Pakistan has always believed in peaceful co-existence and cooperation with all neighbors for mutual progress and friendship. However, instability of region and Pakistan-specific aggressive designs of our Eastern neighbor are serious concerns for the national security. With current capabilities, Pakistani Armed Forces are fully capable to ensure the defense of country against any aggression. Without embroiling into any arms race, Pakistan Air Force has always believed in its modernization along with maintenance of highest standards of values, leadership and training to meet any challenge.
Contemporary geostrategic environment is in a state of flux due to intervening of geo-politics and geo-economics mainly enabled by transforming global order and growing regional interdependencies. South Asian region, where two nuclear powers have antagonist postures with history of conflicts and confrontation, has been particularly affected by these changes. Recent developments in Afghanistan and Asia Pacific region along with growing Indian military-strategic partnerships with various countries have further accentuated the instability of the region. The emerging regional environment also leverages our adversary an opportunity to further its regional ambitions to become a net security provider and regional power. Under such impression, Indian unilateral desire of arms-race coupled by enormous military spending, especially in non-contact warfare, Ballistic Missile Defence, Hypersonic technology, Artificial Intelligence, Drones and acquisition of modern jets is a recipe for critical security dilemma in the region. Particularly, post Pulwama embarrassment suffered during Operation Swift Retort has hastened Indian military acquisitions including Rafael and S-400 systems.
Pakistan has always believed in peaceful co-existence and cooperation with all neighbours for mutual progress and friendship. However, instability of region and Pakistan-specific aggressive designs of our Eastern neighbour are serious concerns for the national security. With current capabilities, Pakistani Armed Forces are fully capable to ensure the defence of country against any aggression. Without embroiling into any arms race, Pakistan Air Force has always believed in its modernization along with maintenance of highest standards of values, leadership and training to meet any challenge. Pakistan is also fully aware of the need of Air Defense of the country in the backdrop of Indian largescale military acquisitions, especially by Indian Air Force. Despite economic challenges posed by covid-19 pandemic, Govt. of Pakistan believed in primacy of Air Power and decided to equip PAF with cutting edge, modern, state-of-the-art capability in the shape of J-10C aircraft to counterbalance growing asymmetry and ensure air defence of Pakistan.
J-10C is a 4.5+ Generation, ultra-modern, omni-role fighter aircraft enabled with long range first-shot BVR capability which would offset any fighter capability possessed by our adversary. Equipped with latest avionics such as modern AESA Radar, Integrated EW suite, Informationized fused sensor systems as well as capability to carry variety of modern weapons, the aircraft is capable to deny enemy’s advantage in the domains of air, land and sea. Owing to its excellent performance in all fight regimes and altitudes, matchless maneuverability and advance integrated Electronic Warfare Suite; the aircraft can take-on any contemporary aerial and ground threats with a high degree of assurance.
Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Baber Sidhu, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force, after assuming command on 21 March, 2021embarked on the journey of modernizing PAF at fast pace. Visualizing smart acquisitions as a way forward, he immediately sought approval of Former Govt of Pakistan and Prime Minister for the acquisition of a 4.5+ generation fighter aircraft with state-of-the-art avionics and weapons. The J-10C aircraft owing to its exclusive capabilities was selected to act as a front-line fighter for Pakistan Air Force and thus PAF became the first air force to induct this modern fighter in its fleet after PLAAF. Govt. of Pakistan, realizing the emerging geostrategic environment, ensured the availability of this capability through tremendous cooperation of our tested and all-time friend, China. Owing to vigorous engagement by leadership of PAF, a strategic framework was signed on 21 April 2021 which was followed by an immediate visit of PAF team to China. The contract for the acquisition of the J-10C weapon system was signed with Chinese OEM o n25 June 2021 which included provision of the jets and associated weaponry along with initial training of the air and ground crew. Owning to visionary leadership, energetic team, immense cooperation, coordination and collaboration from china, availability of the aircraft was made possible within record time of 08 months which is truly unprecedented. Immense and earnest support of the Chinese Govt played a pivotal role in timely production of aircraft and training of PAF air & ground crew. No doubt that the contract and subsequent delivery of aircraft in March 2022 could not have been achieved without support and patronage of Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, H.E Mr. Imran Khan. The acquisition of J-10C aircraft is a strategic milestone for PAF and will go a long way in enhancing PAF’s capability to ensure impregnable defence of arial frontiers of Pakistan.
March 11, 2022 was a momentous day for Pakistan Air Force as J-10C fighter aircraft was formally inducted in the fleet of Pakistan Air Force. To mark this historic event, a ceremony was held at an operational air base of PAF. Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, His Excellency Mr. Imran Khan was the Chief Guest at the occasion. On his arrival, the Chief Guest was received by Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Baber Sidhu, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force. The chief guest was presented guard of honour by a smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Air Force.
Terming it as a historical occasion the Air Chief said “the advancement in space, electronic warfare, cyber, niche technologies coupled with artificial intelligence had profoundly affected the traditional environment of national security. In order to provide safe and secure environment to a national mission against all threats, the armed forces of Pakistan continue to synergize their efforts by bridging capability gaps through timely induction programs. Considering modern parameters of warfare, induction of J-10C aircraft into Pakistan arsenal was result of one such combined effort which merits profound appreciation.” The Air Chief acknowledged the outstanding support which the PAF received from the Government of Pakistan despite challenges and Covid pandemic. The Air Chief further said that achievement of this important milestone could not have been possible without the kind patronage of Former Prime Minister of Pakistan which enabled PAF to induct this state of the art weapon system in a short span of 08 months.
In his speech the Air Chief also made a special mention of the all-out support of COAS and said that all ranks and pilots of PAF admire his vision and personal involvement to see the manifestation of the J-10C project. He further said that the ceremony was a testimony to the strong partnership between two brothers, Pakistan and China. Our commitment to work together in multiple domains is undoubtedly significant to ensure peace and stability in the region. He commended the dedication and professionalism of the entire team for successful induction of the weapon system in a record time despite several challenges.”Talking of the capabilities of the newly inducted aircraft the Air Chief said “J-10C aircraft is equipped with modern state of the art avionics suite and advance cockpit layout. The capability to carry number of Air to Air and Air to Ground / Sea weapons makes it a formidable fighter jet. Integration of a potent BVR missile further makes it a versatile fighter aircraft in today’s air battle arena. Induction of J-10C aircraft in PAF is a major milestone which would boost operational capabilities of Pakistan Air Force.”
While addressing the audience, the Former Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan congratulated the whole nation and said, “Nearly forty years after the arrival of the F-16s, the induction of these aircraft is a major step. On behalf of the Pakistani nation, I would like to send a message to our Armed Forces that we are proud that our Armed Forces can defend us. We have fought a very difficult war against terrorism. Our Armed Forces and the people fought this war and showed the whole world that this is the country that can protect itself. After today’s event, I have gained more confidence that no one can put any kind of pressure on us. We will do everything possible to strengthen our defence.”
The ceremony was followed by a thrilling aerial display by JF-17s, F-16s, Mirages, J-10C and PAF Academy Aerobatics team “Sherdil”. The ceremony was witnessed by tri-services chiefs, diplomats, foreign dignitaries, ministers, and a large number of high-ranking military & civil Officials. Alhumdulillah, Pakistan Air Force continues to prove equal to the legacy of its forefathers and endeavors to remain Second to None; as envisioned by the Father of the Nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.