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The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is setting its sights on the future, seeking not only to acquire the Chinese FC-31 stealth fighter jet but also to potentially manufacture it locally. Talks with the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, developer of the FC-31, are reportedly underway.

The FC-31 is a mid-sized, twin-engine, fifth-generation fighter designed for advanced air combat. This represents a significant leap forward for the PAF, as the FC-31 boasts stealth capabilities unseen in their current fleet. The eventual retirement of the JF-17 production line by 2030 could pave the way for the FC-31 to take center stage.

Adding another layer to the deal is China’s push for the WS-13 engine. While previously rejected for the JF-17, the WS-13 could find renewed interest as a potential powerplant for both the FC-31 and, potentially, future JF-17 variants. This engine standardization could offer logistical and maintenance benefits for the PAF.

It remains to be seen if a final agreement will be reached on the FC-31 acquisition and local production. The success of the WS-13 engine negotiations will also be a point of interest, potentially impacting the future of the JF-17 program.