The maiden flight of the JF-17B dual seat combat fighter aircraft to be fitted with the digital cockpit upgrade developed by AVIC CAC has taken place, it was announced on 24 April.
Developed jointly by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and the CAC, the aircraft can be used for aerial reconnaissance, ground attack and aircraft interception.
The JF-17B was primarily developed to meet the needs of prospective export users, which called for the type for in-flight evaluation and conversion training.
The JF-17B retains full combat capability, and as much of the existing airframe is being kept as possible. The design features a humped dorsal spine to restore the fuel capacity displaced by the second seat, in turn requiring a dorsal fin to restore keel area.
Currently, the aircraft is integrated with three Chinese weapons–the PL-5 and SD-10 air-to-air missiles and the C-802AK long-range anti-ship missile. Other ordnance used by the aircraft is produced in Pakistan by the Air Weapons Complex.
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