Sartaj Aziz, foreign affairs advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, told media outlets that if the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is unable to acquire F-16s on Foreign Military Financing (FMF), it “will opt for jets from some other place.” The Financial Times was able to learn from a senior government official that the PAF could potentially choose the Sukhoi Su-35, Chengdu J-10 or J-20 in place of the F-16s.
Comment & Analysis
There are a few things at play. First, it is important to recognize that the F-16s are a foreign policy tool for Washington in its efforts to maintain influence within Pakistan’s policymaking circles, particularly within the country’s security establishment. Remember, it was the White House and State Department that had initially offered FMF to support the PAF’s request for eight new-built F-16C/D Block-52+.
Hoping to build upon the eight recently approved by the U.S., the PAF was interested in acquiring another 10 – basically amounting to the 18 optional Vipers it had originally intended to acquire when it first inked the F-16C/D deal. However, FMF – a U.S. foreign policy instrument designed to help allies acquire military equipment pertinent to American overseas security interests – was to play a part in the PAF’s F-16 drive.
Congress put a block on FMF, and the PAF’s efforts to acquire new-built F-16s have hit an impasse. Hoping to apparently get the process moving again, Sartaj Aziz, a key policy advisor to the prime minister, decided to tell the media that the PAF would pursue other options if it cannot get FMF support for the F-16s.
The PAF’s short and medium-term modernization roadmap was built upon inducting the 150 JF-17 and additional numbers of new-built F-16. If new-built F-16s cannot be had, then it stands to reason that the PAF will persist with the JF-17. The part that is unclear is whether the PAF will seek to supplement the JF-17 with another fighter-type (such as the Su-35), or if it will expand its efforts behind the JF-17.
If the Financial Times’ has gotten accurate information, then it appears that Pakistan could be gearing up for another fighter type in lieu of the F-16. While an exciting thought at first, it is not well-advised, and is unlikely to happen.
Inducting a new fighter type is never an easy task, and doing so will not only result in heavy direct expenditure, but it could also risk diverting precious resources away from the JF-17. The forthcoming JF-17 Block-III will be a comparatively more expensive system than the current Block-II. This was part of the reason why the PAF had originally hoped to acquire F-16s on FMF. It already operates the Block-52+, so inducting additional F-16s would not be strenuous. The FMF scheme would help subsidize the cost.
If F-16s are not on the horizon, then it is more likely the PAF will persist with the JF-17 as-is. We believe that the JF-17 program should be expanded upon: The best possible radar, air-to-air munitions, and electronic warfare (EW) as well as electronic countermeasure (ECM) suites for a lightweight fighter ought to be pursued. Not only that, but the idea of adding another 100 jets (i.e. bringing the PAF JF-17 fleet to 250) ought to be set in stone as well. Beyond that, the PAF should (and likely will) take meaningful steps towards its next-generation fighter requirement. If – after all that – there is money, then maybe the PAF could consider importing another fighter type.
I think there is a general confusion in minds of Pakistanis when it comes to seeing thru the options. Some people are advocating sufficient number of JF-17s to be sufficient for ALL threat types, while others tend to mix ideas.
For airforces, this does not work like this and neither should it, especially when you are up against a larger air force helped by multiple foreign suppliers. Pakistan needs to understand that JF-17 is a different class of fighter and it does not replace the category and class requirements of medium to heavy weight fighters in PAF, not until you convert it into a larger jet, essentially a new plane then.
The idea that JF-17 block 3 will replace the need for SU-35 type or say EF2000 will not work. In warfare you need to be able to defend your airspace as well as be able to penetrate deep into enemy territory with or without stand off weapons. That capability in itself is part and parcel of airforce startegy. JF-17 as it stands now is NOT a deep penetration fighter. It will do for defending Pakistani air space, provide better technical capabilities over block 52s in block 3, be truly multi and swing role, carry out maritime ops, precision ops, penetrate to some extent into enemy air space but will NOT offer true penetration capability by replacing need for heavy weight fighters in PAF.
Which is why PAF needs to pursue both tracks separately but simultaneously. For the light to medium category, you need JF-17 block 2/3 in numbers around 300. For heavy weight category, at present you are depending on F-16s to act as deep penetration fighters (hoping that works out for PAF in time of need). From the looks of it, no more F-16s are coming and there will be parts and munitions problems in future, essentially relieving F-16s of its teeth.
PAF definitely needs to bring in a new heavy weight fighter. The need is felt for last 5-7 years and F-16s problems will multiply it.
