|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Apr 28, 2017 06:40 PM EDT|
(Photo : Pakistan Air Force) Two-seat JF-17B of the Pakistan Air Force.
China has unveiled the JF-17B, a dual-seat fighter trainer version of the original CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder it co-developed for the Pakistan Air Force. The Chinese version of the JF-17 is called the CAC FC-1 Xiaolong.
JF-17 stands for Joint Fighter-17 while the designation FC-1 Xiaolong means Fighter China-1 Fierce Dragon.
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The Pakistan Air Force plans to deploy the JF-17B this year in the ground attack and trainer roles. Pakistan is capable of manufacturing 25 JF-17s a year.
JF-17 is a lightweight, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC)
JF-17B made its maiden flight on April 27 in southwest Sichuan province.
AVIC said JF-17B was also developed to meet the requirements of international customers and the global market. It said the plane can be used for training in peacetime and can also be used in combat missions during wartime.
AVIC said the debut flight symbolized a major milestone in the development of the JF-17 aircraft series.
Yang Wei, chief designer of the JF-17B, said the JF-17B dual-seat aircraft brings a new force to JF-17 family and will increase JF-17 series' competitiveness in world markets.
AVIC said the JF-17B has achieved a balance among performance, quality, cost and market needs. It said that the JF-17B received overseas orders during its development stage.
In September 2016, Pakistan and China took their jointly developed CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder, otherwise known as FC-1 Xiaolong in China, on a marketing tour in South Africa to push the fighter to African governments.
This third generation fighter is currently only in service with the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), having been a made exclusively for Pakistan.
The JF-17, which is the export version of the FC-1, can be used in air-to-air combat missions and also has strong ground attack capabilities. It's a light weight, third-generation fighter capable of all-weather missions
The project that led to the JF-17 began in 1998 when China and Pakistan signed an agreement for joint development and production of the fighter. The maiden flight of the No. 01 prototype fighter was successfully conducted on August 25, 2003. The first fighters were delivered to the PAF in March 2007.
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