WARSAW: Pakistan plans on offering its PAC JF-17 Thunder fighter jets to Bulgaria in a bid to acquire 16 combat aircraft for its military, reports Defene News.
According to Bulgarian news agency Nevinite, the Bulgarian Air Force is aiming to replace its outdated Soviet-designed Mikoyan MiG-21 aircraft.
Up till now, Bulgaria’s Defense Ministry has shortlisted three offers which include US bid of F-16s, Eurofighter Typhoon and Sweden’s Gripen.
Recently, Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolai Nenchev said he aimed to visit the United States in the first quarter of 2015 to discuss potential procurement.
JF-17’s first prototype was launched in May 2003. Since then, the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and China’s Chengdu Aircraft have been jointly producing the jet since 2007.
If the Bulgarian government decides to acquire the JF-17, Pakistan would become the aircraft’s first foreign operator.
The aircraft is enabled with a service ceiling of 55,500 feet and a maximum speed of 700 knots, according to data released by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex.
The Islamabad-based manufacturer says that the fighter jet's glass cockpit and hands-on throttle and stick controls reduce pilot workload, and it can be armed with beyond-visual-range active missiles with a range of 70 to 100 kilometers, and highly agile imaging infrared short-range missiles.
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