Pakistan is looking at buying L-15 supersonic light combat aircraft from China, Chinese manufacturer Hongdu Aviation Industry Corporation said at the Dubai Air Show 2023 last week.
Hongdu confirmed that formal negotiations are underway with Pakistan for the purchase of the aircraft. This potential acquisition aims to replace the Pakistan Air Force’s aging Chengdu F-7PG jets that are used for operational conversion of fighter pilots.
The Hongdu L-15 is currently marketed in the L-15A advanced trainer variant and the L-15B light combat variant. The latter boasts additional features such as a passive electronically scanned radar (PESA) and electronic systems, such as an RWR sensor located on top of the vertical stabilizer and an IFF sensor located on the nose of the aircraft. The aircraft is also equipped with nine hardpoints for a payload of 3.5 tonnes.
Pakistan is focused on purchasing the L-15B variant which is also capable of performing operational roles as well as the current F-7PG. The PAF F-7PG fleet has been entirely updated over time with the addition of the Grifo-7 Mk2 radar so that it can also be used for aerial surveillance missions.
The air force has conducted detailed examinations of the L-15 aircraft, and is currently undergoing negotiations on technical aspects and pricing. The L-15 aircraft also features an additional head-up display for the front cockpit, and hands-on-throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) flight control.
The L-15 has currently been acquired by China, the United Arab Emirates, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Hongdu is carrying out a massive promotional campaign to export the aircraft abroad.