LONDON - The JF-17 thunder fighter aircraft, which has been the main attraction of visitors and potential buyers alike at the recently-concluded four-day defence exhibition, IDEAS 20114, has attracted many buyers indulging Nigeria , as the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is close to finalising an order for the purchase of one or two squadrons of the JF-17 Thunder, British defence magazine reported on Friday.
IHS Jane's Defence Weekly quoted Pakistan officials that the NAF finalised its recommendation for the purchase of 25-40 JF-17s after NAF chief Air Marshal Adesola Nunayon Amosu visited Pakistan in October.  Amosu's engagements in Pakistan included a visit to the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) at Kamra, north of Islamabad, where the JF-17 is manufactured.
The fighter aircraft  has been co-produced by Pakistan and China.
The weekly said that so far, the PAC had produced 50 Block 1 JF-17s and began work on another 50 Block 2 variants in late 2013. Pakistan Air Force (PAF) officials told IHS Jane's that a Block 3 variant is being planned.
It quoted the PAF officials as describing the JF-17 Block 3 as a fourth-generation-plus fighter, a term that is used to describe Western aircraft such as Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 60s, the Saab Gripen, Eurofighter Typhoon, and Dassault Rafale, among others.
The weekly said that Western officials had previously said that a first successful export of the JF-17 holds the key for the programme's long-term sustainment. Potential export customers mentioned as likely candidates for the JF-17 have included Egypt, Nigeria , Myanmar and Venezuela.