Pakistan, China exploring market for Thunder jets
Islamabad, Sep 3: Pakistan and China are looking for buyers in third countries for their joint venture combat aircraft JF-17 Thunder, officially called FC-1.
The two are also jointly producing the Chinese designed F-22 frigate and the Al Khalid tank. New projects are likely to be discussed by a high-level Chinese delegation that arrived in Pakistan on Sunday.
The two sides would review the progress of ongoing joint ventures in the defence production sector, the official APP news agency reported quoting unnamed defence sources in Beijing.
The delegation is led by Jin Zhuang, Vice Minister, Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (COSTIND). The six-day visit is aimed at further strengthening bilateral cooperation in the defence sector, The News International newspaper said.
Defence sources told APP here the delegation would study the possibility of undertaking new projects in the light of the success in the ongoing-projects like JF-17 Thunder and F-22 P frigate.
These projects are highly significant in their bilateral ties to strengthening defence capability. The project JF-17 Thunder, formally known as FC-1, is also designed to increase Pakistan's self-reliance and create the potential for an export market, the officials said.
The project, initiated in February 1992, is a joint venture between Pakistan Air Force and China Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation along with Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAC).
Research and Development cost of this project is estimated between $450 to $500 million. Pakistan will be financing 50-59 per cent of the multi-million dollar project.
Estimated cost per aircraft will be around $15-20 million, which makes it an excellent option for export market, a defence official said. China and Pakistan are also expected to start production of F-22 P frigates by the end of this year.
Expressing complete satisfaction over Pakistan's frigate deal with China, defence sources were quoted as saying the deal has been finalised and the keel for construction of the F-22 P frigates will be laid at the Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai later this year.