Kamra-based Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) is staying tight-lipped on the identity of the first international customer for its JF-17 Thunder fighter, but says marketing efforts for the single-engined type are going well.
“The contract is already signed, but we will leave it to the customer to announce it first,” says Air Marshal Javaid Ahmed. “There is a lot of interest in developing countries. I think almost all developing countries are keen to have a look at the JF-17.”
He says potential clients fall into three classes: ones with which there have been negotiations, a group evaluating data, and a group who have shown some interest in the Thunder.
Increased international engagement about the JF-17 has seen promotional efforts transfer from the country’s air force to PAC, where it is overseen by the organisation’s deputy director.
The JF-17 is a joint development between PAC and Chinese airframer Avic and is powered by a single Russian-made Klimov RD-93 engine.
One strength of the programme, adds Ahmed, is that Pakistan has full access to the JF-17’s source code, which gives it significant flexibility in tailoring the jet for customer requirements.
“Having the ability to do all the programming sends a very good message that whatever weapons they have, they can be integrated onto the aircraft. You don’t have to go China.”
Flightglobal broke news of the JF-17’s first contract signing at the Paris air show in June.