Islamabad: Pakistan has successfully gained a contract for the sale of JF-17 thunder aircraft to Nigeria while talks are under way with several other countries to promote indigenously produced aircraft.

Pakistani government’s Economic Coordination Committee has approved sovereign guarantee certificate over the sale of three JF-17 jets to Nigerian Air force for a sum of $184.3 million.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence Production informed the economic decision-making committee that Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra has signed a contract for the sale of three JF-17 aircraft and associated package to Nigerian Air Force.

Nigeria is Pakistan’s second international customer for its domestically assembled JF-17 thunder multi-role fighter jet after Myanmar. The Pakistani aircraft is a cost-effective and competitive alternative than the western fighter aircraft available in the market.

According to officials, Pakistan is also holding talks with at least three other countries including Malaysia, Azerbaijan and a Gulf nation for the sale of JF-17 batch II, which is more sophisticated and advanced than batch I.

In 2010, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) equipped its first squadron with JF-17 multi-role fighter, developed jointly with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). In recent years, PAC has successfully inducted more than 100 JF-17 Block-I and Block-II and anticipating for the more advanced Block III which includes major upgrade in electronic subsystems.

The recent sale of Pakistani multirole fighter indicates potential and capabilities of Pakistan’s aircraft and defence industry. According defence expert, Sultan M Hali, “Pakistan’s defence industry has launched cutting-edge indigenisation programmes together with strengthening the local industry and harnessing the demands of foreign aviation industry by promoting joint research and production ventures.”