Pakistan is moving forward with its purchase of Chengdu Aircraft (CAC) JF-17/FC-1/Super-7 light fighters, despite a delay to the Sino-Pakistani development programme.
Industry sources say the first prototype of the newly modified FC-1 is now scheduled to begin flight testing in April. CAC, which flew the initial prototype in 2003, redesigned the fighter last year to incorporate improved air intakes and wing leading-edge strakes (Flight International, 27 September–3 October 2005). The redesign has forced CAC to delay delivery of the first production aircraft to launch customer Pakistan until 2007.
Pakistan has ordered 16 FC-1s, eight of which are to be assembled by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC). Pakistani sources say PAC’s schedule to begin FC-1 production later this year has not been affected by the delays in the development programme, with the company now preparing for FC-1 production by building a new factory and establishing additional infrastructure.
Later, PAC expects to also produce subassemblies and components for a second batch of at least 100 FC-1s, which Pakistan plans to acquire following a successful completion to the development programme.