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Pakistan Air Force: Punching Above Its Weight

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Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah on a visit to the flying school of then RPAF located at Risalpur on 13 April 1948 said,

“A country without a strong Air Force is at the mercy of any aggressor. Pakistan must build up her Air Force as quickly as possible. It must be an efficient Air Force, Second To None.”

Pakistan Air Force has always kept its standard high to meet the challenges of aerial warfare, especially in this 21st century. Better engineering technologies, better tactics, and better training have brought new opportunities to take advantage of for the defense of airspace. PAF is not new to the usage of flying simulators for more efficient and cost-effective training of pilots or to the threat of Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missiles (BVRAAM). It perhaps scored the only recent example of such a hit in the world on 27th February 2019, by taking down an Indian SU-30 MKI Air-Superiority fighter aircraft belonging to No. 221 of IAF; from PAF’s American made F-16 Block 20 MLUed with Serial No. 84606 flown in No. 11 Squadron by Squadron Leader Hasan Mahmood Siddiqui.

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PAF has also equipped itself with a jointly produced aircraft, Joint-Fighter (JF) 17 Thunder, and is currently introducing the 3rd iteration of its single-seater version. There are 50 Block I variants (upgraded to Block II standard), 62 Block II variants, and 26 dual seater or Block B variants produced by CAC & PAC. Flight tests for Block III variants are ongoing and 12 of them are expected to be operationalized by PAF’s No. 17 ‘Tigers’ Squadron soon. Some salient features of the latest block include KLJ-7A AESA radar, one additional hardpoint (7+1) under its fuselage, improved MAWs, more composites to improve load capacity, PL-12 and PL-15 AAMs for BVR combat, RD-93 which later will be replaced by RD-93MA, improved EW capability (Pajnad), in-flight refueling (IFR), ASELPOD, better HUD, 3-axis digital fly-by-wire (FBW) control system and a new HMD/S. The light fighter aircraft costs between 18-35 million dollars depending upon the configuration and is expecting sales to multiple developing countries.

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PAF is also inducting Chinese J-10 C multirole aircraft as the threat from its Eastern neighbor is ever increasing. J-10 C houses a more powerful radar, 11 hardpoints, and is a different class from JF 17 being a medium role fighter jet. Pakistan currently flies around 378 fighter aircraft including 18 F-16 Blk 52+, 43 F-16 MLU, 13 F-16 ADA, 134 JF 17 Block II standard, 69 Mirage V, 56 Mirage III, and 45 F-7PG. The addition of JF 17 Block III and J-10C 4++ generation fighter jets will augment the air power of PAF.


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Pakistan Air Force has also invested in net-centric capabilities including building its datalink called Link-17, C4ISR framework, AWACs, EW aircraft, and fuel tankers to boost its strength. Fighter aircraft with their pinpoint accuracy especially using sniper pods have successfully targeted terrorists and dismantled their infrastructure from the ground. As air battles evolve, PAF is continuously evolving itself too to keep up with new tactics, strategies, and equipment.
 

KaiserX

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The F7PGs can be effectively phased out by the end of this year. We are on track to induct 30 JF17B3+ 25 J10C by EOY. Next year we will get 30 JF17B3+ 11 J10C by EOY 2023. In total we are looking at around 86 fighters to be inducted over the next 2 years alone.

Just to give you an idea Russia was able to tilt the balance in Syria by stationing around 36 jets most of which are obsolete from the 70-80s.

A major milestone before entering the 5th generation era if you ask me.
 

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The F7PGs can be effectively phased out by the end of this year. We are on track to induct 30 JF17B3+ 25 J10C by EOY. Next year we will get 30 JF17B3+ 11 J10C by EOY 2023. In total we are looking at around 86 fighters to be inducted over the next 2 years alone.

Just to give you an idea Russia was able to tilt the balance in Syria by stationing around 36 jets most of which are obsolete from the 70-80s.

A major milestone before entering the 5th generation era if you ask me.
I doubt the annual production of Block 3 is 30. We were producing at 16/year. F-7PGs are good point interceptors and will likely fly alongside Mirages into the late 2020s.

We have to keep in mind that we also need quantities. India still flies its Mig-21 Bisons and Jaguars for a reason despite aging and obsolete inventory.

Our inventory at best is fully 4th Generation with upgraded avionics. We need to order more J-10Cs and for the next 4 years, continue producing at least a squadron of JF Block 3 every year.
 

KaiserX

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I doubt the annual production of Block 3 is 30. We were producing at 16/year. F-7PGs are good point interceptors and will likely fly alongside Mirages into the late 2020s.

We have to keep in mind that we also need quantities. India still flies its Mig-21 Bisons and Jaguars for a reason despite aging and obsolete inventory.

Our inventory at best is fully 4th Generation with upgraded avionics. We need to order more J-10Cs and for the next 4 years, continue producing at least a squadron of JF Block 3 every year.

I never said it was 30. Its around 24. KAMRA produced 12 B3s up until december last year within a 6 month time period. Based off that cycle I estimated 36 B3 produced by end of 2022.


Even if 30 are inducted thats more than 50 jets (30 B3+25 J10C) within a year. That to 4.5 generation fighters.
 

Ra'ad

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It makes sense for the thunders to claim the F7PG part of the pie chart as well, while the J10s claim that of the mirages. Paf knows best tho. 😎👍🏻
 

fatman17

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How many J10CP have been delivered after the initial 6?
My assumption is not any.
The other news is that the JF-17 Block 3 has been further delayed due to financial issues and testing issues. Cheers
 

Bouncer

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Someone needs to make a thread on training capabilities of the PAF as well besides these inductions. This is an area I believe (as a complete layman) that PAF outshines its competitor.
 

Progressive1

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Someone needs to make a thread on training capabilities of the PAF as well besides these inductions. This is an area I believe (as a complete layman) that PAF outshines its competitor.
is their a way to objectively validate that (PAF outshines its competitors in training)?
 

Fasbre2

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Guys…
I have a number of PAF/PA books I want to offload…
Modern fighting aircraft F16
Elite forces of India and Pakistan
Fiza’ya- psyche of the PAF

Also…
The story of the Pakistan Air Force 1988-1998
The story of the Pakistan Air Force- saga of courage and honour
A history of the Pakistan army- wars and insurrections

Anyone interested please let me know
 

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