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Pakistan collaborating with China on next-gen fighter

In the inaugural session of AirTech ’17, a conference being held at Air University in Islamabad, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Sohail Aman stated that China is supporting Pakistan’s efforts to develop a next-generation fighter, a satellite program and a manned space mission.

“Pakistan is engaged with Chinese experts in manufacturing the next generation aircraft”, Aman told the audience, adding, “China is also providing technical assistance for launching the satellite programme.”

Under “Project Azm” the PAF is seeking to develop its own 5th-generation fighter. Besides having a system to support its future requirements, Project Azm is envisaged to steer Pakistan towards greater autonomy in domestically sourcing big-ticket defence systems and expanding Pakistan’s aviation industry.

Having formally launched Project Azm in July, ACM Aman provided additional details of the project, such as 60% of its workforce comprising of civilians and that “it will take five years to initiate the production” of the aircraft (Dawn News).

Under Project Azm, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex’s (PAC) Aviation Design Institute (AvDI) was tasked to develop a medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). ACM Aman outlined that the AvDI MALE UAV will also be produced in 18 months.

Reiterating upon his prior statements of building Pakistan’s domestic industry base and reducing its need for foreign suppliers, ACM Aman reportedly told the audience at AirTech ’17 that the PAF will source the bulk of its weapon systems from Pakistan by 2020.

In addition to Project Azm, the CAS revealed that China was also assisting Pakistan in space development.

Besides assisting Pakistan in satellite development – e.g. the Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS-1) earth-observation satellite due to launch in March 2018 – ACM Aman announced that China will assist in sending Pakistani astronauts into space in the next two years.

Notes & Comments:

Regarding the CAS’ statement of the Project Azm 5th-generation fighter (FGF) entering production in five years, it is unclear if the CAS was referring to serial production or the production of a prototype. However, the notion of PAC collaborating with China on the program was to be expected following the relationship built as a result of the JF-17 Thunder program, which is the mainstay fighter of the PAF fighter fleet.

In its July piece discussing the launch of Project Azm and the Kamra Aviation City initiative, Quwa stated:

In some respects, the PAF’s messaging regarding the FGF, AvDI and the Kamra Aviation City seems to point towards an original design effort. However, unless the PAF wants to repeat the arrangement in place for the JF-17 (such as China being responsible for engine integration and testing or manufacturing JF-17 prototypes), it would need to make capital investment in aviation development infrastructure in Pakistan. Besides cost, time will also be required to build requisite human resources … to undertake the continual development work.

Although the Kamra Aviation City has ambitious goals, Pakistan will likely seek overseas support, and this would be a factor in any originally designed fighter. Given the political and economic realities, Pakistan’s principal partner in this endeavour would be China.

Pakistan could accelerate its process by essentially procuring the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) FC-31 off-the-shelf with a deep level of transfer-of-technology for local production and customization. In 2016, SAC began testing the second FC-31 prototype, which exhibits numerous changes to the original FC-31’s design, such as revised vertical stabilizers and forward fuselage. The FC-31 is being designed with the export market in mind. In 2015, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) committed to bringing the FC-31 to full operational capability (FOC) by 2024. This would be a risk-averse avenue, one that could see the PAF acquire a potent strike and maritime-capable solution through the 2020s.

The alternate scenario would be for PAC to continue its ties with Chengdu Aerospace Corporation (CAC) and to co-develop another FGF design. While this would come later than the FC-31, the PAF could steer it as a long-term solution for replacing the JF-17 from the 2030s (the oldest JF-17s will be 20 years of age by then) and organically build design, research and development (R&D) capacities with China’s support. The PAF’s decision to establish AvDI – an entity specializing in aerospace design and development work – indicates a willingness to embrace an original design program instead of acquiring the FC-31 off-the-shelf.

The other aspect that could suggest an original design is Pakistan’s aspiration to export big-ticket defence items, including combat aircraft. While a capital-heavy investment, commissioning a new program would see Pakistan own (like it does with the JF-17) workshare and a portion of the profit of third-party sales. It would be premature to dismiss the possibility of AVIC allowing Pakistan to join the FC-31 as a partner if it compensates AVIC for some of the development cost. However, the original development route will see the state’s expenditure feed Pakistan’s own design and R&D efforts, which would help with maturation in the effort and generate valuable intellectual property for use in Project Azm and future programs.

Regarding the AvDI UAV, it is worth noting that Pakistan has not availed existing off-the-shelf options such as the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) CH-5 and/or CH-4, Turkish Aerospace Industries’ (TAI) Anka or CAC Wing Loong. The PAF has not released its required parameters for MALE UAVs, but existing off-the-shelf options occupy a diverse range of capabilities. The TAI Anka, CASC CH-4 and CASC CH-5 have payload capacities of 200 kg, 345 kg and 1,200 kg, respectively.

