The Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) is unlikely to buy the Pakistan-made and Chinese-designed JF-17, a third generation jet fighter, even if Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pushes for it during his sojourn in Colombo between January 4 and 6, a leading Lankan defense expert has told the Indian Express.
Reacting to a report by Anthony Davies in IHS Jane’s 360, dated December 29, saying that Sharif will press for its purchase, the Lankan expert who did not want to be identified said that two factors will prevent Colombo from going in for it: First, there is India’s opposition.
And second, there is the cost factor, with the fighters going at USD 35 million apiece. But the SLAF is eager to replace its aging Kfirs and MIG 27.
Official Indian sources denied any knowledge of Lanka’s intention to purchase the JF-17 from Pakistan or India’s counter offer to provide its Light Combat Aircraft “Tejas’. But the Lankan media has been talking about these for some time, briefed by none other than the Air Force Commander Air Marshal Gagan Bulathsinghala.
The Lankans are probably aware that the “Tejas” has a problem. While the JF-17 is a fully developed aircraft in operation since 2010, Tejas is still undergoing development following the discovery of some flaws by the Indian Air Force.
While Pakistan has to sell the JF-17 to justify the existence of a production facility, and may even offer credit, the Lankan defense expert quoted above wondered if Lanka will be able to afford the aircraft given the fact that it is in the doldrums financially with huge international debts to repay.
Additionally, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe may not approve of the SLAF’s plans to buy fighter jets, given his interest in giving the island nation a Blue Water navy to safeguard its coastline more effectively, and also to play a meaningful role in international maritime security as desired by the US.
Finally, given the current bonhomie between Nawaz Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seen in the unscheduled meeting at Lahore recently, many wonder if Sharif will ruffle India’s feathers now by pushing for the sale of the JF-17.
Karu Friday, 1 January 2016 15:54
Good made....Thanks god no more LTTE, otherwise they may bring it down by caterpult
Reply : 6 19
Nimal Friday, 1 January 2016 15:56
See u in the sea soon
Reply : 6 9
Sameera Friday, 1 January 2016 16:28
Why get afraid of India? Come on guys,
Reply : 3 22
lokka Friday, 1 January 2016 17:43
the best technology ever
Reply : 4 5
Sapu Friday, 1 January 2016 18:27
IndIan media is not trustworthy
Reply : 4 9
dhanuddara Friday, 1 January 2016 18:45
waste of money..country has bigger problems than buying aircrafts via DM Android App
Reply : 4 11
Commis Man Friday, 1 January 2016 19:56
It is possible if they give commise to them
Reply : 1 4
sg Friday, 1 January 2016 20:08
Sri Lanka is a independent sovereign country. We should have a freedom to think our national security. No need to worry outsider threat. if we need to buy some thing for our future defense strength , we should do that. So called out sider did not any thing for the country security in past. we should strongly believed our real friends and their supports.
Reply : 1 23
Justice Saturday, 2 January 2016 15:53
Why should we spend so much on these Fighter planes when our war is over? Spend this colossal sum of money in improving our CTB
Reply : 0 5
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