The Iraqi Air Force has stated that it has no plans to engage with Pakistan in the acquisition of JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft. Information from sources within the Iraqi Air Force confirms the absence of ongoing negotiations, discussions, or agreements regarding such procurement.
The sources have clarified that the idea of Iraq purchasing JF-17 Thunder fighter jets from Pakistan is an outdated narrative that originated during the tenure of the previous Minister of Defense, Juma Inad, whose term concluded on October 27, 2022.
An anonymous source from the Iraqi Air Force stated, “Iraq’s Minister of Defense, Thabit Al Abbasi, did not and will not engage Pakistan for the purchase of the JF-17.”
Earlier reports from Pakistani sources had alleged that the Iraqi government had allocated a budget of $664 million for acquiring 12 JF-17 Thunder Block III fighter jets from Pakistan. It was further reported that Iraq had entered into a contract with a Pakistani company to procure an unspecified number of aircraft, believed to be the JF-17 Block III, after lengthy negotiations spanning over two years.
The JF-17 Thunder is a fighter aircraft jointly manufactured by Pakistan and China. While Pakistan has successfully exported the JF-17 to Nigeria, it is also exploring potential exports of the Block III version of the aircraft to countries such as Malaysia, Azerbaijan, and Myanmar.
However, the Iraqi Air Force categorically denies any involvement in the procurement of JF-17 Thunder fighter jets from Pakistan. The statements from Iraqi sources serve as a clarification and contradict the earlier reports from Pakistan that had suggested otherwise.