From cost management, risk mitigation, design evolution (based on Pakistan’s prior UAV development efforts) and technology (e.g. propulsion) access standpoints, one could plausibly expect the AvDI UAV to mirror the specifications of the TAI Anka and CASC CH-4. In fact, the Pakistani armed forces have refrained from importing the Anka and CH-4, despite both being offered and noticeable upgrades over existing UAV-based surveillance and targeted-strike assets in the Falco and CH-3A-based Burraq, respectively. Pakistan could be intending to acquire analogous capabilities domestically through the AvDI MALE UAV.

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  • by Hammad Raja
    Posted December 7, 2017 9:27 pm 0Likes

    So big achievements coming up for the PAF.

    Posted December 7, 2017 10:05 pm 0Likes

    Why don’t Pakistan and Turkey form a consortium to develop, manufacture and export FGF like the eurofighter. That would, in my novice opinion, a rather quick route since Turkey already has aerospace industry consummate in aircraft development due to licensed production of F16s.

  • by Umar Farooq
    Posted December 7, 2017 11:02 pm 0Likes

    that good to know that PAF is serious on the issue …however a lot of detail still missing ….dont you think as an off the shelve option Turkish fighter would be better option considering western engine?

  • by Joseph
    Posted December 7, 2017 11:05 pm 0Likes

    Turkey wants a 100% domestic fifth generation fighter (In term of IP at least), so most likely Pakistan’s only option is buy it and hoping for some level of technology transfer. Joint development I think is out of question.

  • by Bayburs
    Posted December 8, 2017 3:03 am 0Likes

    Bilal do you think to is there any chance for Turkey to play a role? Does the also mean that there is now no possibility in Pakistan’s involvement in TFX program? Thanks for the great article

  • by Bilal Khan
    Posted December 8, 2017 3:52 am 0Likes

    If the TFX is a factor, then it’d be separate from Azm, maybe in focus for replacing the F-16s.

  • by Ahmed Shah
    Posted December 8, 2017 4:48 am 0Likes

    Turks themselves are inviting partners.

  • by sami shahid
    Posted December 8, 2017 5:40 am 0Likes

    I think Pakistan can easily design a fifth generation aircraft for itself with the help of Chinese of course. If not then FC-31 is also good as China has developed a new engine which doesn’t create smoke. As for UAV, it’s not that difficult task as NESCOM has already developed Burraq UCAV so for sure Pakistan & China can again jointly develop a better UAV.

  • by Joseph
    Posted December 8, 2017 5:45 am 0Likes

    Turkey invited Pakistan before, but most likely that is KFX style “joint development”. Basically Indonesia pays part of funding but South Korea does all the development. The main benefit of that is Indonesia gets to set their specific requirements, maybe some technology transfers afterwards, but that is it. Extend of technology transfer would depend on permission of Lockheed Martin and US government. In case of TFX, BAE systems and British government.

    A consortium is entirely different. If Turkey and Pakistan formed a consortium, the IP of TFX would belong to the consortium instead of Turkey, which would be unacceptable to Turks.

    I don’t think KFX kind of “joint development” is what you and Mohammad had in mind.

  • by Steve
    Posted December 8, 2017 6:34 am 0Likes

    Getting mixed signals of collaboration with Chinese and also Turks. Maybe we will buy/assemble J-31 as a near term goal to replace early JF-17, and TFX is a more long term and more of an industrial collaboration project to replace F-16. Hedging our bets with two Gen 5 projects is not a bad idea. Whether TFX is part of our effort for indigenous gen 5 or an entirely new platform will be built remains to be seen.

  • by Joseph
    Posted December 8, 2017 7:54 am 0Likes

    FC-31 and TFX are the same class of aircraft, their range and weapon load would be all quite similar. They will be redundant platforms, also almost no country would equip only 5th gen fighters due to their price tag, except maybe US and Australia (We plan to replace all F-18s with F-35s, but that is only about 100 in total).

    I think fifth gen fighters would only replace F-16s, backbone of Pakistan air force will still be JF-17.

  • by Amir Timur
    Posted December 8, 2017 11:23 am 0Likes

    It seems prudent to procure the Gyrofalcon with a higher degree of transfer-of-technology. Although an off-the-shelf solution, it nonetheless does have the potential to fulfill not just the PAFs fifth generation fighter platform requirements within the next decade, but also enhance the value of Project Azm. The Thunder could then be viewed as the initiation of a military-technological relationship that grows through several generations. If the FC-31 is indeed what the planners have in mind, then definitely would it factor into future JF-17 blocks. Commonality across various subsystems can be sought, and with time passing, the Kamra Aviation City initiative could lead to Pakistan producing several critical and advanced technologies, including radars, electronics and armament. Granted, the JF-17 offered Pakistan greater depth and independence over the platform, but in terms of exports and profits for Pakistan’s military industry, the potentialities are often hindered by emerging trends (such as COIN aircraft), and it can be wisely assumed that the defense industry is delegated with the task of sufficing local demand as it’s top priority. The fact that the Thunder’s export potential does not matter to the extent that it contradicts the PAF’s own ambition has been elucidated on this site. Still, there must be a push to gain maximum technological stimulus and ensure that this isn’t a cooperation where Pakistan restricts it’s task to assembling the final product. From one end to the other, the emerging technologies must be sought and channelized into the local industrial base, since as the pointed out earlier by Pak Fizaya’s leadership, this is merely the beginning. By the time this project has come to fruition, the PAF will be facing a newer set of challenges, and therefore, looking beyond fifth generation through the glasses of an actual FGFA is key. Emergent air warfare trends won’t be unrecognizable from present ones, but it’s the continuous push to stay relevant that eventually results in actual relevance for a military. In coming years, India, which has already put itself in a trajectory in this regard, would’ve built a very aggressive fighting force, one which will be hard to tame and the urge to ramp up belligerence will be greater. A credible asset, acting as an effective deterrent is therefore required. The ambition to move beyond deterrence and employ retaliatory aggression though, factors on several decisions made with regards to strategic asset building. A decision on the next generation fighter is one of those.

