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.

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There were 2 JF-17’s at the Paris Airshow flying the demo. This JF-17 was painted in the colors of the Pakistani flag. Video: Salon du Bourget / Paris Airshow on YouTube

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.

A JF-17 of the Pakistan Air Force.
Photo: Shimin Gu [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

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.


(Top photo: Shimin Gu [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)])

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