Keep your F-16s in current numbers. Try and secure munitions and parts for the fleet time. Keep working on JF-17 block 3, block 4, and on. And on top of all this, add SU-35 in numbers around 36. Pakistan will also need HQ9 deployed at some point.
F-16s were always destined to see this fate. The only problem is PAF and Pakistanis somewhere somewhat forgot that.
I agree, but our economic condition requires us to prioritize. We can all agree that getting the JF-17 Block-III (IV/V) to its best possible state (i.e. not compromising on sub-sensor quality) and to sufficient numbers (100-150 atop of the 100 Block-I/II) should come first.
Beyond that, the F-16s can continue playing a key role in supporting our air defence stature, and if we can afford it (after all else), a few Su-35 wouldn’t be a bad idea for carrying heavyweight stand-off munitions and/or providing top-cover to JF-17s.
Of course, bring in a sincere and competent leadership at all levels, then we’d have a really good shot at bringing our economic up to its potential.
What about J20? Do you think China can sell these planes to Pak? Where J20 stands in comparison of SU35 or F/18?
I think we should pursue some stealth fighter program as well like JF-17. May be FC31!
I’m not sure about J-20. China has the J-31 program around for export for a reason, and I think the PAF will end up investing in it eventually.
China never denied selling J 20 on the Government level to Pakistan . There is still an hope the point when and at what point Pakistan wants to induct fifth generation combat jets
Well technically or politically there’s nothing stopping J-20 to be sold to Pakistan. It’s a purely chinese initiative. So if PAF assessed both J-31 and J-20 and actually pushed for J-20, China will be brotherly enough to help Pakistan, though i personally believe PAF might want to customize the J-31 with either some of the J-20 tech or western systems and eventually go for it. The problem however is J-20 is on a fast track while J-31 will take another 5 years or more to get inductable. PAF will weigh its options now.
Consider this statement only as a warning to US for now. Either the F-16s supply will reopen or PAF will go for non-American supplier.
I would beg to differ. Every country has a level of technological threshold for sharing and the J 20 will not be on it, even with the Strategic partnership and all. There’s a 50/50 chance a deal might be reached for the F 16s which is a further compromise or not. This is a wake up call for Pakistan that the rules of business have changed, and the rest is simply rhetoric. Alternatively, it’ll be a clear indicator that the US pivot has gone one way and they’ll have to handle the consequences of its success or failure without a fall back option.
As far as other platforms are concerned, the critical issue would be commonality and the cost of logistics not system performance. Knowing this we’ll probably want to go with someone who’ll help out with the maintenance and upkeep in addition to the integration of said abilities into our infrastrcuture. I’d warrant that in this situation, the PAF might look at the J20C much more closely the way its has the Z10. Simply because integration will be easier and cheaper to come by. The challenges of a still unproven system withstanding.
Do you mean J-10C because otherwise it’s a conflicting thought in your both paragraphs.
At least I have not seen China ever turning down a defence item request from Pakistan on basis of political or technical thresholds of sharing, not to mention the strategic deals already in place without fuss. If you have, help me out, i’d be happy to be corrected. They’re targeting a number of countries all the time with export versions, but i always see China Pakistan relationship a bit more than that.
Pakistani military has a deep rooted mindset of almost obsessed with western systems. At any point they get a western offer, they prefer it over Chinese one.
Sorry made the edit just now but yes the J 10B upgraded for Pakistan use. The military can want what it wants, its economic and political leverage is very different from what they were.
Its in the broader interest of Pakistan to negotiate a deal with China for J-20 keep the money PAF wanted to spend on SU 35s . A sudden induction of 24 J-20 will for sure offset the Indian Rafale and air superiority PAF will get over IAF and in the long run until 2030 PAF would have enough experience of operating double twin jets long with procurement and logistics support . J 20 will become already an asset in Future . I have a question is it true @jigsaww during Military exercises with Chinese Airforce & other friendly air forces PAF pilots get enough experience flying F15 , F 18 ,Flankers ,Euro fighter and Sukhoi’s . If its true our pilot are ready to meet the incoming challenges . Support to establish technical support and engineering
Yes they do to some extent.
PAF in general sets its standards to that of NATO and USAF. Cutting edge technology is the obvious problem, training and skill is not.
They’re much better trained than hindustanis and enjoy far better pilot to jet ratio.
paki r best trained pilot despite being semi literate,religious infested & be born from 1st,2nd cousin parents
I like to bust your lies. That satisfies my ego.
Here is a report from 2015, as reported itself by hindustani gov. Any rebuttal to this equates to calling hindustani gov a liar. So please go on and deny it. I don’t expect anything else from you except calling everything a lie and everyone a liar, but here is your daily dose of facts.
