Foreword: This is not a news story, but a piece for discussion. The details offered in this article are not authoritative pieces of information, but rather, perspectives of the author.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi noted that the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had alternate options to the U.S. for fighter aircraft. Abbasi specifically praised Pakistan’s collaboration with China, with whom it is co-producing the JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighter.
In 2016, the PAF had intended to acquire eight Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block-52 from the U.S. The White House had agreed to partly subsidize the $700 million U.S. sale through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program. However, Congress put a block on the FMF component, and following that, the Defence Department had withheld $300 million in Coalition Support Funds (CSF). The U.S. blocked the funding on account of being unconvinced of Pakistan’s commitment to fight the so-called Haqqani-network. The U.S. alleged that the group was operating from within Pakistan’s territory.
Consequently, Pakistan walked away from the deal (albeit after calls to Washington for reconsideration). However, the claim of having ‘other options’ had been made in 2016 as well. In May 2016, Sartaj Aziz, then foreign advisor to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, told the Financial Times that Pakistan would “opt for jets from some other place”, with reference to China or Russia. In June 2016, the Pakistani Senate’s Standing Committee on Defence echoed the policy by calling the PAF to pursue other sources.
Although there have been news reports of Pakistan expressing interest in other platforms, most notably the Su-35, the PAF had officially maintained that it was seeking additional F-16s. Its rationale centered on the fact that the PAF was already operating the platform, thus possessing the infrastructure to readily add new aircraft. The first official mention of an alternative off-the-shelf fighter came in April 2017, when the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Sohail Aman told Bol Narratives, “Pakistan definitely has to induct new aircraft. We have both Chinese and Russian options.”
For several decades, the F-16 – both the original Block-15 and the later Block-52 and accompanying Mid-Life Update (MLU – was the PAF’s principal qualitative driver. The induction of the Block-52+ and MLU, the PAF was equipped with a platform integrated with modern subsystems, a tactical data-link (TDL) in the Link-16 and contemporary weapon-systems, such as the AIM-120-C5 beyond-visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM). Through the late 2000s and early 2010s, the F-16 provided the bulk of contemporary air defence and surface-strike capabilities to the PAF.
However, in its efforts to supplant 190 legacy fighters, the F-16 was only a part of the PAF’s modernization efforts. The JF-17 Thunder, which is co-produced by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), would assume most of that burden. While the JF-17 does not have the F-16’s range or payload, the PAF has been succeeding in imbuing the JF-17 with analogous capabilities, such as the SD-10 BVRAAM, Link-17 TDL and ASELPOD targeting pod. Free of the supply-side restrictions attached to the F-16, the PAF has also equipped the JF-17 with stand-off range strike capabilities, evident in the integration of the C-802 anti-ship missile (AShM) and Range Extension Kit (REK) glide-bomb system.
There are variances in performance, but the JF-17 provides the PAF with a secure and fully manipulatable platform solution, one that brings comparable value to the F-16. Whereas the upgrade path of the PAF’s F-16s is unclear, the JF-17 Block-III – which will have an active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar – is on-track, with the PAF CAS projecting that it will enter production from 2020. Unlike the F-16, the cost and obstacles of fitting the JF-17 with emerging subsystems and munitions, especially air-launched cruise missiles (ALCM), are substantially lower. For the PAF, the value the JF-17 brings is only increasing, whereas the F-16, while valuable, has been capped as a consequence of geo-political realities.
The PAF views the JF-17 as an integral baseline, one that is forming the backbone of the fighter fleet and, when necessary, assume the bulk of operational duties in tension and conflict. In his interview with Bol Narratives, the PAF CAS stated the following about the JF-17 fleet: “We cannot call it parity, but we have a core structure, which doesn’t prevent us from launching an air campaign,” adding, “Pakistan definitely has to induct new aircraft.” For fulfilling its baseline requirements, the JF-17 is sufficient, but the PAF has a need for an off-the-shelf fighter to provide additional capabilities – i.e. range and payload.
For the PAF, a platform such as the Su-35 would provide demonstrable long-range coverage essential for deep-strike, offensive air operations and maritime operations (beyond Pakistan’s littoral waters). The PAF will not be able to procure the numbers necessary to fundamentally alter its parity with India, but a limited number of medium-to-heavyweight platforms can provide it with substantive offensive capabilities that might add to Pakistan’s conventional deterrence posture.
For example, a large platform can provide air cover reach to the heart of Pakistan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). If equipped with a long-range AESA radar as well as longer-range BVRAAMs, such a fighter may help expand Pakistan’s anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) envelope in the maritime environment. With greater payload capacity and range than the JF-17, said fighter could also ferry a heavier ordnance load – this would be valuable for multiple long-range ALCM, AShM, anti-radiation missiles (ARM) and SOWs with heavy (600+ kg) or submunition warheads. The PAF would have to guarantee that these fighter units are on standby in a period of escalating tension to join quick strike campaigns with the Army and Navy.
However, the PAF (with Pakistan as a whole) is constrained by the reality of limited fiscal means. This is not to say that Pakistan is incapable of affording new fighter assets, but arms acquisitions do not operate in a vacuum. Pakistan is still barred from accessing technology that can be construed (however limited in scope) as strategic, which could be against the overarching security interests of the U.S. On the other hand, willing sellers could eschew selling to Pakistan in order to strengthen their commercial position in India (or India could simply leverage larger carrots, the impact remains the same).
Ultimately, it is unlikely that Pakistan will risk pursuing the PAF’s requirements through open commercial avenues. Outside of China, Islamabad would likely work to secure a purchase under an intergovernmental agreement (IGA), one that directly addresses regulatory and supplier-side restrictions prior to contractual negotiations. However, this is contingent upon a government that is serious about undertaking the foreign relations work to bring the prospect of an IGA to the table. Only the results (or lack thereof) will attest to the success of the Government of Pakistan’s efforts in this regard.
Regarding options, the PAF has not mentioned any specific platforms. However, the CAS had mentioned options in China, Russia and, for a time (i.e. in 2015), the West. While broad strokes, the general benefits and challenges with each source will affect each of their respective platforms. For the PAF, China remains its likeliest and most accessible source for a sophisticated solution. AVIC has listed the FC-20 (J-10A) and FC-31 on its export catalogue, though the latter is currently under development.
