On November 27, 2018, Defence Blog reported that the Iranian Air Force is considering the procurement of the joint Pakistan-China fighter jet JF-17.[i] The report noted that importing new fighter jets would allow the Air Force to replace aging jets currently in service. The report referenced several videos released by Pakistani analyst Muzammil Hatami, in which Iranian Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari can be seen at the IDEAS 2018 exhibition in Karachi examining a JF-17 Block II fighter jet as well as a Super Mushshak trainer aircraft. Rear Admiral Sayyari formerly served as the Navy’s commander but now is the Deputy Coordinator of the Iranian Army. Iranian media noted that Rear Admiral Sayyari headed a military delegation to the Pakistani expo.[ii]
According to media reports coming out of the first day of the Paris Air Show, the Chengdu/Pakistan Aeronautical Complex JF-17 Thunder jet fighter has secured its first confirmed export deal. The deal was concluded with an unnamed Asian country. Per client request, the lead sales and marketing official for the JF-17, Pakistan’s Air Commodore Khalid Mahmood, declined to specify the customer and the number of aircraft ordered, divulging only that deliveries will begin in 2017.
This prompts the natural question, Who is the buyer?