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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Pakistan Inducts More JF-17s Into Air Force

More JF-17s join Pakistani service.

At a ceremony at Kamra airbase on February 16, 2017, Pakistan's Defense Ministry officially received 16 new JF-17 fighter jets. These, according to Radio Pakistan, have entered service with 14-Squadron.
The introduction of these aircraft into service brings Pakistan's number of JF-17 squadrons to five. To date, over 80 JF-17s have been delivered to the Air Force. The jets delivered to 14-Squadron were all Block IIs.

14-Squadron has removed its F-7s from service, though at least one (F-7P number 716) was visible during the ceremony, providing a contrast between the squadron's new aircraft and its previous jets.

Samaa TV footage showed Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif enter the cockpit of one of the jets -- Block II number 32 -- at the ceremony. Earlier this year, images emerged on social media showing that production of the Block II had crossed 30 jets.

The Defense Minister thanked China for its support in the JF-17 program. The two countries jointly produce the aircraft. Later this year, the first two-seat variant, called the JF-17B, will make its first test flight, according to Aviation Week & Space Technology.

In addition to equipping its own Air Force with the JF-17, Pakistan has sought to export the jet abroad. As seen in Nigerian budget documents, Pakistan has sold three JF-17s to Nigeria. Other countries, such as Myanmar, are reportedly in talks to license-build the fighter jet.

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