Pakistan Sells its First Fighter Jets to Foreign Buyers

JF-17 ThunderPARIS -- Pakistan's air force announced here at the Paris Air Show that it has completed its first export deal for the JF-17 Thunder Fighter jet.

Pakistan air force officials would only say it was an Asian country as they kept a tight lid on the details of the deal not specifying the amount of price of the sale.

The JF-17 is dual produced by China and Pakistan with 52 percent of the aircraft produced in Pakistan. The multi-role fighter is called the FC-1 Xialon, or Fierce Dragon, in China. It was introduced into both fleets in 2004.

This is the first export deal for the Pakistan air force for the JF-17 Thunder, which is displaying it here at Paris Air Show. The aircraft is also performing in the air show for the first time.

Pakistan officials didn't specify if they were selling the Block I or Block II version of the aircraft. Pakistan is in the process of upgrading the first 54 Block I JF-17s in the service. Pakistan will then receive an additional 50 Block II versions of the aircraft.

The Block II features better avionics, air refueling capability and improved software. Pakistan is also talking about a third version that could include the active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.

Pakistan air force officials have said they hope to buy 50 of the Block III version of the aircraft.

-- Michael Hoffman can be reached at Mike.Hoffman@military.com

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