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JF-17 Growing Prominence, Iraq to Get 12 Fighter Jets from Pakistan

Reported By: Fatima Javed

Baghdad, May 14, 2024, The Europe Today: Iraq will become the fourth country joining Nigeria, Myanmar, and Azerbaijan to receive JF-17 Thunder Block III from Pakistan- a multi-role combat aircraft jointly developed by Pakistan and China.

These aircraft are currently undergoing technical evaluations to ensure compatibility with Iraqi requirements. The $1.8 billion deal was reached during discussions between Pakistan’s Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Babar and his Iraqi counterpart at the Ministry of Defense in Baghdad.

The agreement aims at enhancing defense cooperation, involves Pakistan’s provision of twelve MFI-Mushaq trainer aircraft and twelve JF-Thunder Block III fighter jets to the Iraqi Air Force. This deal solidifies defense ties between the two nations and highlights Pakistan’s growing stature in the global defense market.

This marks the second instance of Pakistan supplying Mushaq Trainer aircraft to Iraq. Following the successful induction of twelve Mushaq aircraft into the Iraqi forces in 2023, the Iraqi Defense Ministry expressed interest in acquiring more from the PAF.

During discussions in Baghdad, Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Babar provided Iraqi defense officials with detailed insights into the technical specifications and performance capabilities of the JF-Thunder aircraft. Iraqi officials are expected to visit Pakistan soon to personally inspect the manufacturing processes of these aircraft at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) in Kamra.

In recent decades Pakistan’s defense industry has emerged as a notable exporter of military equipment. Its offerings encompass a diverse range of products, including small arms and ammunition, armored vehicles like the Al-Khalid tank and the JF-17 Thunder fighter jet co-developed with China.

The JF-17 Thunder’s affordability, versatility, and successful exports contribute to its growing prominence in the international defense arena. In 2023, Pakistani JF-17 Block III made its international debut in Dubai Air Show as they epitomises the pinnacle of modern aerial warfare technology.