ISLAMABAD: Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, Chief of Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force (PAF), said on Tuesday that Pakistan-China joint production JF-17 Thunder fighter jet has bright prospects in the international aviation market.
It has many added features which make it much more attractive than any other fighter aircraft of its category, said the air chief. A low price tag and low maintenance and operational cost compared to the other planes of its class make it attractive for the buyers, he said.
The PAF chief said this while talking to the media after attending the 8th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition that will continue in China’s southern coastal city neighbouring Macau, till November 21. During the six-day exhibition, 35 countries and regions are participating.
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang was the chief guest at the show. Former prime minister Li Peng and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Chief and senior party leaders were also present on this occasion.
Pakistan, having the second biggest fleet of aircraft after host China, is participating for the first time in this exhibition. As many as ten K-8 trainer aircraft and three JF-17 fighters are taking part in the show that demonstrates the time-tested friendship between the two countries.
While talking about the plane, the Chief of Air Staff commented that it has all state-of-the-art features. He particularly mentioned its supreme avionics, essential for a modern combat aircraft.
There is likely to be a huge demand for this type of aircraft in the international market, as it meets all the requirements that is needed by a modern air force, at a very affordable price, he said.
To a question regarding further expansion of cooperation between Pakistan Air Force and China, Rao Qamar Suleman replied that the two brotherly neighbouring countries have a long history of cooperation in all fields, particularly defence. He expressed with confidence that with the passage of time these bonds of friendship would further consolidate.
Talking to media on this occasion, Pakistan’s ambassador to China, Masood Khan said this air show has epitomised Pakistan-China relations. “Today is a great day for both Pakistan and China,” he said. JF-17’s demonstration was spectacular as well as professional, he added.
Three JF-17 fighter planes are participating in this air show. One of these has been put on display for the general public as well as for prospective buyers while others are performing aerobatics.
Another manifestation of this friendship was that immediately after the-state-of-art J-10 aerobatics by PLA Air Force and PAF, pilots were invited to demonstrate their aerobatic skills on the JF-17 Thunder.
To mark the importance of this event, the Air Force of People's Liberation Army of China also put on display a series of aircraft which participated in the 60th National Day Parade on October 1, 2009.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 17th, 2010.
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