WASHINGTON, D.C.—The impact of the JF-17 Thunder deployment can be heard far beyond Islamabad and Peshawar. Pakistan has now joined the ranks of the very few countries of the world that can design, produce and manufacture airplanes. This positions Pakistan on new geostrategic map. Within a few years Pakistani exports of the new fighter aircraft will exponentially grow into huge volumes. The revenue from the export of JF-17 Thunder will be ploughed back into research and development and the purchase of the best technology money can buy.
After the 1965 war the U.S. placed an arms embargo on Pakistan. Despite being a founding member of SEATO and CENTO, Islamabad faced the American sanctions. During the 1971 war Pakistan was under another American arms embargo. During the 1990s, after winning the cold war for the USA, Pakistan was under U.S. sanctions and an arms embargo.
All this is history.
Today Pakistan is capable of producing as many planes as it needs–subject to production capacity constrains which can be ramped up if and when needed. The exports to many third world countries will expedite and enhance the production capacity of the Pakistan Air Force.
Now the Sri Lankans can have as many planes they want to fight the Indian sponsored Tamil terrorists. And the Middle Eastern Air Forces can begin flying the JF-17 Thunders without begging the U.S. And the small countries of Africa can own their own JF-17 Thunders without selling their souls to the Europeans.
Pakistan has not only designed and jointly built the JF-17 Thunder, it now has deployed its first squadron in Peshawar–all in record time, one of the shortest time lines in the history of aviation. This is a major milestone for the Pakistan Air Force and brings it one step closer to becoming a major producer and exporter of planes around the world. About 17 countries are interested in the JF-17 Thunder which was a major attraction at the Pakistani IDEAS 2009 defense show this year. The success of the indigenous JF-17 deployment is a success story in many aviation failures around the globe. The American F-111, the Israeli Lavi and the Indian Tejas are notable examples of abject failures. The most recent victims of failure is the American F-22 Raptor which was recently canceled by the U.S. Department of Defense.
This success story of developing and manufacturing advanced weapons in Pakistan is not limited to the JF-17 Thunder. The Nuclear bomb, the missiles and the tanks were all produced in record time, considering that Pakistan had only one dysfunctional Textile Mill, one dilapidated University, and one archaic Jute Mill in 1947. No other country has come so far in defense production in such a short period of time.
It took the Japanese from the Meiji revolution of 1893 to 1940 to produce the deadly aircrafts that devastated Pearl Harbor. The first American missiles and the entire Apollo program was built on Von Braun’s German technology. The Russian program was similarly also based on the German programs. In fact the first V2-rockets in the Museums in Washington are simply German rocket painted red 9for Russia) and other colors for America.
The acidity of the comments from across the Radcliffe Line is palpable. The Indian press is noticeable only by its asphyxiated constipation. The silence is deafening.
Pakistan rebounding from volatile events faced issues with many of its “allies” who were also the suppliers. The USA did not want to sell any arms to Pakistan. The UK and Russia did the same. Pakistan evaluated her dangerous geo political situation as well as a belligerent international atmosphere and made some strategic decisions. The sons and daughters of Pakistan pledged “Never again” and developed a comprehensive strategy to be self-sufficient in her defense needs. It created a Nuclear deterrent, indigenous Al Khalid Tanks and a missile program that is the envy of South Asia. Neither the mercenaries sent from the across the border, not the blackmail can now harm the fabric of the country.
The Pakistan Airforce knew its needs, and prioritized its requirements. Both Pakistan and China had been jilted and were looking for plane to build. The new plane has exclusively been designed for Pakistani needs–deep penetration into India. The JF-17/FC-1 is designed to be a cost-effective plane which can meet the tactical and strategic needs of the Pakistani Air Force.The project was originally expected to cost about U.S. $ 500 million, divided equally between Pakistan and China. Each plane will cost Pakistan about US$ 15-20 million. The JF-17 Thunder initial development project was completed in a record period of four years. However, later improvements to the project has taken up more time.
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