ISLAMABAD (GDC) – The Iraqi government is planning to acquire 12 JF-17A Block III fighters from Pakistan and has reportedly set aside more than $600 million in funding for the purchase of the said aircraft, local media reported Saturday.
According to the Pakistani media The Nation, high-level military sources have reportedly passed on the information that several rounds of negotiations took place between Pakistan and Iraq this year, and that these concluded with the recent visit of the Iraqi defense delegation, headed by the Deputy Commander of the Iraqi Air Force, Major General (Pilot) Muhammad Majeed Mahmood and other officials.
Iraqi Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Juma Inad Saadoun earlier visited Pakistan in May, during which he held meetings with Pakistani leaders and officials and discussed Iraq’s interest in purchasing the JF-17 Thunder fighter jets.
Currently the JF-17 Thunder Block III is in production at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) for the Pakistani Air Force, and it is expected that, after the signing of the contract, production of the Iraqi aircraft will commence. Argentina is also expected to make a decision on its next supersonic fighter. In the fiscal year 2022 budget proposal presented to the Argentine congress, hopes are high that the JF-17 Thunder will also wear the Argentine Air Force (FAA) badge in the future.
Meanwhile, the Arabian country is not the first to show an interest in Pakistani fighter jets as Argentina and Malaysia plan to buy JF-17 Block III fighters from Pakistan however the Argentine ministry of defense issued a statement later which said “The Argentine Air Force had not selected a preferred fighter yet”.
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