Gareth Stringer's 2010 blogGAR Entries

JUL 15 2010
Thunder at Farnborough as the JF-17 arrives.

Well, it created a stir when it was announced and despite weeks of uncertainty the JF-17 Thunder has finally arrived in Hampshire for the Farnborough Airshow.

Developed jointly by the Chengdu Aircraft Industries Corporation of China, the Pakistan Air Force and the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, the aircraft is designated as "JF-17" in Pakistan (Joint Fighter-17) and as "FC-1" in China (an abbreviation of "Fighter China-1).

Its appearance for the static display at Farnborough 2010, with a C-130 on support duty, highlights its export potential to the air forces of other developing countries as a cost-effective alternative to higher-tech, but far more expensive, Western fighters.

Developed primarily to meet the requirements of the Pakistan Air Force, JF-17 is a low-cost, multi-role combat aircraft and was seen as an ideal replacement for its ageing mixed fleet of Nanchang A-5, Chengdu F-7P / PG and Dassault Mirage III / V fighters.

The maiden test flight of the first prototype took place during 2003 in China with deliveries to the Pakistan Air Force for further flight testing and evaluation beginning in 2007; with the aircraft's first airshow demonstration also taking place that year in Islamabad. The Pakistan Air Force’s first JF-17 squadron officially stood up in February 2010.

The JF-17 is expected to cost approximately US$15 million per unit with the Pakistan Air Force confirming an order for 150 aircraft, although this may increase to 250.

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