The Myanmar Air Force (Tatmadaw Lay) has inaugurated a total of seven new aircrafts and helicopters into the force to mark the 71st anniversary of the founding of the Air Force, according to a release of the Office of the Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Services Sunday. Attended by Defense Services Commander-in-Chief Sen-Gen Min Aung Hlaing and Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force General Maung Maung Kyaw, the commemorative ceremony was held at the fight training base in Meiktila Sunday. The new aircrafts and helicopters conducted a demonstration fly-by and aerobatic display, which was followed by the inspection of the inaugurated aircrafts by Min Aung Hlaing with the release of 70 birds as merit making according to traditional practices.
The Myanmar Air Force has received the first of up to 16 Pakistan Aeronautical Complex/Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (PAC/CAC) JF-17 Thunder combat aircraft it ordered in 2015. At least four aircraft were shown on static display in a video posted online of an official airshow celebrating the TL’s 71st anniversary. In July 2015, Myanmar became the first export customer of the JF-17 Thunder with an order for 16 Block II variants. The JF-17 fighter aircraft will replace Myanmar Air Force aged fleet of 16 Nanchang A-5IIK ground attack aircraft and 24 Chengdu F-7M fighter jets received from China in the 1990s.
The PAC/CAC JF-17 Thunder is a light-weight, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by the Pakistan Air Force, the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and the Chengdu Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAC) of China. The JF-17 is powered by a single Russian RD-93 turbofan engine, which is a variant of the RD-33 engine used on the Mig-29 fighter. The JF-17 can carry a weapon payload of 3,600 kg under its seven wing and fuselage pylons. The JF-17, a subvariant configured by PAC for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), was brought into service in 2010. PAF currently operates more than 80 JF-17s. In 2016, PAC and AVIC secured export order from Nigeria for three aircraft. The fighter was also pitched for export to Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka and Qatar.