The development of JF-17, a modern highly capable and relatively inexpensive fighter jet, is the crowning achievement to-date of the Pakistan-China defense production cooperation. It's being deployed by Pakistan Air Force with Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC). The latest version is capable of launching a variety of nuclear and conventional weapons ranging from smart bombs and air-launched cruise missile Raad to anti-ship missiles.
Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) got its start decades ago by setting up maintenance facilities for advanced fighters like French Mirage and US F-16s and by manufacturing Mushshak and Super Mushshak trainer aircraft. It is now also building JF-17s as well as a variety of drones, including combat UAV Burraq being used in Pakistan's war against militants in Waziristan.
|Global Arms Producers. Source: SIPRI|
India-Pakistan Aerial Combat:
Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui of Pakistan Air Force (PAF), flying a Pakistan-made JF-17 Block 2 serial 15-201 fighter jet, shot down Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of Indian Air Force (IAF) flying a Russia made MiG 21. Abhinandan was captured by Pakistan last week.
Indian officials have confirmed the loss of IAF's MiG 21, acknowledging that MiG-21 Bison, Su-30MKI and Mirage 2000 aircraft were all scrambled to head off the PAF strike squadrons over Kashmir.
The confirmation that JF-17 Thunder was used in successful aerial combat came in a tweet from Retired PAF Air Marshal Shahid Latif who tweeted: "Proud to announce, I was project director for JF-17 Thunder program jointly produced by Pakistan and China during the [2001-2008] tenure of general Pervez Musharraf. Today, same jets targeted and shot down Indian jets which entered Pakistani airspace."
Stock Market Reaction:
Within hours of the Pakistan Air Marshall's tweet, the publicly traded shares of Shenzhen-listed Sichuan Chengfei Integration Technology (CAC-SCIT), a sister company of JF-17 maker Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC), rose 10% five minutes on Wednesday - hitting the maximum daily increase allowed on the Chinese stock market, according to the South China Morning Post. The shares in CAC-SCIT, which makes car parts, rose a further 10% on Thursday. CAC is not publicly listed. CAC-SCIT shares had dropped back 5.57% by midday on Friday.
JF-17 Export Potential:
The JF-17 recently won an export order from Nigeria. Next possible customer is Myanmar where JF-17 was recently seen in an air force parade. The New York Times has reported that a joint China-Pakistan defense manufacturing hubs in Pakistan is being set up to win new export customers among Muslim countries. Pakistan is already in talks with Malaysia for sale of JF-17s to Malaysian Air Force. There is potential to export close to a billion dollars worth of JF-17 Thunders.
PAF's Tail Choppers:
Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui is a member of PAF's 14 Squadron called ‘Tail Choppers’ which was officially re-equipped with Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) JF-17 fighters on February 16, 2017, according to AirForces Monthly magazine. Here's an excerpt from the magazine:
"The initial batch of 16 JF-17s replaced some of the last remaining Chengdu F-7Ps that had been in service with the ‘Tail Choppers’ at PAF Base Minhas. The ‘Tail Choppers’ became the fifth PAF squadron to operate the type after 26 Squadron ‘Black Spiders’, 16 Squadron ‘Black Panthers’, the Combat Commanders School, and 2 Squadron ‘Minhas’. The squadron was the second to re-equip with Block 2 aircraft. However, it the first to fly the Block 2 operationally with the air-to-air refuelling probe fitted. On June 19, 2017, a JF-17 shot down an Iranian reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over Panjgur, Balochistan, 28 miles (45km) inside Pakistani territory."
Confirmation that PAF's Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui flying JF-17 Block 2 shot down an Indian fighter jet has boosted investor interest in the aircraft with double digit percentage increase in CAC's share price. It is likely to boost Pakistan's exports of this fighter jet to Nigeria, Myanmar and Malaysia.
Here's a 2018 Pakistani music video featuring Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui:
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