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 said.
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.
“All these products are internationally recognized for quality, reliability and competitive prices,” the DEPO said. “Both the public and private firms are abreast of the need and meeting the landmarks with full zeal and enthusiasm.”
Retired Lt. Gen. Amjad Shoaib, a defense analyst, said that Pakistan has been producing cost-effective and cutting-edge defense machines and weaponry that is attractive to both developing and developed countries.
“Many countries including Malaysia are showing interest in the purchase of the JF-17 Thunder aircraft because its technology is much better than aircraft produced by the U.S., France and other developed countries in recent times,” he said.
Shoaib suggested that the government focus on defense production and sales to the international market as “this has become one of the most profitable businesses in the world.”
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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