Pakistan on Monday rolled out its first indigenously assembled version of the JF-17 combat jet developed jointly with China as Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said the air force would be equipped with the latest technology to tackle militancy.
The JF-17 Thunder jet was rolled out at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in Kamra, the country's main facility for building and maintaining combat aircraft. According to sources, the Pakistani air force plans to make the first JF-17 squadron officially operational between 2010-12.
The jet, which was completed after being in development for almost a decade, is a lightweight, all weather, day-night multi-role fighter.
"We are living in challenging times. The fast changing technology-intensive battle arena requires intense involvement of airpower which has emerged as a major player in conflict scenarios," Gilani said in his address.
"The role of the air force also becomes vital in tackling the threat posed by the forces of extremism and militancy.
Under these circumstances, a modern air force is a national requirement, and for this reason, I firmly believe in a strong and well-equipped Pakistan Air Force," he said.