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Pakistan awaits 50 jets made with China: minister

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) May 20, 2011
Pakistan hopes to take delivery within the next six months of 50 JF-17 fighter jets manufactured jointly with China, Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar said Friday during a visit to Beijing.

Mukhtar made the comments on the sidelines of a meeting between Chinese President Hu Jintao and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who was wrapping up a four-day visit to China -- his country's long-time ally.

"We think there is a good deal," said Mukhtar, who put the price of each JF-17, or Thunder, aircraft at $20-25 million "as compared to $80 million for the F16", a US-built jet also used by Pakistan's air force.

Mukhtar did not explicitly say whether the deal had been finalised, but it appeared that the agreement was nearing completion.

Further details of the deal were not made public but the agreement was apparently discussed during the visit by Gilani, who met Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao earlier in the week.

China is Pakistan's main arms supplier and a close ally of Islamabad. Pakistan's air force has a fleet of Chinese aircraft, including F-7PGs and A-5s, but also F-16s and French Mirages.

The neighbours began developing the JF-17 together in 1999 and Pakistan has said it wants 250 of the jets.

In November last year, Islamabad said it would buy Chinese missiles and flight systems for the jets, Chinese state media reported.

Pakistan had initially planned on arming the JF-17 with missiles made by French firm Thales SA, but French officials told AFP last year that the deal had been put on hold without explanation.

pool-sst/jah




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Sweden's Saab denies corruption on SAfrica fighter jet deal
Stockholm (AFP) May 20, 2011
Swedish defence group Saab said Friday an ongoing probe into reports it had secretly paid millions of euros to ensure South Africa did not back out of a deal to buy 26 fighter jets had turned up no evidence of wrongdoing. "Our investigations are continuing, but nothing has emerged so far in the numerous investigations previously carried out by the Public Prosecution Authority to prove that a ... read more

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