Some might suggest Shenyang-built Flanker variants, such as the J-11, J-15 or J-16, but these are not listed on AVIC’s export catalogue either. Moreover, China will likely be in a sensitive position in regards to its relations with Russia. It is unlikely that Shenyang Flankers will be sold without approval from Moscow, which might prefer benefitting from the manufacturing work involved for such an order itself.
The PAF does not have any experience dealing with Russia as a big-ticket fighter supplier. Even if Moscow is willing to sell aircraft, Pakistan would have to ensure that the support and maintenance package it needs to operate Sukhoi or Mikoyan jets is in alignment with its operational requirements. It cannot afford dips in operational availability due to delayed availability of spare parts. Moreover, India is a deeply engaged client in Russia, with multiple ongoing and prospective multi-billion-dollar aircraft and armour programs.
The challenge with Western Europe is two-fold: first, securing actual access to modern equipment and technology and second, financing the acquisition of those systems. However, for the PAF specifically an off-the-shelf Western fighter has several advantages in terms of recycling existing PAF assets.
First, a Western European fighter can be equipped with the Link-16 TDL protocol, which could enable it to operate in concert with the PAF’s 76 F-16s in a seamless and integrated fashion. Second, by being able to operate closely with the F-16s, it is possible that the PAF could make due with fewer of these additional fighters. For operations, the F-16s can accompany these fighters, whereas it is possible – if not likely – that a larger number of new Chinese or Russian platforms would be necessary to replicate a similar impact.
Unfortunately, the Western path, much like the path of additional F-16s (and seemingly, used F-16s) is an inaccessible path for the PAF. Even if an aircraft could be acquired, the technical possibilities of melding with the F-16 does not mean that the U.S. will permit it. Finally, the PAF CAS’ statements point East.
It remains to be seen if the PAF will be able to acquire an off-the-shelf platform, but the need for one has begun to surface in official discourse, albeit with no mention of specific platforms (additional F-16s notwithstanding). This issue – while currently essential – is a fleeting bridge for the PAF, which is staging its long-term on Project Azm, which envisages the development and production of an original 5th-generation fighter in Pakistan.
Baat tou sach hai magar…
The need of the hour for PAF is to bridge the ever increasing gap with its arch-rival IAF, both in terms of quality & quantity. Money is an issue but nonetheless off-the-shelf purchase of some quality fighters is the best interim solution for Pakistan right now. Pakistan’s best options currently are the European 4th generation jet like Eurofighter Typhoon and the 5th gen FC-31 developed by China (Pakistan can start pooling resources from today for a future order when it becomes fully operational). Britain is less likely to hold off on technology unlike US (if there is any ToT involved) or attach a lot of geo-political strings to the sale of defense platforms, which the US is infamous for.
As far as buying Su-35s from Russia is concerned, India factor will play a decisive role. Inspite of India looking towards west for defense platforms, the bilateral defense trade between Russia & India is increasing and is set to grow further for the FY 2018-19. The annual defense market in India for Russian platforms alone exceeds $10 billion USD (more than that of Pakistan’s whole defense budget). No doubt, Su-35 is really a lucrative option for Pakistan because of its capabilities and price-tag, but selling a platform with such capabilities to India’s arch rival could definitely draw New Delhi’s ire and put a lot of prospective defense deals with Russia in jeopardy. Russia currently enjoying an upswing in defense trade with India could barely afford to offend New Delhi, who is spoilt for choices (US and European defense platforms) and is no longer dependant solely on Russian platforms. Selling Mi-35 in just 4 numbers (which could hardly impact india’s security) is a lot different from selling sophisticated deep-strike fighters like Su-35 to Pakistan.
Here’s the present reality based on willingness of western countries to sell to Pakistan. Finances are out of question at this stage:
F-16s: Most likely No.
F-18s: Definitely No.
F-15s: Definitely No.
F-35s: Definitely Definitely No.
F-22: Definitely Definitely No.
Rafales: Possibly No.
EF2000: Possibly No.
Gripens: Possibly No.
That pretty much covers the west.
SU-35: Maybe. Likely No.
Mig-35: Maybe: Likely No.
That’s about it with Russian options.
J-10B/C: Kind of rejected by PAF, so No.
J-31: Possibly on the horizon in next decade.
J-20: Possible if Pakistan pushes really hard, possibly No at this time.
TFX: Likely possible but acquisition not before one full decade or more.
What you are left with is good ol’ JF-17s.
From these options, Russian option can most likely be negotiated and changed but will need solid diplomatic push from Pakistan on gov level. Doesn’t seem happening now. PAF alone will may not succeed. F-16s block 70 may also become a renewed possibility depending on what goes on between India and US on it and how strong Pakistan renews its position. Again will need harder diplomacy from gov. Not seen happening. It’s all about Sher Sher and “mujhay kyun nikala” at the moment.
In short, the governments of Pakistan (last 2 in particular) have abandoned the military to survive on their own – and you can get only so far with that.
In some cases the issue isn’t even money. Yes, money is an issue for off-the-shelf fighters. But I also spoke to some PAF officers about other things (I won’t mention the systems specifically), but when the PAF would inquire, they’d get shut down by the supplier’s government the moment things shift to serious talks. This is despite having the funds.
You can’t compensate for a government that doesn’t do its job. Simple. If you can’t be bothered to push for gov’t to gov’t accords (to secure approvals), then the armed forces are going to struggle picking up necessary equipment.
Yes. And I think Bilal you should start writing more on the incompetence of Pakistani govs and failed diplomacy as one of the major reasons for lack of military acquisitions in past one decade. By that i mean, include this factor as well in your analysis little more when it comes to limited options and increasing capability gap vis a vis threats faced by Pakistan.
We’re reaching a point where I might have to start a site about Pakistani diplomacy, governance, economics, etc.
Lol. good one.
Not a bad idea. You will get wider readership. But it comes with a downside, which is the risk of spreading yourself too thin. Collaborations might help but then a lots of other factors would be there to consider too.
