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Argentina to buy 12 JF-17 Block III fighters from Pakistan

Argentina has officially allocated $664 million in its next year’s budget for the acquisitions of 12 JF-17 Block-III fighter jets from Pakistan. The 12 fighter jets will include 10 single-seater Block IIIs and 2 dual-seater Block IIIs, it has been reported.

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The Government of Argentina has officially decided to purchase 12 PAC JF-17 Block III fighters from Pakistan, as a draft bill for the next budget has been presented in Argentina’s Parliament.

An Open-Source Intelligence account on Twitter AEROSINT Division PSF reported on Friday that the South American nation will be buying Pakistan’s fighter jets for $664 million while rejecting offers from nations like Russia, the US, and India.

It is worth mentioning that the 12 JF-17s will include 10 single-seater Block IIIs and 2 dual-seater Block IIIs.

The initial news of Argentina looking to purchase Pakistani JF-17 Block-III Jets from Pakistan came in late 2020, but then in May 2021, it was alleged that Britain was hindering the sale of Pakistani fighters to the country.

The reported reason was that Britain has had an arms embargo on Argentina for nearly 40 years now, ever since a 10-week undeclared war between the two sides in 1982, popularly known as the Falklands war.

Britain had already vetoed a sale of 12 South-Korean TA-50 light fighter jets to the country, citing the Falkland war as the reason. The reason Britain was able to do this is that the TA-50s contained British-made components.

After the veto, a delegation from China’s CATIC (China National Aero-technology Import & Export Corp) visited Buenos Aires on May 8th. The corporation manufactures many components of the JF-17 and assembles them in Pakistan. A deal for 12 jets was agreed upon then.

But on Friday, the allocation by the Argentinian parliament for a sum of $664 million was seen as a green signal of the buying of JF-17.’

Commenting on the relations between two nations, the chairman of the Pakistan Senate has said of the relationship that “Pakistan and Argentina have very close cooperation in various fields and unanimity of views on international issues”, UK Defence Journal reported.

What is JF17

The JF-17 Thunder is a single-engine multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation of China.

The builders say that the JF-17 can be used for multiple roles, including interception, ground attack, anti-ship, and aerial reconnaissance.

58% of the JF-17 airframe, including its front fuselage, wings, and vertical stabilizer, is produced in Pakistan, whereas 42% is produced in China, with the final assembly taking place in Pakistan.

The PAC JF-17A Block III is a supersonic, multi-role 4+ generation fighter aircraft, with the ability to perform combat air patrol, air interdiction, beyond visual range integrated battle, long-range maritime strikes, standoff range precision ground strikes, anti-radiation SEAD/DEAD missions, and electronic warfare, Aerosint Division PSF wrote. 

JF-17A (Block III) is a further improved single-seat variant of its predecessor Block II. It has a new engine, a new Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar.

It is paired with an Infrared Search and Track (IRST) system. This fighter also has improved avionics. Due to its new engine, it is faster and can exceed the speeds of Mach 2 (2 469 km/h). Its design was finalized in 2016.

Read More: Britain to hinder sale of JF-17 jets to Argentina

The primary air-to-air weapon on the jet is the PL-15 with a range of over 180 kilometers and a NEZ approaching 100 kilometers. It is armed with a single 23 mm GSh-23 or 30 mm GSh-30 twin-barrel cannon. The maximum weapon payload is about 3.7 t. There are five hardpoints and two wingtips for missiles and fuel tanks.

Other features include 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.

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