ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) would brief Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the proposed measures for enhancing defence production exports, during his scheduled visit to a key PAF facility today (Wednesday).

The PM would be visiting Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra to receive the relevant briefings on the contemplated exports of the PAF aircraft, especially the JF-17 Thunder, sources in PAF informed The Nation on Tuesday.

The PAF top command led by Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt would reportedly give the relevant briefings on the contemplated measures to export the JF-17 Thunder to some countries, the officials said.

Presently, 49 JF-17 Thunder aircraft are part of the PAF operational fleet of fighter jets.

The report on progress made in the contemplated exports in the context of the last month's Dubai Air Show would reportedly be given to the premier. Two kinds of PAF aircraft, JF-17 Thunder and Super Mushshak, were showcased for static and aerial display in Dubai Air Show. In November last year, JF-17 Thunder was showcased in China Air Show.

The PAF sources said, Air Vice Marshal Sohail Gul Khan, Chairman PAC Kamra, AVM Javaid Ahmed, Chief Project Director JF-17 Thunder, and Air Commodore Khalid Mehmood Project Director JF-17 would give the technical briefings to the PM. AVM Asad Lodhi, Director General Defence Purchase, AVM Arshad Malik, Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Northern Command, Air Commodore Sohail Ahmed, Joint Secretary II Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) and newly promoted AVM Nudrat Kazmi, who has reportedly remained closely involved with the JF-17 Thunder project,  would also give the related briefings, the officials added.

The PM would also chair a related ceremony on the induction of fresh fleet of JF-17 Thunder in the PAF.

The PAF command, the officials said, is seeking technical input on the JF-17 Thunder project from Air Marshal Farhat Hussain Khan, who has proceeded on LPR (leave preparatory to retirement) owing to his scheduled retirement.

In addition, the incumbent Federal Government is said to have given a 'positive' response to the PAF proposed initiative to export JF-17 Thunder to some prospective buyer states, which, the PAF sources claim, have taken 'keen interest' in purchasing the aircraft from the Pakistani armed force. Of these states, the officials said, intense deliberations are under way with Turkey, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

"There are a few other states, mostly less developing ones, with which the negotiations are at a preliminary stage," the insiders informed, adding that the PAF, if continuously supported by the government in terms of resisting the international pressure, would be able to export the JF-17 Thunder in the coming years.

"There has been enormous international pressure coming from some developed states that oppose exporting JF-17 Thunder project. It's up to the government to withstand these kinds of pressures and the PAF will be able to launch the aircraft exports in the coming times, a couple of years at least," a senior PAF official stated.

Jointly manufactured by Aviation Industry Corp of China and the PAC Kamra, JF-17 Thunder is originally a Chinese product, with the related technology shifted to Pakistan in the recent years.  Regarded as a third-generation multipurpose combat jet, the JF-17 Thunder, in technical terms, is known as FC-1 Fierce Dragon. The PAF says, it is the only armed force across the globe to have developed its own fighter jet aircraft. It says, the JF-17 can carry a variety of missiles and bombs, including air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles. It merits recalling here that PM Nawaz Sharif along with a delegation of PAC Kamra had visited Turkish Aerospace Industries in September this year to witness demonstration of T-129 Advance Attack and Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter. The contemplated export of JF-17 Thunder was also discussed then, the PAF sources said.