Bilal, the constraints you mentioned are geopolitical in nature. Partly, they reflect the choices we have made in the past. They are also related to our current foreign policy and geopolitical posture. The past choices took place in a contested space, where the armed forces have due representation and even very considerable influence.
The government is not a monolithic entity, and policy is not the decisions of a single individual, at least not in Pakistan. If we find ourselves boxed in a corner or at the very least finding it difficult to meet our defense needs, then this may be a time for some honest reflection and candid reappraisal of policies that got us here, and the defense needs they have generated as a consequence.
No matter how hard you lobby for better diplomatic or defense relations, other countries would return the favor only if they see a clear benefit coming from newly established relations with Pakistan, especially over the ones already existing in the region. After all every country puts its own interests first when engaging in bilateral relations. That’s international diplomacy 101. For example Russia, which is in dire need of cash after the recently imposed western sanctions, knows pretty well that if they go ahead and sell Su-35 to Pakistan in a deal amounting to $4 billion USD (an exaggerated supposition for now), they could potentially lose deals worth double its amount by irking India. India unlike 5-6 years ago has a wide variety of sellers knocking at its door and Russia knows this all to well. By selling weapons to Pakistan, Russia would lose a hugely profitable market which Pakistan would never be able to replace. For Russia the risk is too big to take especially in the light of its struggling economy.
The threat of ISIS in Afghanistan, which prompted Russia to start courting Pakistan albeit in a limited manner has all but lost its significance (or atleast weakened) after the latest US policy on Afghanistan. The truth is, no matter how much the Russians publically express displeasure on the recently announced US policy, inherently they would be like “Let the bloody yanks fight it out. Let them go after Daesh and Taliban and spill more of their blood in the process. If that eliminates the threat of Daesh and eventually secures our borders then why should we interfere”?
Beautifully simplified for the fan boys Jigsaw. You have covered all realm of possibilities.
All the indicators lead to the JF-17 full stop. Anything above that is romance.
A realistic analysis Jigsaw & spot on.
Thank you. Sad reality too.
I like the way you have defined Pakistan’s options – a clear reality
It is not sad, it is good for Pakistan. This will force Pakistan to use all means to develop critical defense items such as 5th generation fighter, —–
In a way it will i guess. On line of JF-17.
He hasn’t and It’s not reality Euro Fighter is being offered and also SU-35 and MIG-35 and recent visit from high level French Delegation also brought RAFALE offers
Too much trolling can be hazardous to your health Zarvan. I hope you have consulted your sources such as @Horus very carefully. You might find yourself in a bit of a sour pickle on this forum..
Pak has tinkered with the idea of the Eurofighter & Rafale during former ACM tanvir tenure & Rao Qamar stint. On both occasions it turned out to a wild goose chase given that Zardari & his ‘lotta’s’ had foiled any attempts to make big purchase defence aquisitions. The current PML-N mob are practically adhering to similar agenda with no notable shopping spree in defence in the horizon.
As far as the SU-35 are concerned, the Ruskies are playing their cards very shrewdly. Any attempts by INDIA to divorce itself from Russian hardware will result in a PROPORTIONATE easing towards Pakistan defence needs. Also, there is the historical baggage of MISTRUST that both sides are contending with – legacy issues.
If it wasn’t for Zardari we would had the U-214 boat by now, Hey another lost opportunity/
The only good news yesterday, was self evident on the face of PM Abbasi & accompanied by the notorious ambassador Aizaz at UNGA. I have never seen a bigger SIGH of relief on the Pak team when US Vice Presidentt said it business as usual – you can carry on being the SLAVES. This cordial arrangement sits well with Pak, as it’s not a official DIVORCE yet.
Also Zarvan, I seem to recall you making some outlandish remarks about the probability of FN Scar finalising the rifle tender, Well, a year on they still have not finalised anything yet. Your predications & dreams are below the ballmark. You need to review your hyper-inflated comments.
Your recall of U-214 boats is actually a reminder why Pakistan is struggling with new acquisitions for a while now even when it could. Very relevant example here,
kind of agree with you.
leaving apart the strategic incentives from Pakistan vs India, which I will assume to be zero for both the countries for a minute, the business incentive for each countries / or manufacturers is to target the bigger proposition first, and only look at the smaller proposition, when you lose out the big one. Here is the biggest problem for pakistan vs its enemy.
now coming back to the strategic aspect, only country, for whom Pakistan has a great value is china, and for the time being Pakistan is milking them the best. I as a neighbour with shared history for many thousand years, i just hope that Pakistan maintains its value as a strategic asset for China. Don’t become a liability like North Korea, and Pakistanis will have their worth paid for.
and secondly, Pakistan would really give up its effort to build up defensive capabilities in airwings vs India. trying to do so will only suck up resources and you will always be a very distant 2nd. Rather accept that there is a dominant Airforce in SOuth Asia, and simply focus on ground assets, which can counter Indian Airforce over Pakistani Airspace in a future war.
I will touch upon only your last para full of requests to PAF, the rest is really an internal issue to Pakistan.
You don’t earn labels of “dominant” and “better” airforce in the region with mere wishes. You need to step up and prove yourself. As much as PAF is left with few choices, it’s pilots are way way better trained, battle hardened, and respected around the world (i’d add better looking too if you don’t mind). PAF also, mind you, enjoys a way better pilot to plane ratio over IAF for like ever. That is something that actually plays out in war. So on the contrary it’s actually IAF that needs to accept who is dominant in the region even with all the limitations still hanging on PAFs neck. Calling PAF distant 2nd may be your dire wish but it really does not reflect the reality at any level still (Really? With 50% third gen junk IAF’s flying?). You’re still talking about one of the finest air forces in the world.
I’d say. Sorry your request to accept IAF as something or anything, is rejected! PAF shares this view too, i’m sure.
bingo, you really answered every concern of PAF in a single comment and established that PAF is second to none. if that’s what you believe than i dont have the courage to break your dream ,
but less significant criteria like Pilot Training Hrs, training platforms and # of simulators and annual # of sorties etc, IAF scores higher. but yes, in two criteria PAF scores better – cockpit to pilot ratio and “good looks”. “good looks” itself is enough to deflect Meteor, ASRAAM or Astra..
