More JF-17s join Pakistani service.
At a ceremony at Kamra airbase on February 16, 2017, Pakistan’s Defense Ministry officially received 16 new JF-17 fighter jets. These, according to Radio Pakistan, have entered service with 14-Squadron.
The introduction of these aircraft into service brings Pakistan’s number of JF-17 squadrons to five. To date, over 80 JF-17s have been delivered to the Air Force. The jets delivered to 14-Squadron were all Block IIs.
14-Squadron has removed its F-7s from service, though at least one (F-7P number 716) was visible during the ceremony, providing a contrast between the squadron’s new aircraft and its previous jets.
Samaa TV footage showed Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif enter the cockpit of one of the jets — Block II number 32 — at the ceremony. Earlier this year, images emerged on social media showing that production of the Block II had crossed 30 jets.
#Pakistan PAC has seemingly built 33 JF-17 Block II fighter jets so far. Jet “2P-33” pictured several days ago pic.twitter.com/PlSxuqQSZG
— Derek Bisaccio (@DerekBisaccio) January 16, 2017
The Defense Minister thanked China for its support in the JF-17 program. The two countries jointly produce the aircraft. Later this year, the first two-seat variant, called the JF-17B, will make its first test flight, according to Aviation Week & Space Technology.
In addition to equipping its own Air Force with the JF-17, Pakistan has sought to export the jet abroad. As seen in Nigerian budget documents, Pakistan has sold three JF-17s to Nigeria. Other countries, such as Myanmar, are reportedly in talks to license-build the fighter jet.