A JF-17 light fighter crashed yesterday making it the fifth aircraft crash for the Pakistan Air Force in 2020.
Official sources revealed the pilot ejected safely and that there were no loss of life or property reported on the ground.
A board of inquiry has been set up to investigate the cause of the crash which occurred during a routine training mission in the skies above Attok.
This marks the first time the JF-17 pilot used the ejection seat to exit the aircraft. The Pakistani fighters are fitted with the Martin-Baker PK16LE ejection seats.
Experts believe the fact that the pilot elected to use the ejection seat indicates there were irrecoverable technical faults with the JF-17 fighter aircraft.
The JF-17 forms the current backbone of the Pakistan Air Force’s fighter plane inventory. A twin seat variant is in production while an enhanced Block III variant is undergoing development. The JF-17 Block III is likely to enter mass production in 2021-22.
Earlier in March this year a Pakistan Air Force F-16 fighter aircraft crashed during rehearsals for the 23 March national parade. The pilot of the aircraft was killed in that incident.
On 12 February a PAF trainer crashed near Takht Bhai in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Mardan district.
During the same month a PAF Mirage fighter crashed near the Lahore-Multan Motorway. In both cases the pilots managed to eject safely.
In January a Pakistan Air Force FT-7 twin seat fighter aircraft crashed near Mianwali killing both pilots.
The Nigerian Air Force is set to receive the Pakistani assembled JF-17 fighter aircraft shortly this year. The Sino-Pakistani fighter has also been exported to Myanmar.
The cheaper JF-17 is an attractive proposition for air force’s with limit budgets.