China-Pakistan fighter said to have found new buyer
Updated: 2015-11-11 07:48
By Zhao Lei(China Daily)
The FC-1 Fierce Dragon, or JF-17 Thunder, a fourth-generation fighter jet co-developed by China and Pakistan, has found a buyer following several years of speculation and promotion.
The aircraft's developers, Aviation Industry Corp of China and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, signed a contract with an unidentified buyer, AVIC said in a statement sent to China Daily on Tuesday.
It did not elaborate on when the contract was signed or how many FC-1s are to be sold. The Pakistan Air Force is the only user of the lightweight, multi-purpose combat aircraft, with 60 in active service.
"Now it has a new buyer. Moreover, several potential buyers have expressed to us their strong intention of introducing the aircraft, and they have performed comprehensive assessments of the plane," Liu Yu, deputy head of AVIC's military aircraft trade wing, was quoted in the statement as saying at a news conference in Dubai on Monday.
About 1,100 exhibitors from more than 60 countries are attending the ongoing 14th Dubai Airshow, which opened on Sunday in the United Arab Emirates.
"This plane is an ideal replacement for second-and third-generation fighter jets still in service with many militaries. The FC-1 has ... good capabilities in air combat and air-to-ground strikes, and a high cost-performance ratio," he said.
This is the first time an AVIC official has confirmed the new FC-1 contract.
Air Vice-Marshal Arshad Malik, vice-chairman of the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, said at Monday's news conference that the aircraft demonstrated strong combat capability through various drills.
Forty FC-1s will be delivered to the Pakistan Air Force in the near future, he said.
According to Western military observers, China and Pakistan have been actively promoting the FC-1 to the international market.
However, no deals were made despite reports often emerging saying some militaries were close to inking a contract.
Nevertheless, the China-Pakistan sales team remains optimistic as they still stick to the prediction that in next 20 years, at least 300 FC-1s will be sold globally.
A FC-1 fighter with the Pakistan air force performs at the eighth Zhuhai Air Show in Guangdong province. Yang Guang / Xinhua
(China Daily 11/11/2015 page4)