Pakistan Air Force JF-17 Jet Crashes

A Pakistani Air Force (PAF) JF-17 fighter jet crashed earlier today marking the fifth such crash for a PAF aircraft this year.

In five crashes since  January 2020, three pilots have died in two crashes while pilots in three other crashes have ejected safely.

A Pakistan Air Force (PAF) aircraft crashed near Pindigheb, Attock, on Tuesday, the PAF said in a statement adding “the pilot ejected safely. No loss of life or property has been reported on ground.”

The PAF said that a board of inquiry has been ordered to investigate the cause of the crash which is the fifth such incident since the start of this year.

JF-17 Fighter Jet

While the PAF did not identify the aircraft, ejection seat manufacturer, Martin Baker whose seats are installed in the JF-17 said in a Twitter post, “a Pakistan Air Force JF-17 aircraft crashed earlier today during a routine training mission, the pilot ejected successfully.”

“This marks the first JF-17 ejection, an aircraft that’s fitted with Martin-Baker PK16LE ejection seats,” the statement added.

With the pilot ejecting, it is clear indication of irrecoverable technical fault with the JF-17. This should come as bad news to the PAF which is depending upon the JF-17 as its main strike aircraft. A two seat version is under production while the single seat version is transitioning to the Block III standard which includes major upgrades to its radar, engine and avionics.

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Two prototypes of the JF-17 Block III are reportedly under test and the aircraft is expected to enter mass production in 2021-22 timeframe.

In March, a PAF F-16 aircraft crashed near Shakarparian in Islamabad during rehearsals for the March 23 parade. Wing Commander Nauman Akram was killed in the crash. A PAF trainer aircraft crashed on February 12 near Takht Bhai in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Mardan district. It was the third PAF training aircraft to have crashed while on a routine training mission in less than two months.

In the same month, a PAF Mirage had crashed near the Lahore-Multan Motorway. Pilots in both cases had ejected safely. Earlier in January, a PAF aircraft had crashed near Mianwali. Both pilots – Squadron Leader Haris bin Khalid and Flying Officer Ibaadur Rehman – aboard the PAF FT-7 aircraft had lost their lives in the crash.

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