It’s not really what i believe, it’s really what figures tell you. Let me put it in a way that you can’t really duck.
Presently, both IAF and PAF, each hold one aerial battle world record, (though PAF holds many more but whatever…)
-PAF for blowing out max number of enemy jets in shortest time.
-IAF also for blowing out max number of jets in shortest time – only this time this it was its own jets, blown out at hands of PAF.
That latter record is still held by IAF.
Do you see now why it is second to none? But hey grow a heart, you’re also second to none – just not the way you’re used to believe.
Now imagine this. If PAF was today in luxury of being able to acquire latest and greatest that for some reason IAF is now (at least on papers), it would literally chew out IAF and it wouldn’t even know who chewed it or when. And i haven’t even started exaggerating yet.
As for Meteors and all, leave the big talk to the battle field.
Now choose your next words wisely.
PS: You’re trying hard i see, but consider the request rejected – still.
wow what a story … Uncle Alam shooting down 5 IAF fighters in 30 seconds. it must be a good bed time story for pakistani kids.
who told you the story – Uncle Alam or John Fricker? you must have also seen the Dash cam footage to verify.
but unfortunately, we the Indians are told a different story, a story, where we ratted out the “world Record holder Army and Airforce” from a place called East Pakistan and created a new nation. and we have 180 million witness to that story ..
Indians never fail to repeat this nonachievement of a “victory” at every forum. Why don’t you go see the interview of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw who personally vouched for the valiant resistance of the Pakistani army in the face of overwhelming numbers during 1971. Why don’t you mention that Pakistan still directly holds territory that it captured from India? Why do you forget that India lost more fighters in East Pakistan than the entire number of fighters deployed in that area by the PAF?
Oh you don’t want to? Breaks your day dreaming? We understand.
Amazingly i never named the PAF pilot but it does haunts you enough to recall him promptly. Talk of IAF bed time stories eh? Now isn’t that a thing of beauty to be outrightly lying about it afterwards? That won’t do for your repeated “dominance” calls to PAF. Do something better here.
We both know denial is the last best refuge but unfortunately the word is already out there for decades. Unfortunately in 2017 you have internet to deal with before playing ostrich and denial.
Routing and ratting out of 90000 strong “record holder Army and Airforce” always makes a better story. it may burn you from inside but thats the truth. as George Washington once said “Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light”
Hey how about not ducking what you were calling a bed time story earlier in complete state of denial? Guess Popular mechanics is too good to be denied blatantly eh? I can come to this one later.
Lol someone tag steve here 😛
Yeh, it would be nice to hear from Steve again. Where are you bro?
Pakistan Army had to fight on many front.India trained Gorilla Fighters of Mukti Bahini and armed them who committed great atrocities against non Bengalis.Pakistan Army was 1000 miles away from home while Gallant Indian Army was fighting from home.Go listen to Manak Shaw interview.He praised
capt Ihsan Malik who defeated an Indian Army Brigade with his men.Pakistan Army was outnumbered by 1:50 in some battles.Of 90000 pows 50000 were soldiers and rest were civilians
Lasit – is missing another very important point – the very nature of Pakistani people. India is simply buying defense items. One cannot be a dominant force with purchased weapons. India has a very poor record of manufacturing anything. Finally average IQ and determination will determine who will be the dominant force.
They like to think otherwise and don’t want to think otherwise. Even in the last recorded encounter of Kargil, the IAF lost two of its aircraft without PAF ever getting involved. I don’t know what kind of dominance he wants PAF to consider.
did PAF have sorties to cover the pakis left alone to die. the answer is big no..
PAF did not partake in Kargil but where it did, you’re in state of complete denial to accept. What do you even bother commenting then?
agree that India has poor record of defense manufacturing, but pakistanis have even poorer records. My comparisons were against PAF not USAF..
Speak for yourself.
Jigsaw I believe the option Pakistan will use will be of turkey fifth generation aircraft.
Remember my point.
Probably will but it’s in very early stages and there’s a big future ahead to look to. Will need an interim solution nevertheless purely on need basis. Don’t know if will happen or not.
Its probably 10 years away from normal production. You are subject to same foreign sanctions that are imposed when you try to buy any other western equipment. Lets say in 10 years you have solid leadership running your country. Economy booming and you are in good standing with bigger powers, YES otherwise highly unlikely.
Europe and Russia both are ready to sell Euro Fighter is being offered and also Rafale and Russia is offering both SU-35 and MIG-35 Your sources are totally wrong
Hi, I think you took it to extreme. I’ve never said that it is impossible (Hint: Possibly No) and in all probability i wish well for PAF. In essence, again, PAF alone will not be able to secure any such acquisitions unless some drive from Pak gov is seen. I already said Russian option could be leveraged but with some detailed work, so will F-16 option. May be you can explain if that was the case as you put, why the case of 8 F-16s recently (and more), if it wasn’t for lack of lobbying by Pakistan gov (not that PAF didn’t do its part – without avail) and counter lobbying by India. Do you think without aggressive lobbying and work on policy front, Pakistan will be able to secure any high profile deals in future even with China, let alone US and Europe? It all depends on how well you put yourself out there. Third time, you can only get so far with isolated pushes from military.
P.S: I have read you talking of EF2000 purchase for quite a while now on defence pk. May be you can enlighten us, what’s the wait? I think i have an idea already.
Then why Pakistan does not buy anyone of it, if what you say is so true
Brother dont exaggerate , its reality PAF desperatelly needed a 4++ gen fighter but no western vendor is willing to do so ,RUSSIANS are not fool enough to deliver any offensive weapon system to pakistan which can be a threat to INDIA , and RUSSIA is not going to do this business with PAKISTAN just for 2-3 billions of dollars.
v r operating almost 350 combat aircraft in 9 billions dollars budget while india operate almost 600 fighter aircraft in almost 50 billion dollars . so never talk abt finance v have the ability to buy eurotyphpon ,rafael , su35 or other modern aircraft bt the best option is our top secret as our chief have already tested eurotyphoon dual seater and su35 have also been tested bt pakistan wants changes if it is fulfilled then v might buy su35 . in 1987 v secured an order of 111 f16 aircraft so what u can say abt financing
Dude, MIG-35 is a good option for Pakistan but seems like PAF is confused.
