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Smaller but Capable: How Pakistan Air Force Deters Indian Air Force

Pakistan can only deter India as long as it holds a defensive position but is doomed to loose if it tries an offensive position and tries to penetrate into Indian territory.
No one ask you to blindly follow our establishment, but use your brain what is wrong and what is right and don't believe Imran khan like Chootyas are doing. I know more than you or i should say most of you about the hatred this A$shole (Imran khan) have put into Pakistani youth about Pakistan Army, and believe me you all will pay for it very soon, then regret about it.

Nobody is regretting it Mr. Establishment stands exposed. Threatening and bullying people will only increase hatred not reduce it.
Mirages are being replaced by JF-17s and J-10C's. The two new J-10 squadrons were Mirage squadrons that were re-equipped from memory.

I could be totally wrong but there is only one F-7PG squadron left, no 17 guys, the remaining FT-7PG's are with the CCS as the PAF was using them in a LIFT role as part of the training pipeline to transition from the K8, but this will also be swapped for JF-17B's. However, as i understand it, the no 17 guys will be receiving JF-17 block 3's or have already received them. So in terms of F-7PG's, they will remain in service for a very short time as a training platform until replaced by JF-17B's.

F-16's do have some more life in them and are perfectly capable of dealing with the current threats in the region, i expect the block 52's to receive Ozgur upgrades due to them being new, if the US approves, the rest can be SLEP'd to 12,000 hours AND MORE (a show of western supremacy tbh the F-16 has been tested to 27,000 flight hours!) so if the PAF did decide to extend the lives of the falcons further, it is possible if the US nods, however, they will only realistically stay around until the induction of the TFX which will then allow them to be retired.

hopefully that should cover your questions

PS those mirage numbers are not correct, there are 4-5 squadrons left so like 50-60 aircraft which to be honest still do their job well enough, theyre the B52s of the PAF.
How many JF 17 will PAF have by the end of this decade ?
We need to get minimum 150 4.5 gen fighters , F16s are too old, even after upgrades, I don't think we can extract more juice after 5-8 years due to airframe limitations.

Via Tipu7

In modern warfare, without control over skies, the likelihood of a successful military operation remains far-fetched. In the past, air power was primarily gauged by the numerical strength and ability to employ brute force in combat. But modern air power has become a function of synergizing combat and support assets for exertion of graduated firepower for undermining adversary in psychological and kinetic domains. The efficiency of modern air power is chiefly based upon: network centricity via sensor fusion for comprehensive situation awareness; precise and stand-off strike capability; look first and shoot first advantage; and the efficient employment of electromagnetic prowess.

The air power plays centerline role in Indo-Pak strategic environment. Being a smaller force with limited resources, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has traditionally followed offensive defense posture. The notion behind this posture is to achieve psychological dominance over the adversary in the earliest phase of conflict to accomplish escalation control. At a later stage, to maintain credible A2/AD envelope over own air space to degrade enemy’s air, land and naval offensive operations. This includes efficient employment of available forces, high level of readiness, and progressive improvements in its doctrinal framework with respect to emerging technologies.

PAF is currently structured around a compound fleet of modern and previous generation combat aircrafts augmented by an ample number of force multipliers, i.e. AEW&Cs and EW/ELINT aircrafts. Historically, PAF has emphasized on the policy of procurement of high end assets from foreign sources and supplementing it with indigenous projects to constitute the bulk of forces. For example, F-16 Fighting Falcons, (AM/BM and C/D configuration) continues to manifest force’s amalgam of cutting edge technology and diverse experience. This has been augmented by recent procurement of J-10C Vigorous Dragon from China. J-10C has allowed PAF to employ new high-end Chinese weapons and sensor suite including PL-10 HOBS missile, PL-15 dual pulse BVR missile, Infrared Search and Track (IRST) and Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar.

Meanwhile, the joint production of Jf-17 Thunder program has contemplated advantages of its own. These advantages include: the aversion of the obsoleteness crisis by replacing outdated aircrafts and diffusion of modern capabilities to the entirety of fleet without outstretching the budgetary limitations. Currently, Jf-17 Block-III is the most capable version and has introduced a new set of technologies like AESA radar, and next generation weapon air-to-air missiles, and a host of precise and stand-off air to ground munitions. In parallel, PAF is also keen to retain its advantage in unmanned aerial systems. Beside acquiring home-grown drones of varying capability, PAF is procuring cutting edge Akinci HALE UCAV and combat-proven TB-02 MALE UCAV from Turkey.

The real strength of PAF, however, is represented by its comparatively abundant fleet of air borne early warning control (AEW&C) aircrafts. PAF operates almost dozen AEW&C aircrafts of Chinese (ZDK-03) and Swedish (Erieye) origin. These eyes in the sky provide sustained intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and command & control capabilities. The popularization of AEW&Cs and EW/ELINT platforms, and growing jointness of all assets into a synergized force, has rapidly consolidated PAF into a force which can credibly avert all levels of aggression by the Indian counterparts.

Indian Air Force (IAF), being a numerically superior force with better combat stamina, is postured for a prolonged multi-front and attrition-oriented warfare. This posture, however, now has limited feasibility, particularly after overt nuclearization of India and Pakistan. Unlike PAF, which is entirely structured against India-centric threats, IAF has two major fronts to deal with simultaneously. The likelihood of a two-front war, particularly after the recent Indo-China military crisis, has overstretched IAF resources. As a result, despite being a more resourceful force, IAF remains in consistent state of struggle for overcoming its threat perceptions.

