Myanmar Air Force ordered 16 JF-17 Aircraft from Pakistan
Myanmar Air Force ordered 16 JF-17 Aircraft from Pakistan in a deal of $560 million.
Myanmar Currently operates 31 Mig-29B. With 16 JF-17 Myanmar will have 47 fourth Generation Fighter Aircraft while Bangladesh has only 8 Mig-29SE.
Myanmar has always showed aggressive behavior with all of it's neighbors and specially towards Bangladesh. 24 out of 31 Mig-29 of Myanmar Air Force are based on Bangladesh-Myanmar Side.Despite the fact that Bangladesh has triple sized Economy of Myanmar.
In a bid to expand its defence capabilities, the Myanmar government ordered 16 fighter jets from Pakistan at a total price of more than half a billion US dollar, local reports reveal. The country’s government placed an order last year for the jets, each worth 35mn, making it the first nation to do so. Within Southeast Asia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia are reportedly also interested in the “affordable” jet, although at least the latter’s defence ministry denied it but Indonesia is said to have already signed an agreement with Pakistan to buy some jets in the future.
The JF-17 Thunder jet was designed and developed by Chinese state-run Aviation Industry Corp of China to meet the Pakistani requirement for lightweight and affordable supersonic fighter jet. They are currently produced for the Pakistani Air Force by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), a major aerospace, defence and aviation contractor in northern Punjab near Islamabad producing aircraft and aviation systems for both military and civilian use. The company produced a total of 16 new generation JF-17 Block-II Thunder aircraft in 2015.
The contract between PAC and Myanmar has been signed at the Paris Air Show in June last year, but at that time the manufacturer did not disclose to which country it will be selling the aircraft. Meanwhile it has been confirmed by PAC that the first jets are to be delivered to Myanmar starting from 2017.
PAC has already produced 50 older, less-advanced JF-17 Block-I Thunder for the Pakistan Air Force which has a contract for another 50 JF-17 Block II Thunder jets. The newer Block-II variant possesses more advanced weapons systems and avionics and is also equipped with air-to-air refuelling capability. Block II construction activity is expected to run until 2017, after which the manufacturing ofurther developed Block III aircraft is planned. The full capacity of the PAC plant is 25 jets per year, whereby Pakistan produces 58% of the airframe and China 42%, respectively. The latest models of the jets are lightweight multi-role aircraft capable of a speed of Mach 2 and an operational ceiling of 55,000 feet. China refers to the JF-17 as the FC-1 Xiaolong (“Fierce Dragon”).
According to PAC chairman Air Marshal Javaid Ahmed, the first sale of Pakistan-made jets to a foreign nation has been a “milestone in the country’s aviation history.” He said that the production and manufacturing of JF-17 Thunder fighter jets would be enhanced to 20 per year from 2016 as a number of countries are currently looking into the possibility of buying the aircraft, in addition to the above mentioned also Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Iran, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay, Azerbaijan, Congo, Sudan and Turkey. Sales to several other interested Middle East have been held up by political turmoil in the past, though. Overall, PAC and its Chinese partner anticipate a market for 300 JF-17 fighter aircraft in the near future as both its capabilities in air-to-air and air-to-surface combats and its cost-effectiveness had received attention from the global aviation industry.
However, though it was speculated Sri Lanka would be next to enter into a purchase agreement to buy at least eight JF-17 Thunder jets from PAC during a state visit by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in early January 2016, both the Sri Lanka defence secretary and a foreign ministry spokesperson of the Sri Lankan government subsequently denied any agreement. Local media reports allege that Sri Lanka has been under pressure from the Indian government not to go ahead with the deal as India offered its own variant of a light combat aircraft to the country.