November 23, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday formally joined the international community of fighter aircraft manufacturers as JF 17 Thunder, the first ever multi role state of the art rolled out of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra and was included to the fleet of Pakistan Air Force. Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani was the chief guest at the ceremony that marked a milestone in the Sino Pak joint venture in air defence system. Senate Chairman Farooq H. Naik, Federal Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira, Defence Minister Ch Ahmed Mukhtar, Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Luo Zhaohui, Pakistan’s ambassador to China Masood Khan and three services chiefs attended the ceremony.
The sophisticated JF 17 Thunder, painted green in the colour scheme of national flag appeared with grandeur as the Prime Minister unveiled the fighter jet before the audience. Manufactured with the cooperation of China, the event has been termed as a beginning of new era of Pak China friendship. Addressing a select gathering of local and foreign dignitaries and PAF officials, the Prime Minister said the goals of progress and prosperity could not be achieved without achieving self reliance in the defence production.
Updated Jan 2010! Courtesy: South Asia Investor Review and Pakistan Daily
U.S. Army Gen. William Westmoreland is reported to have said: “On the battlefield of the future, enemy forces will be located, tracked and targeted almost instantaneously through the use of data links, computer-assisted intelligence and automated fire control. … I am confident the American people expect this country to take full advantage of its technology–to welcome and applaud the developments that will replace wherever possible the man with the machine.” It seems that this vision from the 1970s is being realized today. One manifestation of it is the development and deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles by many nations, including Pakistan.
Pakistan’s indigenously developed unmanned aerial vehicle, Uqaab, whose final flight was tested and successfully conducted in March 2008. All design parameters were successfully validated, and the performance of Uqaab can be compared to any modern state of the art UAV, according to an army statement. Flight test was preceded by a series of trials in 2007 and is a reflection of Pakistan’s technical prowess in the field of UAV technology.
The Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) has handed over one dozen Predator-type unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), PAC Chairman Air Marshal Khalid Chaudhry said in January 2009. He said Pakistan had acquired the capability to manufacture UAVs and had initiated indigenous production. “We will manufacture more UAVs indigenously, keeping the PAF’s requirements in mind”. [Link]