Get money no matter where from,then…..
West will do the business even with the devil for profits and their jobs.
Very pragmatic and realistic post. There are smaller solutions to bigger problems. How Iran was able to survive for so long with relatively out dated air force? PAF should mass produce JF-17 Block 3 and should keep higher focus on AWACS and drones. Combined they should be able to get to a level where they should be able to deter India. Its tough task though, its a pretty big area to defend. Aggressor planes could be coming from Kabul and a central asian state where IAF has setup a base.
We should also produce SU-27’s chinese version for long range bomber option. They should be more reliable than 5 decades old mirages.
There are options available other than Chinese and Russian platforms. Pakistan can actively look at the latest version of the very capable JAS-39 Gripen as an alternative and interim arrangement. The aircraft is capable of performing various missions and has recently seen action while carrying out operations in Libya.
The Gripen E/F is a fine platform and it is in the affordable bracket. However, like the J-10-series, the question is if the 30-40% improvement it offers over the JF-17 is worth the cost of inducting an entirely new platform, which amounts to 3-4x the cost of the JF-17 all things said and done. Basically, it’s not an issue of just adding another plane for its own sake, but to imbue the force with a range, payload and technology package that can fulfill specific roles, e.g. deep strike, maritime A2/AD and OCA.
Why not go to the policy of Russia/ China of last century. I mean numbers have there own strength. Build JF-17 as many as u could. As N. Korea has old artillery, but it’s Quantity matters…
They’d have to if they can’t get anything … e.g. push JF-17 numbers to 250+.
The possibility of getting other platform seems bleak as per the discussion. Is there a possibility instead of going off the shelf we upscale JF-17 block 3/4 to at least grippen e/f level. The platform is already in service so extra cost will not be issue. Any one on the top thinking on these lines or may be this is c**p what i am saying as per my limited knowledge. Please comment.
The JF-17 wasn’t intended to be a high-end fighter, at any level. There is the need to give it as many capabilities found on other jets, but until the F-7s and Mirages are gone, the PAF won’t undertake any significant design and development work on the Thunder’s airframe. All high-end development work is being staged for the next-gen fighter.
Pakistan’s difficulties are two fold. First access to high tech western hardware. At the present India has got the Trump Card. Trump Admin has hinted to impose curbs on Pakistan. if so happens Pakistan will not be able to get any any western military hardware. Another is economic constraints. Pakistan has trillions to waste in corruption while urgent procurement for Armed Forces is delayed on the pretense of economic constraints . One Doctor Asim is allegedly involved in Rs460 billion corruption. This is just one scratch. Better NAB is handed over to Armed forces to recover the loot and transfer it to procurement budget of armed forces.
I totally agree with you jigsaw. Parties like PML-N under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif have singlehandedly ruined the country more than anything else in the history of Pakistan’s existence. However, i would beg to differ slightly from some things you said in your post. You said- “Musharraf probably did fiercest lobbying and diplomacy in US and european countries”. And they were successful as well. No doubt. But the success can’t be attributed to Musharraf’s better policies alone. Geo-political realities existing that time were far more conducive for Pakistan than they are today. During that time China was not pursuing its territorial policies as aggressively as it is today, US had still not slipped into the India camp and the allegations of extremists based in Pakistan directly targeting the US troops were not present before 2001 or even many years after that. Moreover a world body like the UN had not designated Pakistan a country in the world from where the 2nd largest group of “terrorists” operate. True or not, all this has caused severe damage to Pakistan’s reputation internationally. Moreover in the world’s view, Pakistan hardly has anything substantial to offer and is merely a pawn in bringing Taliban to the talking table. During Musharraf, when the country’s international standing was overall very good (barring a few incidents), any country he approached didn’t mind reciprocating with warmth.To me Musharraf simply built upon and exploited the existing conducive geo-political environment to the fullest. But still he fell short of forging newer deeper strategic ties with various super powers of the world, like the UK, France, Russia or Japan, unlike what Modi is doing now. If the same Musharraf of past would have been at the helm today, he would too find it very hard to maneuver in the ever shrinking geo-political space of Pakistan.
Really i can’t say what he or would not do if he was running the show today and i certainly hope a disaster like him or his profession never returns. I just mean if there was anyone – ANY ONE to be doing some lobbying, some diplomacy, things would be little different. Of course, there’s all kinda issues but they would be solved if people of merit make it to top and things get done on merit. Nothing is happening of that sort now for a decade now.
I am 100% sure Pakistan is being run by a traitor for last 5 years. This man has taken personal oath of destroying the institution of military at all costs in his personal vendetta with Musharraf. It’s not just a matter of incompetence. He actually knows it and doing his job well. The best part is establishment knows it – So really can’t say who should be blamed first.
Search flying daggers 45 you will get answer to ur first ridicule
jf 17 you brag about is less potent than present Tejas variant ( ask modertor or google quwa’s comparison b/w two )
for your manufacturing folly PAC has share of about 58% in jf 17 ( which is based on mig 33 design) and while india has manufactured from scratch 2 jets of which tejas is 75.5% indeginious
lastly PAF doesn’t assemble jf 17 PAC, kamra does !
Pakistani love to live in their dream.
They are assembling the frames nd it’s the first level of aeronautics industry something India achieved in early 80s with mig21
Some commentators talk about lower pilots to craft ratio as the sole determinants of airforce capabilities.
It’s time for them to see that paf flies fewer sortie hours than any other airforce of same size..
practice is all what matters. Binary stereotyping won’t change the ground reality
U hit final nail in the coffin, made my comment complete. ???
You can talk directly to me but please don’t misquote me. It’s considered lying in civilised world.
Here we go again. Exactly same script. How do you guys do that seriously!
Seriously! Prove any of the above point false with genuine facts
Sir we know about your 45th SQN stationed @ Banglore. Sir we also remember how we kicked their rears in 65. We have also neither forgotten nor forgiven the murder of young Naval Cadets in August of 1999 , when two of SQN45 Mig-21 shot our Atlanteque in Kilo Foxtrot area aka Badin-Runn of kutch sector. Also it is know to us that this SQN is being equipped with Tejas a/c.
