Reports from Myanmar-based Narinjara News suggest that the military junta in Myanmar has expressed dissatisfaction with the JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighter planes supplied by Pakistan, deeming them unfit for operation. Sources reveal that a stern message has been conveyed to Islamabad to address the issues.
Between 2019 and 2021, Pakistan provided several JF-17 Thunder combat aircraft to Myanmar as part of a deal inked in 2016. This agreement involved the joint production of JF-17 planes by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and Chengdu Aircraft Industries Corporation of China. However, shortly after receiving the aircraft, the Burmese Air Force grounded them due to the discovery of malfunctions and structural flaws.
The problems with the JF-17 have exacerbated tensions between Islamabad and Naypyidaw and have even prompted China to intervene. Recent reports suggest that Myanmar’s Chinese envoy conveyed a message from the top leadership of the Chinese Communist Party to Gen Min Aung Hlaing during a visit to Naypyidaw.
Sources indicate that Pakistan is making efforts to renegotiate the deal, possibly involving newer versions of the JF-17, with development assistance from Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and Chengdu Aircraft Industries Corporation of China. However, there is limited information available regarding whether the military junta leadership has accepted this renegotiated deal.
Reliable sources have indicated that the military junta in Myanmar is highly displeased due to the JF-17 aircraft’s lack of functionality, which has significantly impeded its plans to bolster its airpower for conducting targeted strikes against Myanmar’s resistance groups operating under the banner of the People’s Defence Force (PDF), an armed faction of the National Unity Government (NUG).
As news of the JF-17 malfunction crisis surfaced, Pakistan’s attempts to sell similar aircraft to other countries, particularly in Latin America, have encountered obstacles, as reported by Narinjara News.
Subsequently, the military junta has declined to enter into any new negotiations for procuring aircraft from Pakistan, and other nations have also been hesitant to engage with Pakistan in this regard.
It’s worth noting that China itself has not incorporated any JF-17s into its aircraft inventory thus far.