PARIS LE BOURGET AIRPORT, FRANCE – After the last ‘acte de présence’ of the Pakistani/Chinese JF-17 at the Paris Airshow in 2015, the fighter jet was back in Paris last week for the 53rd edition of the Salon du Bourget / Paris Airshow 2019 to give some awesome demos, showcasing its capabilities. The aircraft manufacturers from Pakistan and China are also hoping to get new orders for the JF-17.
The PAC JF-17 Thunder or CAC FC-1 Xiaolong is a lightweight, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) of China.
The JF-17 can be used for aerial reconnaissance, ground attack and aircraft interception. Its designation ‘JF-17’ by Pakistan is short for ‘Joint Fighter-17’, while the designation and name ‘FC-1 Xiaolong’ by China means ‘Fighter China-1 Fierce Dragon’.
The first prototype of the JF-17 made its maiden flight in August 2003.
The JF-17 has become the backbone of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), complementing the F-16 at half the cost. The PAF inducted its first JF-17 squadron in February 2010.
The JF-17 saw combat for the first time early this year, on 27 February 2019, during the tense standoff between India and Pakistan. Pakistan claimed that its JF-17s had shot down 2 Indian Air Force aircraft – a Mig-21 and a Su-30MKI – operating in Pakistan’s airspace over the disputed region of Kashmir.
On the other hand, India claimed to have shot down a Pakistan Air Force F-16, while losing a MiG-21 in the aerial engagement. India denied the loss of any Su-30MKI and stated that all aircraft returned safely, whereas Pakistan denied the use or loss of any F-16 during the standoff.
Today the Air Forces of Pakistan, Myanmar and Nigeria are flying with the JF-17.