In a 15 December ceremony held at Meiktila Air Base to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the MAF’s founding, the Myanmar military’s (Tatmadaw’s) commander-in-chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, presided over the commissioning of two JF-17 ‘Thunder’ multirole fighters.
The Chengdu/Pakistan Aeronautical Complex JF-17 Thunder has appeared at a celebration to mark the 72nd anniversary of Myanmar’s air force.
Despite persistent rumors about a Myanmar sale for the single-engined type, and the appearance of a JF-17 in the Myanmar camouflage scheme last year, officials from Pakistan and China have not officially announced the deal.
Since the advent of a “disciplined democracy” in Myanmar in 2011, China has sold it two Jianghu-2 class frigates, 76 Type-92 armoured vehicles, 12 CASC CH-4 unmanned aerial vehicles and up to 16 CAC/PAC JF-17 fighters, at an estimated cost of almost US$1 billion. Most of these arms have already been delivered. The first four JF-17s were commissioned by the Myanmar Air Force in December 2018.
The JF-17 was jointly developed with Pakistan, which has joined in criticism of Myanmar over its treatment of the Muslim Rohingyas. However, this does not appear to have affected the current contract. Two two-seater JF-17B training variants were delivered to Myanmar this year in March.
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