Iraq has decided to purchase 12 JF-17 Thunder Block III fighter jets jointly developed by Pakistan and China.
According to a report published in an English newspaper, a delegation from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense recently visited Pakistan, during which a defense agreement on the purchase of JF-17 Thunder fighter jets was reached and has reportedly set aside more than $600 million in funding for the purchase of the said aircraft.
The deal was reportedly made during the visit of Deputy Commander of Iraqi Air Force Major General (Pilot) Muhammad Majeed Mahdi Mahmood’s to Pakistan.
Earlier, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has inducted three JF-17 fighter jets procured from Pakistan to modernise its air fleet, marking a significant milestone for Pakistan’s aircraft industry and defence capabilities.
Moreover, Argentina has also shown interest in purchasing a total of 12 Block 3 JF-17 fighter jets from Pakistan, for which the Argentine government has allocated more than $664 million. The procurement process will formally begin after the Argentine parliament approves the decision to purchase the aircraft.
In July 2015, Myanmar became the first export customer of the JF-17 Thunder with an order for 16 Block II variants.
The EurAsian Times reported in April that China-Pakistani JF-17 fighter among the top choice along with Korean FA-50 is the finalists.
“According to The Korea Times, Malaysian officials have confirmed that the Pakistani jet is competing with its South Korean counterpart for the requirement,” the news article read.
What is JF-17 Thunder?
The JF-17 fighter jets is a single-engine multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation of China.
The builders say that the JF-17 can be used for multiple roles, including interception, ground attack, anti-ship, and aerial reconnaissance.