China delivers first overhauled JF 17 fighter jet to Pakistan

China has delivered the first overhauled multi-role JF-17 Thunder fighter jet to Islamabad (Pakistan) as part of a project undertaken by the two countries over a decade ago for the development and manufacture of the aircraft.

China delivers first overhauled JF 17 fighter jet to Pakistan Pakistan Air Force Chengdu JF-17 (Picture source: Shimin Gu)

The overhaul was carried out by the Changsha 5712 Aircraft Industry Company which functions under the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). Jointly developed and manufactured by China and Pakistan, the single-engine multi-role light fighter jet JF-17 made its maiden flight in 2003. The first JF-17s were delivered to Pakistani clients in 2007 and a number of them were later commissioned by the Pakistan Air Force.

After a decade of use, it was time for the first JF-17s to undergo overhauls, the report quoted military analysts as saying, adding that the first overhaul started in November 2017 after a contract was signed between the two sides in 2016.

The experienced overhaul team at AVIC used a “reliability-oriented maintenance model, keeping the maintenance cycle short and costs low,” the China Aviation News report said. A Block 3 variant of the JF-17 is under development, which is expected to be much more powerful than the previous two blocks thanks to a new China-developed active electronically scanned array radar, reports said.