Pakistan will begin production of JF-17 fighter aircraft this year, senior military officials said on Monday.
The light weight, all weather and multi-role aircraft is jointly being developed by Pakistan and China.
"The small batch production of JF-17 would begin in the second half of this year," Chairman Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), Air Marshal Aurangzeb and Chief Project Director of JF-17 Air Vice Marshal Shahid Latif told newsmen at Kamra.
The first consignment of four aircraft would be delivered to PAC Kamra in December next year. Another batch of four aircraft would be ready by March 2007.
They said initially Pakistan has committed 150 and China 250 aircraft and production capacity of PAC Kamra would be over 20 aircraft per annum.
The officials said fifty percent of the airframe would initially be manufactured in Pakistan and it would progressively be enhanced to hundred percent. Similarly, cooperation with original equipment manufacturers would be expanded over a period of time for
co-production of avionics systems.
Twenty-two avionics systems would be co-produced at PAC including radar, self-protection jammer, high tech flight control and mission computers.
The JF-17 is planned to be a replacement of the aging fleet of PAF. The aircraft would be capable of carrying short range, beyond visual range, anti-ship as well as anti radiation missiles. There would also be provision of carrying high and low drag bombs, laser guided, runway penetration and cluster bombs.
It would be equipped with state-of-the-art avionics package to provide an all weather navigation and attack capability. The state of the art on-board multimode radar would have the capability to track multiple targets and its advanced electronic warfare suite will have self protection and jamming capabilities.
The chairman PAC said the JF-17 project would ensure availability of a contemporary, affordable and sustainable weapon system for the PAF capable of meeting its operation requirements.
"There is also possibility of payback of the financial investment and profitability through aircraft sales to foreign countries as already a number of countries are showing keen interest in the aircraft," he added.
Replying to a question, he said the Aircraft Manufacturing Factory of the PAC is developing a high speed long range drone known as Comet.
It will have a speed of 300 kilometer per hour and a range of 60 kilometer with take off weight of 85 kilograms.
He also revealed that the PAC would soon start manufacturing aviation parts for Boeing 747, 767 and 777 aircraft under an arrangement with the Boeing company. "The know-how thus gained would also help in establishing JF-17 production line.
"The PAC has also recently completed avionics upgrade of Mirage aircraft in collaboration with French company Sagem. This modification substantially increased the air to air and air to ground precision weapons release capability of the aircraft," the official added.
"Similarly, F-16 engines are also upgraded to increase their operating life and performance characteristics saving 30 million dollars."
To a question Air Marshal Aurangzeb said eight more Mushak aircraft are ready for delivery to Saudi Arabia by the end of this month.
"Another five would be delivered in September this year, completing the deal of twenty Mushak," he said. http://www.network54.com/Forum/thread?foru...8&lp=1115667288