The PAC JF-17 Thunder (Urdu: تھنڈر), also known in China as the Chengdu FC-1 Fierce Dragon (Chinese: pinyin: Xiāo Lóng), is a light-weight multi-role combat aircraft jointly developed by the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation of China and the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex of Pakistan. The “JF” and “FC” designations stand for “Joint Fighter” (Pakistan) and “Fighter China” (China) respectively.
Originally designed to be a small and capable light-weight fighter powered by a single engine to reduce costs, the JF-17 was supposed to be a simple and inexpensive solution for replacing large fleets of obsolete types in the air forces of developing countries. The JF-17 evolved into a more advanced fighter during the later stages of development with revised terms of reference by the Pakistan Air Force and the incorporation of more modern features and technologie
The maiden test flight of the first prototype took place during 2003 in China, later test flights of a more advanced version taking place in 2006. The first two pre-production aircraft were delivered to the Pakistan Air Force on 12 March 2007 for further flight testing and evaluation, also taking part in the aircraft’s first aerial display 11 days later in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Serial production of the JF-17 began at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra, on 30 June 2009. The first batch of production aircraft is expected to roll out in October 2009.
The Pakistan Air Force plans to make the first JF-17 squadron officially operational by 31 December 2009.