News: Pakistan to buy more Chinese fighters?
Published 11 November 2009, 12:36
Pakistan may buy up to 36 Chinese J-10 fighter aircraft.
November 10: The UK’s Financial Times reports that Pakistan may buy up to 36 Chinese J-10 fighter aircraft in a deal worth $1.4bn.
It is believed that the J-10 version being considered by the Pakistan Air Force is the FC-20, an export version that would comply with Pakistani avionics requirements. It would be operational by 2015. The J-10 is regarded by the industry as a ‘fourth-generation’ fighter, similar in capability to the latest versions of the F-16 and Saab’s Gripen.
Pakistan has bought Chinese-built fighters in the past – it operates 100 Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAIC) F-7P ‘Airguards’, a licence-built version of the elderly MiG-21 Fishbed produced as recently as 2006, in three front-line squadrons as well as 26 Shenyang Aircraft Corporation FT-5/6s, based upon the even older MiG-17.
The Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) has recently teamed up with CAIC to produce the JF-17 ‘Thunder’ light fighter, the first examples being delivered to Pakistan in mid-March 2008. The first squadron, No. 26, is expected to stand-up in early 2010 and Pakistan may eventually buy up to 250.