Pakistan is again pitching the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) its JF-17 Thunder, the multi-role fighter jet. This is after Sri Lanka turned down the offer from Pakistan in January 2016, ANI News reported.
SLAF did not proceed with the JF-17 offer, due to "technical shortcomings and designs flaws" in the aircraft, the Sunday Leader reported.
Nevertheless, Pakistan is using different means to sell its "technologically inferior" aircraft to SLAF. This includes, a ridiculous offer of 'buy one JF-17 and get one used F-7 free', coupled with sops and kickbacks (allegedly) to officials in the defence and political establishment. Over the past one year, Islamabad has tried to "convince" Colombo to purchase the aircraft.
Apart from the "incessant pressure," and "buy one and get another offer," Pakistan is also offering SLAF post-sales maintenance, training of pilots, and getting into the "kickbacks route," something the Chinese had reportedly done to get big projects like Colombo Port City Project, during the presidency of Mahinda Rajapakse.
It has been alleged that the palms of senior bureaucrats in the Sri Lankan defence ministry, SLAF, and family members of top political leaders, were greased to influence the decision-making process.
Moreover, Pakistan also deployed two entities, one a front company of the Pakistan Air Force with a base and links in Colombo, and a Singapore-based consultancy company, which specialised in dubious arms deals to do the follow-up on the possible sale.
The report also noted that Sri Lanka might not cave in to Pakistan's strong-arm tactics. Previous reports had suggested that Sri Lanka was looking at India's indigenous fighter jet, LCA Tejas, a multi-role single engine fighter aircraft that evoked keen interest with many possible buyers.
There were also reports of India possibly transferring MiG-27 jets, something already in SLAF's inventory.
Previously, reports also suggested the possibility of Kuwait buying the JF-17 jets, but there have been no developments in this regard.
The press in Pakistan reported that Nigeria was also interested, but so far Nigeria has only bought the PAC Super Mushshak, an advanced, upgraded version of Saab MFI-17. Pakistan sold the PAC Super Mushshak to several countries including Iran, Iraq, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Another buyer for the JF-17 is Myanmar, which decided to buy 16 jets in 2015.
Currently, Pakistan has 65 JF-17 fighter aircraft in its inventory. It produced 16 JF-17 Thunder aircraft in 2015 and planned to produce 24 fighter aircraft in 2016. The fighter was born from a colloboration with China.
China produces 42% of the aircraft's airframe and the rest is made by Pakistan.