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Pakistan Air Force Chief on official visit to Italy
June 23, 2017
Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman and Lt. General Enzo Vicciarelli. Photo credit: Associated Press of Pakistan

Pakistan Air Force Chief on official visit to Italy

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Chief of Air Staff – Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Sohail Aman – is currently on an official visit to Italy on the invitation of the Chief of the Italian Air Force Lt. General Enzo Vecciarelli.

The Associated Press of Pakistan reported that the two sides “agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in professional training” and to continue participating in “mutually conducted exercises.”

The PAF and the Italian Air Force were both participants of the Turkish Air Force’s marquee air exercise, Anatolian Eagle, which took place in May.

Note & Comments:

The PAF Air Chief’s visit comes in the backdrop of a recent drive on the part of Rome and Islamabad to improve bilateral relations across multiple fronts, including defence.

In September, Italy’s defence minister Roberta Pinotti visited Pakistan and had met with her Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Muhammad Asif as well as Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif. In parallel, Italy’s Secretary General and National Armament Director Lt. General Carlo Magarrassi called on the Secretary of Defence Production Lt. General (retired) Syed Muhammad Owais.

Since 2005, Pakistan has ordered MBDA Spada 2000-Plus surface-to-air missile and Falco unmanned aerial vehicle systems from Italy. Current procurement programs underway include a purchase of Leonardo AW-139 utility helicopters and a factory upgrade program for Heavy Industry Taxila (HIT).

It would be premature to suggest that other programs are also underway, but it is worth noting that the Italian defence industry is expected to have a relatively strong presence at the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS), which will take place in November.

Small arms vendor Beretta, electronics warfare and electronics countermeasure specialist Elettronica SpA, ordnance producer Fiocchi, and defence giant Leonardo are scheduled to exhibit at IDEAS.

There are several areas of possible collaboration, such as outfitting the JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighter, further upgrading Pakistan’s land-based air defence network, providing a new assault rifle to the Pakistan Army, and (longer-term) potentially outfitting future Pakistan Navy surface combatants.

  • Shershahsuri

    May be the visit will also focus on some subsystem for JFT as AESA radar, IRST, ECMs or HUD.

    • AMAN

      I heard this visit is focused on getting Italian Eurofighter Tranche fighters for PAF.

      • Shershahsuri

        If it is so then really happy tiding but I dont expect that much.

      • Salman Khan

        Aman, where do you get info pls tell me

  • Mazhar

    Trench 3 with CAPTOR Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar, costs 90 Million Euro a piece. How it will be financed? Hopefully AESA for thunder will be discussed but I am highly skeptical for Eurofighter purchase, just too expensive, almost at par with price tag of an F-35, if I am not wrong about F-35 price?

    • Typhoon is very unlikely, but there is a remote possibility of buying some second hand Tranche 1s.

      Italy offered 28 of theirs to Romania for $1.1bn in 2013. Spain offered their 18 to Peru for $65-70m a unit all in around that time too.

      Remote though. Very remote.

  • Mazhar

    Thrust vectored SU-35/37 or MIG-35 can be a great deal for PAF, dog fight in Indo-Pak scenario is an unavoidable fact, India has an edge over us due to 270+ SU-30s. It looks Pak-Russia talks about SU-35 have cooled down due to India.

    • Saptarshi Dasgupta

      India recently bought Akula nuclear submarine, 4 frigates, 200 kamov helicopters and s-400 anti missile defence system and in next year Jan deals for T-50 FGFA Pak-fa and 270 SU-30 MKI’s upgrade to Su-35 capability will be signed. So any deal with russia will not happen. Now that since our lobby in washington has managed to block sale of f-16 Pakistan’s best bet is JF-17 BLOCK 3 with italian avionics and in future turkish stealth fighter and chinese j-31 stealth fighter.

      • Mazhar

        US stopped the part of financing from their side, they said that Pakistan can buy as many they want but it has to be paid by Pakistan in full $ amount. India can claim that it was their lobby who blocked this deal but if US interests come up in this area again, no lobby will stop them.

  • Sami Shahid

    Interesting

  • bill

    We were offered new F16 block 52 for USD 80 Million , then trench-III EU fighters are much better than block 52s.

    Considering Pak financial limitations even if we can get EU fighter in range of 70-80Million USD per jet with AESA upgrade we should go for it in limited numbers say up to 36-40 for deep strike missions.

    Remember when and if we go for any 5th gen jet it will also cost us in range of 80-100 Million USD per jet.

  • John Rue

    I doubt visit will include talks to buy new birds. It will most likely be around acquiring new radars and others systems PAF can retrofit into JF-17 and other platforms. They probably wont measure up to what India is planning on buying but still its commendable how PAF is trying to stay in the game. PAF knows air wars only take place when there is significant difference between airforces. By keep them competitive up to a certain level they are ensuring they dont get run over by bigger opposition.

  • AMAN

    I agree !!!!!

    • Salman Khan

      Hey Aman, I live in Italy so maybe you can come and I’ll show you around 😀

      • AMAN

        Yes Brother I will definitely come to meet you but anywhere between 2019-2020 because I am only 16 year old !!!!!!

        • Salman Khan

          Ok then.

  • Muhammad Khurram Bhatti

    For air force the focus is getting subsystems for JF-17 block III. They may get a few Typhoons to counter short term threat but having common subsystems across the fighter fleet would be a major driving force. Leonardo definitely is a front runner 🏃

  • Saptarshi Dasgupta

    f-16 and su-35 will not happen since our government has pushed for newer deals with USA and Russia. Typhoon is very expensive for Pakistan. Italy can provide AESA radars and IRST for JF-17 block 3 and even Pakistani versions of J-31 which might see service in middle 20s in Pakistan.J-31 can have all good typhoon avionics which are indeed better than what china can provide in J-31 Another deal may for Beretta rifles for Pak army. Italy can provide latest frigates and corvettes for navy. Very key visit this one. A powerful Pakistan is good for India because we want a stable pakistan and not one full of extremists like ISIS,Lashkar, Taliban or Al-Qaeda.

  • Sami Shahid

    But Euro Fighter is a nice aircraft….they call it Pride of NATO ! Lets see…most probably he would be discussing Helmet Mounted Display and AESA radar…

  • Sami Shahid

    They might be discussing Helmet Mounted Display and AESA radar. Helmet Mounted Display and AESA radar is very important for us and our JF-17.

  • I couldn’t find anything concrete, but BAE had apparently been toying with the idea, though the RAF hasn’t followed up on it. I don’t think it should be impossible, though I’m not sure about the CAPTOR-E, possibly the smaller Vixen-line.

    • Mazhar

      Thank you Mr. Bilal for putting this topic, let’s see if we get any Tranche 1 or AESA/CAESA for our thunders, time will tell how AESA works against No11Bars of SU30.

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