Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has introduced its advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft, jet Karakoram 8 (K-8) NG, in Dubai Airshow 2021. The multirole jet has been manufactured by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex. The four-day event is being held in Dubai and thousands of visitors from across the globe are attending it to discover the latest aerospace and defence technologies being showcased by over 1,200 exhibitors. The Dubai Airshow is a biennial air show held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in cooperation with Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Dubai Airports, Dubai World Central and the UAE Armed Forces.
The Karakorum-8 or K-8 for short , also known as the Hongdu JL-8 (Nanchang JL-8), is a two-seat intermediate jet trainer and a light attack aircraft designed in the People’s Republic of China by China Nanchang Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation.The JL-8 trainer was proposed as a joint cooperation effort between the governments of Pakistan and the People’s Republic of China in 1986. The name was changed on the suggestion of Pakistan’s then President Zia ul Haq to Karakoram-8 to represent the friendship between the two countries. The export-variant aircraft for Pakistan have been built by the Aircraft Manufacturing Factory (AMF), Pakistan Aeronautical Complex. The latest export variant is the K-8P version, which currently is operated by the PAF.
The K-8 has a multi-role capability for training and, with little modification, can also be used for airfield defense. The aircraft is supposed to be as cost-effective as possible, with a short turn-around time and low maintenance requirements. The JL-8 for the domestic Chinese market and its export variants, K-8E and K-8P, have different powerplants and avionics. It is equipped with an air-to-air missile system and has a capacity of carrying 4.6 tons payload. Wide speed range and high maneuverability ensure satisfactory flying qualities in accordance with the requirements set forth in MIL-F-8785C IV for highly maneuverable aircraft.