Now coming to your other part of “comparable parameters” – it really doesn’t matter- your Mig21’s were way ahead of our Sabres and your training hours were again way more then ours. Yet the outcome is written in historical records around the globe. Please kindly do read and research a bit more then just indian historical records. Its the 21st century, you have the means to go beyond your borders. Please read what the “OTHERS” say about Pak/Indo aerial combats.
Gloating and wishful thinking along with the spice of denials wont win you the next anxiously awaited aerial battels. Please learn from history. The usual indian script wont change a thing.
Thanking you all for letting my voice be heard.
Sir, you really need not thank us in every comment! Rather we thank you for your input. An honour to have ex Pakistani pilot here.
Well Sir, you pointed out a fact about 65 war I just want to say that we both are taught different history each claiming win over other so it kinda gets ambiguous and niether of us will see eye to eye on that.
For atlanteque incident read the UN TREATY 1991 which u violated brazenly. You accused us,filled a law suit, went to ICJ and what happened next there whole world knows what a farce that was.
List is long: JF 17, mirage 3, mirage 5, k8 Karakoram, super mush all, uav’s, heavy bombs and ordnance and munitions.
To come: Jf 17 Block 3, dual engine air superiority fighter jet, 5th generation
There are only 3 options
1)J-31 China is a reliable source let see it’s still in development phase
2)TFX from Turkey it is good if it is in the shape of TOT 2nd point to be made is it has royal Royce engine if we are able to maintain it then it is well and good other wise too risky
3)which is going to happens PAF going to develop the single engine fighter
only thing i can see in PAF near future is J-31 and JF-17 block 4&5
Guess JF-17 was a desperate attempt but it did turn out pretty OK allowing PAF to absorb a lot of aviation tech. It did put PAF on some path at least.
What’s really needed is to drive these acquisitions from the gov & foreign policy front instead of military front because as you said, it really does not mean anything to the other party if it’s not tied to something underlying of higher value.
Guess PAF will have to do with JF-17s for a while.
Fully agree !!! but PAF should switch to block 3 and production should be around 40 planes per year.
No sane pragmatic critic ll compare Pakistani naive aeronautics industry with India.
Pak is building jf17 so was India building mig21 in early 80
PAC complex just repaired SAAB early warning and control aircraft that were completely damaged by goons sent by your RAW.
Pakistan Airforce has been assembling and manufacturing aircraft since 60’s even with limited resources.
By the way assembling is all you do, manufacturing is known little to you people.
Did they fix the frames or did they build the radar.
India has built AWACS radar from scratch something that your friendly Turkey isn’t dreaming until 2030
No airforce in the world has technological expertise to manufacture an aircraft. Bcom BA graduates can’t think beyond the outer layer of any system. But paf must be congratulated for managing the jf17 plan nd handle the complex assembly at Kamra
You won’t be making these many assumptions if you had seen list of countries with papers published,patents, r&d budget, innovation index
Don’t be so brutal in your comments, brother. ?
cheer up brother, i will definitely give a standing ovation the day a Pakistani 5th gen fighter takes off. just hope to see it in my lifetime
Did you hope to see JF 17 block 1 & 2 10 years ago in your life time?
Did you also hope to see Pakistan having nukes 30 years ago in mid 1980’s in your lifetime? We had it at that time but didn’t test it.
I pretty sure you didn’t
But all of that happened-didn’t it?
I laugh at the mentality of you Indians.
are you referring to your 5th generation as a possible kit assembly of J-20 in PAC Kamra? well, i may see that in my lifetime.
but i was referring to an indigenous 5th gen fighter from Pakistan .. the great “project Azm”
What about your Su 30 mki and your 5th generation FGFA – Su 57- are they indigenous?
Pretty obvious they are Russian.
Our options for 5th generation from overseas are FC 31 – J 31 off the shelf and/or investment/collaboration in Turkish TFX. Whether we go for these depends on decision makers. J 20 is not one of the options as it’s not for sale and it’s too sensitive for China to put it on sale anyways.
Project Azm is completely separate program that has been announced which is not related to any of the platforms mentioned above. It is 5+ generation fighter jet platform. It will be designed, developed and produced locally and we are making an entire aviation city. It’s directly related to future of our airforce. Our engineers will have enough experience for it by working on 3 blocks of JF 17 Thunder, specially Block 3. This project may start around 2025 and will finish by 2030. You will see it in your lifetime just like you have seen a lot of other stuff we have.
I hope I see Tejas or any locally designed and developed Indian fighter jet in my lifetime in Indian Airforce, which I am pretty sure I won’t, as all your fighter jets are Russian, French and in future will be American.
My guess project azm might start early.
But you never about these things as it might have started already just like no one knew about nukes back in 1980’s that we have them.
It’s exactly comparable to our commitment to developing nuclear weapons in 1970’s when our government decided that we will have them for our security and we did develop them.
unless and until you are dead in 2015, you would have know that LCA is inducted in Sqrdn 45. google it and you will know. for the rest of the comment, as i said, i will be happy to see a 5th gen Pak fighter in my lifetime
A total of 6 LCA Tejas have been inducted in Indian airforce as mentioned in Wikipedia while a total of 86 JF 17 Thunders are operational in Pakistan airforce and have seen extensive combat experience as well from bombing missions to drone shoot downs. Before the end of 2017, that number will be above 120. And by 2025 it will reach minimum 250 to 300.
Seems like we are far ahead than you in developing our own fighter jets.
We have been manufacturing or assembling jets since 60s- marut, mig 21, su 30 mki etc.. just tell me how these experiences are different from PAC kamra assembling JF 17. somehow you mistake assembling a jet as real manufacturing. Can you tell how much of IP for JF 17 is with Pakistan?
Well at least it’s not fakely marketed as “indigenous” and “better than any other 4.5th gen jet” out there (including the ones currently running the race)- all for some ego satisfaction.
All big talk, deplorable results – the reality remains. You can’t make a single deployable fighter jet, to this date and remain the largest importer of weaponry in entire world consistently! – still running after technology transfers and when you do end up getting some contract, aviation companies throw you out after discovering the low grade quality coming out of Indian manufacturing. Remember Boeing? Want me to go on?