IAF needs minimum 42 combat squadrons to effectively counter two-front war threat. Currently, it has only 32 combat squadrons operational. IAF has recently raised two squadrons of highly capable Rafale-F3R combat aircrafts from France. Weapons like Meteor ramjet BVR missile, Scalp air-launch cruise missile (ALCM), and sensor suite including RBE2-AA AESA radar, OSF optoelectronics system, and Spectra EW suite, have added new sophisticated capabilities in IAF. But the bulk of its fighter fleet is still based on Soviet origin aircrafts - majority of which suffer from serviceability issues and barely meet benchmarks of modern warfare.

IAF ambitious drive for acquiring 114 medium multirole combat aircraft (MMCA-2) is also yet to materialize. Additionally, delays in LCA Tejas program have compelled IAF to retain vintage MiG-21 Bison aircrafts which are obsolete and known for high crash rate. After retiring MiG-21 fleet in 2025, IAF would start phasing out Jaguar strike aircrafts. Frequent delays in development of domestic aircrafts and procurement of foreign fighters have strained IAF modernization efforts. If IAF plans regarding Tejas Mk1A and MMRCA-2 failed to materialize timely, the under strength IAF would be facing obsoleteness crisis in coming years.

In drones, situation is not good either. Although India’s domestic drone programs have achieved some degree of success, but IAF is yet to employ any MALE UCAV. India has recently signed $3 billion deal for 31 MQ-9B drones from United States. But IAF will get only 8 drones which are far from adequate to meet its operational requirements.

IAF has attempted to overcome voids in its air defenses by procuring surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems. Recently, Russian origin S-400 long-range air defense system has received massive appreciation from Indian defense circles. In theory, air defense systems serve as potent air-denial asset. But in practice, these systems have compatibility limitations and are very hard to employ in contested airspace. Plus, these systems can also be overwhelmed by adversary’s sophisticated SEAD-DEAD (Suppression and Destruction of Enemy Air Defense) capability.

The Operation Swift Retort can be contemplated as a litmus test of IAF-PAF comparative capabilities. In contrary to IAF which took weeks of preparatory measures for yet an unsuccessful strike in Balakot outskirts, the PAF mounted riposte within matter of hours. The Indian attempts to repel PAF retaliatory strikes yielded disastrous outcomes. IAF lost a Mig-21 Bison in air to air combat with PAF fighter aircrafts. Amidst fog of war, Indian Spyder SAM system shot down its own Mi-17 helicopter. Through-out the operation, the electromagnetic suppression imposed by PAF’s superior electronic warfare (EW) capabilities curbed the Indian command, control and communication, compelling IAF assets to disengage from combat. In a nutshell, during swift retort, PAF outclassed IAF in physical, electromagnetic and psychological spectrums.

The capability disparity, that IAF has repeatedly struggled to overcome, exists primarily due to three reasons: First, inability of IAF to proactively craft and timely implement the futuristic war fighting concepts; second, the technological deprivation in key aspects specifically in network centricity and electronic warfare; and finally, flawed force modernization approaches. The rapid depletion of combat squadrons, increasing force obsoleteness, inadequacy of force multipliers fleet, and delayed off-the shelf and indigenous procurements are the subsequent byproducts of these vulnerabilities.

In Indo-Pak strategic environment, balance of air power will continue to play an increasingly important role. The balance of air power determines whether deterrence will prevail or conflict will erupt. For sustainment of balance and retaining its credibility as a deterrent, PAF will have to ensure qualitative advantage against IAF.

Superbly written

Okay but how is PAF or Pak military in general is gonna tackle this in future?
Apart from JF17 and a handful of J10s, rest are getting obsolete and replacing then. And couple that with other equipment in entire pakistani military along all 3 dimensions it will be interesting to see how pakistan manages to tackle this issue.
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Drones. Long range ALCMs and CMs.
We are all grown-ups -- let's NOT take these Fairy Tales seriously !
there are other form of weaponry in regards to missiles, cyber warfare and electronic warfare which Pakistan possesses, not just the delivery systems (aircraft’s)
I concur with you, Sir. Yes.
If you just look at PAF, their F-6, F-7, Mirages fleet are being replaced by JF-17s at a rapid rate. That’s a good jump of 2 generations there.

And then you have considerable improvements of JF-17s in the subsequent blocks. That will form bulk of PAF force.
If you just look at PAF, their F-6, F-7, Mirages fleet are being replaced by JF-17s at a rapid rate. That’s a good jump of 2 generations there.

And then you have considerable improvements of JF-17s in the subsequent blocks. That will form bulk of PAF force.
I wouldn't be surprised if there are twin engine variants of the JF-17 in the future. Like there are two seater variants.

China strongly supports Pakistan. So all will be good Insh'Allah.
missiles, cyber warfare and electronic warfare which Pakistan possesses,
These are complementary to the actual weapons being used in a conflict. They can assist but can’t take over the role of primary weapon systems.
I wouldn't be surprised if there are twin engine variants of the JF-17 in the future. Like there are two seater variants.

China strongly supports Pakistan. So all will be good Insh'Allah.
LoL no. Pakistan cannot afford twin engine jets.

The Chinese want $$$ and access to Arabian Sea. Nobody is in for anything else.

Pakistan’s establishment should come out a rentier state mentality. I know the Generals want commercial properties in Pakistan and mansions in Texas. They need to snap out of this sh!tshow.

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