBA so that he can check the ministers.

    we should get electricity from central asia through iran

    we should develop district system (District Council and Tehsil Council)
    district development commission,district infrastructure development board,district water board,district land board,district agriculture management board etc.
    TRIBAL AREAS should be declare a province.Recommend

    May 29, 2011 - 5:09PM

    Your thoughts are very beautifull but first of you observe what is the system which is running our country.what are the standards of nominees which are going to contest the election.our national assembly members are above 300 hundred.above 60 to 70 are ministers , the rest of members are doing nothing for country.they are just sitting in a/c hall and participating in parties. it is very necessary that they should present in those areas where they get votes.they should present at district level.our senate (higher house) members should be high qualified and list of ministers should be approved by senate before taking oath ither they are eligible or not.prime minister qualification should be atleast MBA so that he can check the ministers.

    following steps are very necessary to make country out opf problems

    01- two systems are necassry for distric population

    elected system ( district council & tehsil council based on councillors and committees)
    02- non elected organizations ( district development commission,district infrastructure dvelopment board,district water board,district land board,district agricultural baord, etc…
    03- We should get electricity from central assian republics throung Iran
    04- We should make tribal areas six province.
    05- We should electronics complex with the help of Malaysia and China to make our airforce strong and self relianec.Recommend

  • Ahsan Raza
    May 30, 2011 - 9:43AM

    I agree with you the the way our govt. is setup needs a total makeover; from grass-root level upto PM & President and everybody in-between. Yes, we could collaborate with China & Iran to lay foundation for technology & energy(oil, electricity) & further seek new markets for our export goods. Though, Pakistan has got enormous reservoirs of coal which can provide electricity for next 500 years but adding some more pollution to the air which can be harmful for our environment which is already deteriorating gradually. We must abandon U.S for every good reason & be wise in choosing friends of Pakistan. Recommend

  • AfPak
    Jul 14, 2011 - 4:07PM

    Nice one, Way to go buddy, just take care, next morning ISI guys will land up at your door and you will vanish just like that !


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