At the recent Zhuhai airshow I was struck by the large numbers of Pakistani air force personnel. I've always known China and Pakistan were close, but it was still a surprise to see a contingent of over 100 Pakistanis so far from home.
Yesterday a press release I found on the web site of Pakistan's ministry of defence reminded me of the show. It lauded the close ties between China and Pakistan, and made me think of the cool paint job Pakistan applied to one of its early JF-17s, an aircraft developed jointly by Pakistan and China. The paint scheme is not, of course, on deployed aircraft, but appeared at Pakistan's National Day Parade in 2007. Old news perhaps, but I never recall seeing an aircraft painted with two nations' flags like this.
The above image appeared on the cover of a book a Pakistani officer passed me, "The PAF over the Years." The book is unique, offering insight into the battles and adventures of the PAF since the fifties. It has no photos, but illustrations by a retired Pakistani air force officer, the planes portrayed in superb detail. I could tell he loves aircraft and aviation.
We'll be seeing a lot more of the JF-17 in the future, as the aircraft is a good, cost effective replacement to the world's aging Mig-21s and J-7s.