The Indian Air Force’s Big Problem: Not Enough Pilots!
Furthermore, the IAF’s current fighter aircraft to pilot ratio is
1:0.81.”Our sanctioned strength for [combat] pilots is less than that of
our adversaries,” the report said, adding that the Pakistan Air Force’s
fighter to pilot ratio was 1:2.5, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly reported. In the U.S. the cockpit to pilot ratio is 1:2. Jane’s further summarized:
This was far less than the authorised figure of 1:1.25
and was responsible for depreciating the force’s operational
capabilities, the report stated. The sanctioned cockpit to pilot ratio
for the IAF’s transport aircraft is 1:1.5 and 1:1 for its helicopters.
I told you PAF puts its standards close to NATO and USAF. In this regards, cockpit to pilot ratio of PAF exceeds USAF.
why do we need more than 1fighter pilot for planes as we currently have 58-60 %《operational.
calculate ratio with operational planes &; it ll be 1:1.5
Su30 ll require 2yrs to up its ratio from 60 to 75 %
others such as mig21,mig27 ll be retired so that ll give us many free pilots
Expected response and expectedly superficial and stupid. The only thing remaining here is an Einstein formula from you. To tell you the truth, you hindustanis are stubborn and egoistic beyond repair. It’s obvious now that you were fabricating and accusing me of lying but instead of coming back with an apology you choose to remain acting like a hindustani.
Now i understand your brain is unable to comprehend what these ratios mean and I can answer you but i choose not to educate you.
The take away is at least that we know now with facts who is lying.
Every cockpit is counted in that ratio.
With 100 su30;out of 220 in maintenance u have 200 extra pilot to spare.
india won’t need pilot (inducted -retired =0 can remain 0 ) until 2025 as our squadron nos are going down
Well you can always count the rikshaw and tanga pilots.
I mean faking numbers is not really a problem in hindustan now is it?
why you anwser indians?
I should not?
Pakistani pilots are one of the best there is. 1965, 1999 still remember or the distorted education system of India has misguided you guys. Ask the Israelis about Pakistanis pilots. Well you won’t comprehend unless your source of information changes. Ask Alan warne IS Jane contributor or that would be to much a task for you.
Even if you think Pakistani pilots have 55 % literacy rate and flying thin cans you should still check your doothie and imagine for a second if they had 100% with sophisticated flying can I surely don’t want to see your room. LOL
Dont talk wuthout backing event with facts
Mig29 in kargil kept your entire air force of F16 grounded
Now in 65,71 pak was always aggressor
go nd read those war history & u ll find thst paf managed to strike indian plane located in air bases,hangers.
They didn’t do well in dog fights
in 1971 paf started war bombing indian air bases as far as agra.
india retaliated nd destroyed 50 % of paf and 75 % of your navy
Congratulations your dinial mode is operational. Please fasten your seat belts as something is operational in India.
You haven’t read the comments properly than. I still cannot believe where this statistical analysis comes from. Well One thing is for sure you can fidel around with doggie numbers for your satisfaction.
There is chronology of event & they depict the same
pak treats 65 as victory in a war where pak was aggressors & land 3 times more land in fertile areas as compared to india.
In 1971: pak lost 11000 sqkm land in west pakistan
indian education system on other hand brag about 1muslim is equal to 10 kafir & create myth of superiority of our armed forces.
The j20 will need about 8 years to mature to a true 5th gen aircraft. Also note its more a deep penetration multi role than an air superiority platform. Biggest issue holding the Chinese back are indigenous engines. That’ll take time. The j31 could be a good compromise but needs time as well.
In the meantime it’s either more vipers or the j 10 as an intermediate solution. It’ll give a better chance against the likes of the su35 and the rafale.
I think if PAF have some fund which where directed towards F 16 should divide those funds into two halves. First half should be spend to improve the JF 17 program and the other half should be invested into J20 jointly with Chinese to costumise the J20 according to PAF specifics.
The Idea of SU 35 is great and personally I prefer this platform however one should be realistic about the geo-political scenario and Indian Clamour diplomacy might get through to the Russian as Indians are the biggest importer of Russian Hardware. But I also think we need to get closer to Russia in the future given our political elite realise this and cozy up to Russia as they are willing too. Give it another year or so. Given this PAF cannot get entangled to such diplomacy now as the outcome would be drastic if PAF would not get its hands on SU 35 platform.