This is entire life story of Indian aviation and its manufacturing to day.
Oh…Am i being “brutal” brother? !!
Have you ever heard about HAL Marut? ?
The one designed by one German Kurt Tank, then making it to PAF’s Starfighter’s list of kills, before being rejected by IAF in favour of Russian jets?
yes the first jet to be developed and manufactured in Asia ..
Now that’s actually a blatant falsity too. Last time i check Russia/Soviet union was also in Asia, some part in Europe though. You do like to (falsely) keep bragging on and on about little things designed and developed by some foreign party. Including this one. You’re telling me some country India outdid Soviet Union / Russia (the first to reach space) to develop a fighter jet in Asia? Do you hear that buzzer or yourself ever?
my simple answer was to counter your statement that India has not manufactured a deployable jet. so you got a face palm on that with the answer .
regarding whether russia is in Asia or Europe, politically it is aligned to Europe. even if not, we are more than happy to be the second country in Asia to manufactur and deploy a jet ..
I don’t face palm myself on “hired to design and develop” stuff falsely branded as “first asian jet” and “indigenous” to India – all the while removing Russia from Asia altogether in an effort to brag and twist all actualities to your needs.
Your comments are a laughing stock the way you’ve started out requesting PAF for accepting some IAF’s dominance, then going into complete denial on facts of IAF whacking as the world knows it, and then claiming to make the “first” fighter jet in whole Asia, then reverting to happily calling it “second”, and then concluding with asking me to face palm myself on all that.
That is not how you ask for face palms.
please prove russia is aligned to asia. in sports, associations, and other world forums, they are represented as part of Europe. prove me wrong
by the same logic, what is JF-17 to pakistan ? “indigenous ?
you don’t need to bite your foot with every comment ..
But you claimed India to be the country to make “first” asian fighter jet. That was your geographical reference mind you. That was blatantly false on so many levels, that now you want to talk about Russia’s political alignment all of sudden? Why? And what for? And why is it you can’t figure out it on your own where Russia is aligned “politically”? NATO? European union? China? Your own country India? Did it all occur to be European alignment in your books? I don’t think you have any guided direction of things to talk about. Simply shooting in every direction now are you?
Also, i didn’t think by now you’d still be not aware of Pakistan’s formal stance on JF-17. Bilal did a whole article on it and it was discussed in detail. You’re back to square one to calling it indigenous when Pakistan never claimed it to be? See if you didn’t brag in first place, you wouldn’t be held responsible for false statements. Pakistanis do not do that with JF-17. Get it right this time.
Brother you are right , peoples are very emotional and writing about this and that but its quite clear that all doors are closed and we have no option except chinese j31 and jf17 .
The only feasible option for PAF is to go for customized FC31 variant with similar engine to be used in JF17 block III. Then Pak can get solution for all problems even for long term.
The induction of J11 or any other 4.5th gen Jet flanker shall not pay off in longer terms.
Pakistan has an important strategic relationship with China and an improving relationship with Russia. There is no reason why it cannot obtain Russian aircrafts if it really determined to get them or their Chinese versions. I cannot under the continued fascination with F-16 which is an obsolete platform. No self respecting nation will keep asking for F-16 after the Pressler amendment of the 1990’s when US stabbed Pakistan in the back after using it for its proxy war with USSR. F-16 block 52 was acquired after Pakistan agreed to support US in Afghanistan in 2000’s, in small numbers as it was a stop gap measure for Pakistan before it obtained a higher tech Chinese aircraft. China is not far away from being able to export these aircrafts. It does not make sense to buy aircrafts from a friend of an enemy which also has hostile plans towards Pakistan.
I’ve been following this defence updates for about a decade and this site for more than a year
P.S. Countering facts by farce scarcasm is what I had from Pakistani’s over the years
I’v been following defence updates for About a decade and this site for about a year this replies your so called naive thing.
P.S. facts countered by farce sarcasm ,abuse & sometimes deleting their entire comment threads after being self trolled and humiliated is what I had from “you” guys over the years.
Now don’t be so lazy to call it all sarcasm. Go out and do what i asked you, then come back if you want a discussion. We have sort of a rule here to not repeat ourselves in an effort to educate every Indian visitor one by one. That’s not what we are here for, right?
Here we go
LCA V/s JF 17
INDIGENOUS CONTENT of LCA
MIG 33 and JF 17
#IHS JANES is neutral while rest two are Pakistan based websites
P.S. if thousands of Indians have told this earlier to u and still ur unable to comprehend this that leaves me with two conjectures either you are biased or dumb
As an ex Pakistani Pilot, My request to you sir, and to all my brothers here is to treat indian readers with respect. Sir kindly please dont be impolite by telling them off. We must remember our elders warrior code of humility and generosity. We can disagree, but in a gentle way. We are miles ahead as far as air combat is concerned and there is no need for us to prove or justify it. Leave it on them to do their homework well. Failure on their researchs behalf will only result in more regret as far as aerial combat is concerned. Thanking you all for letting my voice be heard.
Grear to hear from you, sir. Welcome to Quwa.
Dear Sir, respect from India. being an analyst myself, i typically prefer data over loose statements. hence request if you can help me with some source to substantiate your statement, and quote “We are miles ahead as far as air combat is concerned”
Hey there, “analyst”. I just substantiated your dig at “second to none” with some actual figures. Why don’t you deal with that first.
Pakistan’s F-16s have Link-16. It was one of the things that were approved, strangely (in hindsight).
J31 is due to be completed in 2018-19 and the Turkish TAI TFK in 2023. I understand Pak was offered J10B by China but opted for the J31 and JF17 III. India is developing the HAL AMCA and will introduce the SU-57 in 2020 . It would therefore seem prudent for Pak to purchase the J31 in a years time and partner the TAI TFK development. This will mirror India’s progress and will not give India an overall edge. If PAF genuinely needs a western jet now, EF2000 is a better option as India rejected it in favour of the Rafale so there may be some sympathy for a Pak request. Only issue is that it is very expensive may be ask the Saudi’s to loan theirs.
