The crash of the F-7PG aircraft occurred during a routine operational training mission on Jan. 23, according to The Daily Times, a Pakistani newspaper.
Pakistan is the largest importer of F-7PG aircraft from China.
This isn’t the first time this model of fighter jet has encountered mishaps. In the past 17 years, at least 13 F-7PG have crashed or had unexpected accidents, according to Fighter Jets World, a military news website.
The PAF said in a statement that it already has ordered a board of inquiry to investigate the incident.
Mastung Deputy Commissioner Mumtaz Khetran told The Daily Times that a parachute was found at the site of the crash.
The manufacturer of F-7PG is Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corp., a subsidiary of China’s state-owned aerospace company AVIC. It has produced a large number of J-7 fighters (J-7), which are modeled after the MiG-21 made by the former Soviet Union. The J-7 model was officially commissioned in the 1960s.
There are several derivative versions of J-7 fighters, among them the F-7PG is often exported to Pakistan.
The F-7PG began its service in Pakistan in 2002, according to Dawn, an English-language Pakistani newspaper.
In June last year, an F-7PG crashed while landing at Pakistan’s Peshawar Air Base, killing two pilots, according to a Dawn report.
There are more than 50 F-7PG fighters in Pakistan Air Force, according to The Daily Times.
Pakistan has increasingly turned to China to supply military equipment. A July 2018 research paper by the consultant firm Avascent found that Pakistan signed billions of dollars worth of contracts for fighter aircraft, submarines, and warships from China.
Meanwhile, purchases from the United States have fallen. According to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, U.S. weapons exports to Pakistan has plummeted to $21 million in 2017 from $1 billion in 2010.
One of the latest military contracts with China, according to the state-run China Daily, is the purchase of four “most advanced” Type 054A/Jiangkai II-class naval warships. These warships are currently under construction by Shanghai’s Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Corp., and will be delivered by 2021.
These warships, each costing approximately $348 million, are equipped with advanced radars and missiles, and are capable of anti-ship, anti-submarine, and air defense operations, according to the report.