Iraq to Pay 664 Million USD to Acquire 12 JF-17 Thunder Jets from Pakistan

Iraq to Pay 664 Million USD to Acquire 12 JF-17 Thunder Jets from Pakistan

According to top official sources, negotiations between Pakistan and Iraq have been completed with the visiting Iraqi defence delegation led by Deputy Commander Iraqi Air Force Major General (Pilot) Muhammad Majeed Mahdi Mahmood and top Pakistani officials. Gen. Mehdi is in Pakistan on official business.

According to sources, the Iraqi and Pakistani governments have approved the defence deal. A formal agreement is expected to be signed next month in Islamabad. The Iraqi government has approved a 664 million USD purchase of 12 fighter planes from Pakistan.

Iraq to Pay 664 Million USD to Acquire 12 JF-17 Thunder Jets from Pakistan

Lieutenant General Juma Inad Saadoun, Iraq’s Defence Minister, had previously visited Pakistan in May. He met with Pakistani leaders and officials to discuss Iraq’s purchase of JF-17 Thunder fighter jets from Pakistan.

Iraq would be the fourth country to purchase these fighter jets from Pakistan. Previously, Argentina agreed to purchase 12 fighter jets from Pakistan. Last year, Nigeria purchased three fighter jets from the Pakistan Air Force. This year, the Nigerian Air Force received these fighter jets. Myanmar is the first country in the world to import aircraft.

Pakistan had organised a major defence exhibition in Baghdad in April 2021 in which JF-17 Thunder, Al-Khalid battle tank, Takbir precision munition and Azmat-class missile boat were exhibited in the Iraqi capital Baghdad. This was the first-ever exhibition of Pakistani defence goods in Iraq, one of the main buyers of military hardware after the Gulf nations and Egypt.

The JF-17 Thunder Jet Fighter

The Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and China’s Chengdu Aircraft Corporation collaborated to develop the JF-17 Thunder, a single-engine multi-role combat aircraft.

The JF-17 airframe, including the front fuselage, wings, and vertical stabiliser, is manufactured in Pakistan to 58 per cent. The remaining 42 per cent are manufactured in China and assembled in Pakistan.

JF-17A (Block III) is an improved single-seat variant of the JF-17A (Block II). It has a new engine and an AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar.

The PAC JF-17A Block III is a supersonic, multi-role 4+ generation fighter aircraft capable of combat air patrol, air interdiction, beyond visual range integrated battle, long-range maritime strikes, standoff range precision ground strikes, SEAD/DEAD missions, and electronic warfare.

It is used in conjunction with an Infrared Search and Track (IRST) system. The avionics on this fighter has also been upgraded. Its engine is faster and can exceed Mach 2 (2 469 km/h). In 2016, the design was completed.

The plane’s primary air-to-air weapon is the PL-15, which has a range of more than 180 kilometres and a NEZ of less than 100 kilometres. It is armed with a single twin-barrel cannon, either a 23 mm GSh-23 or a 30 mm GSh-30. The maximum weapon payload is approximately 3.7 tonnes. For missiles and fuel tanks, there are five hard-points and two wingtips.

A large head-up display (HUD) and Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) targeting systems for the PL-10 High Off-Boresight HOBS IR missiles as a secondary air-to-air weapon are also included.

Iraq to Pay 664 Million USD to Acquire 12 JF-17 Thunder Jets from Pakistan

Iraqi F-16s Grounded

Iraq’s F-16s grounded after U.S. contractor Lockheed Martin pulled its maintenance teams for Iraq’s F-16 fighter jets for security reasons. The Iraqi government struggles to end rocket attacks by militias suspected of being backed by Iran. The F-16s were purchased in 2011, following the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from the country. At the time, the multibillion-dollar deal was heralded as opening a new era of U.S.-Iraqi security cooperation and Iraqi security self-sufficiency.