In about ten years Pakistan will need to start replacing F16s.Best choice will be to build their own fifth generation fighter with Chinese collaboration.A billion dollar investment on this will go a long way.Imagine india spenging ten billion on 36 rafaels.For this kind of money China could have put a factory of compareable planes in India
Options are limited but Pakistanis are not panicking because they have learnt their harsh lesions from the 90s.
Pakistan could never match Indian weapons because of the vast resources that India regularly spends on defense. I need to keep this short so,
Pakistan needs to learn from Iranian/Hezbollah’s war strategy of Asymmetrical warfare. Both have achieved a balance of deference by making sure that they can hurt the enemy to such an extent that war is not an easy option dispite USA/Isreali having overwhelming fire power at their disposal, but they cannot win a war quickly and so Iran and Hezbollah’s deterrence value is achieved.
Pakistan has major advantages over Iran and Hezbollah because of much bigger population, nukes that are tested and dipolyed via fighters and various missile program which is far superior to anything in Iran or Hezbollah’s arsenal. Cold start and Indian willingness to suffer loses to win a war can pose a dilemma but Pakistanis need to dig deep, no need to panic as likes of Ayaz Amir keep trying to remind everyone, Pakistan is too big to be brushed aside and it has more than enough weapons to defend itself. It is time to focus on economy and corruption.
Pakistan is putting all its hope in China. That’s very bad. India and China have fought a war and tensions linger, but both countries are turning into global economic power houses, sooner or later they will want to normalise their ties in order to trade freely like they Europeans. We need to be read to be part of that bargain or that we can keep our forces ready if China ever turns it’s back on us. As soon as China/American relationship stabilises, India and China will do so as well or Something like Shanghai cooperation organisation will do exactly that. Pakistan should dig deep under lots of mountains so that it can survive a month or two of Indian fury. That will give it time to diploy it’s limited resources to the economic front. That is where fate of Pakistanis will we decided.
Somalia, Iraq and Syria has scared the European, if not the Americans. Pakistan is bigger than all three nations, like the big western banks, it too big to fail. It should us that to its advantage.
I don’t understand why u pakistani’s are worried about money. Election’s will be within 6-9 month’s. kick out these thug’s( Mia Mafia and Zardari thief).Elect an honest no nonsense person who will get some of $200 billion in Swiss bank’s back to Pakistan. I am sure there must be another $100 billion hidden in Middle East,Europe, Caribbean, Americas etc etc. If only 15%(45 billion) of this money is got back, that should be enough to take care of immediate problem’s facing Pakistan( Economic and Military).
PS- Asif Zardari launched his son Bilaval Zardari thrice,but alas failed all three times. But he used to launch 2-3 Bond girls with brief cases tashed with £,€,$ etc etc every month and succeeded every time till poor Ayan Ali got caught.
Best of Luck.
Best available path for PAF is to invest heavily in JF 17 Block 3 making it at as capable as Gripen NG , bring it to production stage as quickly as possible and acquire it in numbers before our adversary gets Rafale.By the time they get Rafale and learn how to use it we should be looking for an affordable 5th Gen Fighter from our allies China or Turkey
Bilal, Please enlighten why we are not going towards Gripen C or E instead of F-16s.
I don’t know if PAF is interested in J-10 or not but if it is not then it should buy new MIG-35 from Russia. It is a multi role, twin engine air craft equipped with Aesa radar and it is s competitor of French Rafale & Eurofighter. If PAF needs an aircrafts with more range & load then MIG-35 is the best option. For sure PAF can fly MIG-35 & JF-17 as F-16 and JF-17 are still not connected to each other as far as I know so there won’t be any big difference. PAF & Pakistani Government should stop looking for F-16 as we cannot trust US government. What if we pay them for F-16 but they do not deliver us ? They did it even before !
There has been one comment by you deleted past 7 days. It was:
‘hahah .. “Actual figures” ?? where?? you mean your blabbers?
Bilal kindly advice:
The only way around is to go for Chinese J-11D variant, which is close
to SU-27 but is not as heavy as SU-35. In view of Chinese purchase of
SU-35, we can expect there might be a twisted way to access Russian
permissions for further TOT of SU-35 to China, which indirectly Pakistan
have some benefits too, so in future they can modify J-11 more. In this
way in a sense Russian can twist India’s arm to be going close to US
and access a bit of Pakistani market without much interrupted by
Indians. Possibly Russian Engines or other equipments for Pakistan.
Meanwhile we can go for JF-17 Block III and upgrade some block II to
block III standards. Hopefully some one can brainstorm more on
(A bridging gap between block 3 & 5th generation):
Instead of wasting money on buying any off the shelf fighter jet, develop and produce a heavy weight variant of JF 17 Thunder for long range deep strike and air superiority role using the same existing design.
Self Reliance is the best option.
Much bigger airframe
Double engine using 2 Russian engines
13 Hard-points in total – 4 on each wing tip (8) and 5 under the main body (4 on front and back edges and one in the middle) – with option of carrying fuel tanks as well for long range, though bigger airframe with two engines won’t need fuel tanks.
Will be able to carry heavy payload and perform long range strike missions as well perform air superiority role with air to air combat
Internal bays is also an option but that will be reserved for our 5th generation as we need a heavy weight fighter quickly for deep strike/area denial role.
Technological features same as block 3 – Aesa Radar, helmet mounted display, fly by wire, external cameras etc.
Must be equipped and able to perform night missions.
JF 17 Quantity:
For deep strike:
JF 17 HCA Heavy Variant: Minimum 50 to 70 aircraft – 4 to 6 squadrons
For dogfight/interceptor role:
JF 17 LCA light weight: Minimum 200 to 250 – 17 to 20 squadrons
300 in total
It will give our engineers and technicians a lot of experience and will force us to build more infrastructure to increase our production capacity.
For future it will be easy for build any future generation fighter with big numbers.
Bilal wrote “J-11, J-15 or J-16, but these are not listed on AVIC’s export catalogue either. Moreover, China will likely be in a sensitive position in regards to its relations with Russia” bhai, these aircrafts are not Russian but reversed engineered Su-27/30+ copies. Just like F-6 being MiG-19 copy and Chinese gave Pakistan more than 250 of F-16, therefore, PAF buying them is not an issue. I think one of these could be a stop gap before PAF gets its 5th-Gen in 10-12 years