First indigenously manufactured JF-17 Thunder handed over to PAF – November 23, 2009

JF-17 Thunder first ever multi role state of the art rolled out of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra and was included to the fleet of Pakistan Air Force. Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani was the chief guest at the ceremony that marked a milestone in the Sino Pak joint venture in air defence system. The sophisticated JF-17 Thunder, painted green in the colour scheme of national flag appeared with grandeur as the Prime Minister unveiled the fighter jet before the audience. Manufactured with the cooperation of China, the event has been termed as a beginning of new era of Pak China friendship. He termed the manufacturing of JF-17 Thunder aircraft as the achievement of an important milestone in the governments ongoing efforts to attain self reliance. The Prime Minister assured full cooperation, support and patronage to the PAF in its projects and congratulated the entire nation, adding the national project would be remembered as a landmark in the countrys history. Referring to present challenges, the Prime Minister said the fast changing technology intensive battle arena required intense involvement of air power which had emerged as a major player in conflict scenarios. He said the role of air force also becomes vital in tackling the threat posed by the forces of extremism and militancy. Under these circumstances, he said, a modern air force was a national requirement adding the government was making sincere efforts for a strong and well equipped Pakistan Air Force. He said the PAF had repeatedly proved equal to the task even in most challenging times, measuring up to the expectations of the nation in safeguarding the sacred soil and skies of the country. In the recent drive against militants, PAF side by side with Pak Army was endeavouring to root out terrorism from the country, he added. The Prime Minister said, The PAF has been able to achieve, both in the form of meeting its operational requirement by co developing a fighter aircraft and developing Pakistans Aviation Industry. He said following the example of Kamra, there should be more similar centres of excellence in other fields, to attract youth towards a more constructive approach to life that leads to a better and more prosperous future. He appreciated that the JF-17 programme had provided employment to about 5,000 people. The Prime Minister also reiterated the governments firm resolve in eradicating ignorance, illiteracy and backwardness to carve a respectable place for the country in the comity of nations. He said, China has always stood by us in our hour of need its unflinching support and willingness, to go an extra mile for Pakistan, has been a source of great strength for the people of Pakistan. Gilani thanked the Chinese friends for providing PAF the required technical assistance for the programme. The Prime Minister said the Chinese calm sagacity, futuristic thinking and willingness to stand by its friends, even in the era of terrorism and extremism promised not only hope and stability but also acted as an example for others. He also mentioned the Chinese cooperation in many other projects in the country and said it was a pride for the nation. He especially highlighted the projects including Gwadar Deep Sea Port, Korakoram Highway, Heavy Mechanical Complex, Heavy Electrical Complex and Saindak Copper Project where China is helping the country. He lauded the PAFs initiative for appreciating and putting to use the tremendous potential of Pakistan and jointly developing the industrial infrastructure. Chief of the Air Staff Rao Qamar Suleman highlighted the efforts of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra in establishing itself as a hub of aviation industry. He lauded the support of Chinese government and Aviation Industries of China without which, he said the project would not have succeeded. He said that 40 JF-17 Thunder aircraft would be produced by PAC Kamra within next three years and would be inducted in PAF replacing the existing aircraft. He added that the first JF-17 Squadron would be established shortly. Chinas ambassador Luo Zhaohui on behalf on the Chinese government appreciated the technical acumen of PAC Kamra in acquiring complex skills and expertise in fighter aircraft manufacturing. He said the collaboration between the two peace loving countries in air defence was a major step for the regions peace. Earlier Air Marshal Farhat Hussain Khan, Chairman PAC Board Kamra in his welcome address gave an overview of JF-17 project and highlighted the benefits of co production in terms of incorporation of modern technologies of manufacturing and skill enhancement of personnel. JF-17 Thunder light weight and low cost multi role fighter aircraft has high maneuverability and BVR capability. It has advanced aerodynamics configuration and high thrust. JF-17 Thunder will replace the ageing fleets of A-5s, F-7Ps and the Mirages in the PAF inventory thus fulfilling a multi role task. [Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan]

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