Malaysia in talks to buy Pakistan combat aircraft


ISLAMABAD: The Malaysian government is in “preliminary talks” with Pakistan to buy the multi-role JF-17 Thunder combat aircraft developed jointly by China and Pakistan.
“The Malaysian government has shown interest in buying the JF-17 Thunder aircraft from Pakistan but the deal is yet to be finalized,” a senior Pakistan Ministry of Defense Production official told Arab News.
Pakistan officials at the Defense Services Asia 2018 exhibition in Kuala Lumpur have been marketing military gadgets to potential buyers.
“We are trying to increase our defense exports to one billion dollars within the next two years,” the official said. “We have been targeting sales to countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Malaysia and Egypt.” Pakistan’s Senate standing committee on defense production was told in June last year that the volume of defense exports had increased from $63 million in 2006-07 to more than $98 million in the fiscal year 2017-18.
The JF-17 Thunder is a single-engine, lightweight, multi-purpose combat aircraft that was developed jointly by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation of China and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex. The maiden flight of the JF-17 was completed in August 2003 and entered service in March 2007.The aircraft is expected to cater to the combat requirements of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) as “this is cost effective and equipped with all the latest technology,” the Ministry of Defense Production official said.
“What perhaps could make the JF-17 particularly attractive to the RMAF is that its engine is also used in the Mig-29 and for which the service already has repair and maintenance facilities in place.” “This would further reduce overall operational cost of the new aircraft for the cash strapped Malaysian military.” According to Pakistan’s Defense Export Promotion Organization (DEPO), more than 20 major public-sector organizations and more than 100 private-sector firms are engaged in the manufacturing of defense related products in the country.