Thus it is vital for PAF to secure a twin engine platform through China because the need of the hour is to get deep strike capabilities coupled with maritime petrols and as well as countering rafaeles. Also I believe that Chinese technology is catching up with western technology and soon they will surpass if the Chinese continuing evolving at such rate. Pakistan in general need to get much more closer to China and jointly work in the areas of EDUCATION, DEFENCE & SCIENCE. Need to send more students to China and perhaps Universities come closer and write papers.
Asia as a continent is the future in development and future powerhouses in term of economy and Pakistan needs to be in the middle of it.
What are your thoughts on this.
Please forgive me in case any mistakes or not being clear on points as I wrote this very quickly on my phone.
Chinese tech in avionics electronic warfare aesa is atleast 1 decade behind Usa
cheeni engine are at least 3 decades behind Russian engines
Thanks. Nice thoughts.
I think JF-17 program will anyway move forward with or without F-16s coming. The funds from F-16 purchase were not too much to be pumped into anything substantial.
Hindustan will definitely try everything to hinder Russia Pakistan relations and would blackmail Russia to all extents possible, still it does not stop Russia from pursuing its own interests. Geopolitics is all about personal interests. At the end of the day if Russia sees importance in relations with Pakistan, Hindustan cannot do anything much. They can whine but at the end of day they are dependent on Russia too for 70% of their defence needs. It all depends on Russia- how they see their relations developing with Pakistan. Pakistan is offering a lot to Russia in face of Hindustan’s push to place itself in America’s lap, so you never know how things stand 10 years from now.
Chinese are progressing but need better R&D and much time.
Agreed on JF-17 block 3/4. Should be priority number 1.
I think your last line sums it all up on a general level.
Specifically even in current scenario, there comes and will come a point in PAF’s requirements, when needs for security will overcome the financial talk eventually. These people only act when all options are exhausted. PAF is going to reach that point pretty soon where it will put its needs to Nawaz gov on table and basically tell them to do it. Arranging finances then becomes Nawaz’s problem but stopping of F-16s supply and Rafale acquisition will not go unnoticed for long.
The statement is conveyed on specific instruction of PAF and I think they’re trying to send warning shots to US before making the decision.
Pakistan must show to US that it was US that chose to cut down and weaken the relationship. Grudges are on both sides, but Pakistan was ready to keep working together with US.
Well Sir, so far as I think, Pakistan need aircrafts for tactical and defensive role. For strategic role Pakistan will mostly rely on long and short range missile systems. Am I right sir?
Pakistan is working on completing and maintaining its strategic triad, hence it sees aircrafts as strategic assets. They have been and are being equipped for all types of missions.
by completing shaheen Missiles imported from cheeni.
coming to point ; pak technology is 3decades far from developing SLBM , Icbm & Mirv technology r only available with few space giants
Says a hindustani being itself the stealer of canadian nuclear technology and seeking/stealing missile technology from elsewhere in similar manner.
Nevertheless, shaheen won’t come with Made in china tag. They will come with lessons and punishments. Keep that in mind.
I can’t straighten a dog’s tail who doesn’t understand difference between civil energy reactors &,nuke bombs.
I have asked umpteen no of times to name 1 russian SLV/missile sharing any resemblance or technology with indian missile & SLV rockets
Tell it to that mirror in your room.
The only thing you are getting from me is a slap.
Lol Su 35 life cycle cost of 36 will be much more than USD 700mn. IF pakistan cannot cough up 700mn to Americans , how will it give more to Russians. These are just hawai khayals from pakistanis.
You might want to hold onto your pamper equipped dhoti just in case since confirmation of talks has come from Russia already.
And answer to 700 million USD, as to why PAF will not use is already given. I say to you too, get lost and educate yourself by reading other articles and comments.
Su35 flyway cost is 75mill$ it ll be over 250-300 mill$ unit piece in 10yrs time
Yaar yeh nasha kartay hoay please comments mar kiya karo.
first make toilets in your country then talk about our plans poor and hungry people and dirty and black people.third class
india built 100mill toilet in last 4-5 yrs.
now can u stick to topic dumb wit
Pakistan can come up with $700 million, but who on Earth will want to put that kind of money towards just 8 F-16s when there are so many other programs deserving of that support?
jf 17 is a useless platform better give it up for more realistic possibility of mig 35, j 31
su 35 is costly as well as not accessible as india already operates su 30mki
Blah blah blah…We get it bro, you are Indian.
For a domestic air force like Hindustan’s, JF-17 is an overkill.
PAF can bring down hindustani pilots sitting in Hunters. And that is pretty credible going by the legacy of both air forces.
what if i tell u jf 17 is better than f-22
I’ve heard that one before in context of Tejas from a number of Hindustanis.
