On the 22nd of May, China delivered the first overhauled multi role F17 fighter jets to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF.) This delivery comes after a decade post a deal between Pakistan and China for the development and manufacturing of aircrafts.
The joint development was undertaken between China and Pakistan for single engine fighter jets more than ten years ago. After Beijing delivered the first line of jets in the year 2007, a number of jets were commissioned.
According to a report issued by Pakistan military analysts, the jets were ready to be being overhauled. PAF was requesting an upgrade for the fighter jets because after the issuing of the first round of jets in the year 2007, the jets were used to their full capacity. Post a document signed between China and Pakistan in 2016, the first overhaul process started in the year 2017.
“The first [JF-17] overhaul marks an important milestone [in the JF-17 project.] It represents the trial-and-error phase of the project and provided experience in establishing standards for other JF-17 overhauls in future, Fu Qianshao, a Chinese air defence expert, said.
The overhaul of the fighter jets includes major maintenance, replacement of old components and repairs of the airframe and engine. Despite the fact that China is developing a new series of fighter jets, it still relies on Russia for spare parts and is not yet ready to develop engines for its planes. At the moment, China can’t produce its own jets because problems like overheating and under performance.
After the United States of America restricted the sale of F16 war planes to Pakistan post the 1990 war embargo sanctioned by the Pressler Amendment, PAF had no option but to rely on China. According to the Pressler Amendment, the USA stopped selling Pakistan the promised F16s after nuclear proliferation related sanctions came into force in the year 1990. At the moment, PAF is reported to have more than 100 fighter planes, with more on the way.
Stay tuned for more updates.