Pakistanis don’t make those kind of statements, which is why this time too, you made it.
Go take a walk on other articles where i’ve put a realistic case of what and what not is JF-17 and where the expectations don’t fit.
You’re not funny and this clown talk won’t do.
JF-17 is not that useless as Tejas is. Tejas has taken at least 3 decades and still not fully inducted. While JFT is fast improving. 66 already functional. Wait for block 3.
What is going on in India man ? French Rafale under probe ? India is going to cancel the deal ?
Not cancelled but probed for all kinds of deals made by corrupt anti indIan khangress/dhongress party in previous govt
And you think this current government dood ki dohley hui hai.
Well you only progressed because of Manmohan Singh and Congress otherwise you still would be washing your doothie at Ganga river.
india made rapid progress in vajpayee gov
MMS dhongress was lost decade for india.
coming back to topic; probe is about old cancelled MMRCA rafale deal
current 36 rafale is govt to govt separate contract.
Well whatever pleases you. 36 rafaeles deal is in jeopardy and France won’t give commissions to your politicians.
Let me put you in denial mode again:
Indian only went for this deal to disrupt relations between Pakistan & France as India will and had tried on many occasions with other countries. However let the deal falter and we will be back on the table with French defence delegates. Waiting for it will happen soon as France pulls itself out of Indian mess as they will recognise what India was up to all along.
indian politicians won’t get commission in this deal
rafale ll come only if french agree to price tag of 8.8-9bil$ for 36 rafale with others support
part of problems lie n france
they increased price by2-3 times n 8yrs
pak is beggar state. it can’t give more than few mill$ business to french as compared to 5bill $ currently 8 scorpion class submarine being manufactured in india,2bill $b mirage 2000 upgrade.
rafale deal ll happen as IAF atleast needs few squadrons
Can you sing any other tune?. i’m really getting fed up with the same static from India.
Haha pakistan cant even buy f 16 from its own money & asking US to subsidize it for them does pakistan expect same treatment from russia & china…any self respecting nation after so much humilation would have stop asking for free doles but this is pakistan we are talking about LMAO…
Nice try you renamed your selves from MT . Admin please keep blocking this shit thanks
From the look of you upvoting yourself, you seem like a known fellow.
I’ve reported your post.
As much as I would love to see Su 35s in PAF, From day one I believed all this talk of Su 35 is to only pressurize the US in providing more F16s through FMF and now it becomes very much oblivious to me. PAF is obsessed with F16s despite of all the humiliation it has to go through to get them and even after it has them! PAF should now only focus on JF17 and try and beg the US for the very last time only for the realease of AIM9x, top of the line Anti radiation missiles and perhaps some AMRAAM C 7s IF NOT D for better utilizing the existing F16s it has.
Other than this , if PAF is actually serious about getting a new platform, then it should only be the SU35 for now before a true next generation platform.
i think the best option here is to double down on the jf-17 here its the cheapest and the most effective solution. but yes the void of a long range fighter will remain to be open. which pakistan can close. now if such a solution was to be taken then a advanced aircraft would be the best soluion and that being the euro fighter typhoon. now yes its very expensive but then thats why banks offer loans. heck even big spenders borrow money. qatar borrowed money from japan to fund the rafale’s. so what its a loan with easy balanced payments its plain sailing. you can buy new air frames and buy older used one as spares. i think 72 typhoons will suffice. 36 tranche 3a’s and 36 tranche 3b’s will suffice.
hah…..threatening the US won’t help Pakistan…..Pakistan should just cancel the deal and buy J-10’s from China….JF-17 is not an alternate of F-16….but J-10 is an alternate of F-16.
American lawmakers have repeatedly raised the issue of the Haqqani network’s freedom to operate from Pakistani soil against targets in Afghanistan. Our nuclear programme is another major aggravation.
Of course, we can tell the Americans to keep their money, and as Sartaj Aziz has said, we’ll look elsewhere for jet fighters. But there’s a problem here: for decades, we have sought to keep a technological edge to offset the numerical advantage India has over us in conventional weapons, and the reality is that only subsidised American arms provide us with this critical element.
Despite our troubled relationship with America, we have nevertheless relied on it for economic assistance as well as modern weapons systems. Since 9/11, we have received some $33 billion in aid. Given our weak economy, we can’t buy new toys for the boys off the shelf.
Those who go around with a begging bowl can’t really afford the luxury of false pride.
Next time, please note (before or at the end) where you get such statements from… that bit is from a piece on Dawn.
Really I like comments of jigsaww very much as his comments are full of knowledge n really appreciate his knowledge n understanding levels..I find alot to learn from his comments.