  • by Steve
    Posted December 8, 2017 12:17 pm 0Likes

    I think the decision has not been made yet but proposals are being studied.

  • by Asif Khan_47
    Posted December 8, 2017 12:33 pm 0Likes

    According twit at Pakdef PAF is possibly looking to buy eight more F-16 and with service-life extension program (SLEP) increasing the life from 8,000 to 14,000 I don’t think the F-16 are going anywhere. FC-31 is part of PAF vision 2030. I think Pakistani read way too much between the lines.

  • by Asif Khan_47
    Posted December 8, 2017 1:01 pm 0Likes

    Bilala wrote “In fact, the Pakistani armed forces have refrained from importing the Anka and CH-4 . PAF operates CH-4 evident of the crash earlier this year.

  • by Faisal
    Posted December 8, 2017 3:39 pm 0Likes

    Getting some confused messages. First we talked about joining Turkey in 5th Generation development. Also heard about UAVs from Turkey. Now we are talking about Chinese option.
    We dont even have enough means to produce a simple fighter jet on our own. We source different services and components from different countries (Russia, China, South Africa others) so in that case someone will need to agree to sell such services and all sensitive components to us. We will be mostly doing project management and integration at higher level. We will never get to the stage of building the planes on our own.

  • by PewPew
    Posted December 8, 2017 3:44 pm 0Likes

    It was a Chengdu Wing Loong that had crashed, and it was in July of 2016 not “earlier this year.” Also, a PAF official had told some credible outlets that it the UAV was undergoing experimental flights. We neither heard of it ever since nor is there any record of the CH-4 or Wing Loong being inducted officially.

  • by PewPew
    Posted December 8, 2017 3:47 pm 0Likes

    Personally, I’ll wait for official statements. In fact in his recent speech the CAS was not very kind to the US or to the F-16, he was quite clear about moving forward. No mention by PAF of going for SLEP yet.

    Posted December 8, 2017 4:25 pm 0Likes

    Hmmm….but I think owing to circumstances and the fact that Pakistan and Turkey share strategic goals in Euro-Asia i.e breaking away from Western power yoke and play a wider role as a peace maker and mediator in Islamic world, I believe any strategic partnership between the two cannot be rule out. I would rather extend the proposal to include strategic weapons in this matrix also.lets see what PAF has in store for us. But the PAF already has 5 to 10 year F 16 spare stock to make sure out birds are always available. Thus Pakistan will not be facing much hardship if our planners focus on indigenous FGF program to supplant F 16s in future.

  • by Asif Khan_47
    Posted December 8, 2017 5:21 pm 0Likes

    Plausible deniability is what is called. E.g., PAF initially kept denying that non of the Erieye was damaged but later said one was destroyed and one recovered. There are many a examples of Pak Armed forces they use Plausible deniability

  • by Joseph
    Posted December 9, 2017 1:25 am 0Likes

    To design and develop aircraft not only talents are needed, but also the basic infrastructures such as wind tunnels, which are not cheap to build or operate. To design and build a stealth fighter or radar, things like Radio-frequency anechoic chambers would probably be needed. These things not only costly to build also militarily sensitive technology.

    From what I hear one of the major impediments for Indian kaveri engine development is the test platform, which is in Russia, so every time an engine need to be tested it needs to be sent to Russia and Russia refused to sell the test platform to India even with the amount of businesses India has given to Russia.

    With Kamra Aviation City initiative maybe some of these infrastructures will finally be available to Pakistan engineers, maybe that is why PAF finally decided to carry out more ambitious plans.

  • by dswami
    Posted December 9, 2017 2:07 am 0Likes

    The JF 17 is a mig 21 copy in many respects..the type of construction used and aluminium..etc. not advanced as the LCA. The next gen fighter will be scaled up J10.

  • by ahmria
    Posted December 9, 2017 3:51 am 0Likes

    How is the JF17 a copy when it is replacing our Mirages and the F7 which is a Chinese copy of the Mig 21? The materials used in its construction also serve a very practical economic purpose in keeping costs down.You don’t know what you are talking about. The radar and weapons it carries are years ahead in technology to anything employed by a Mig 21. The LCA is just now being inducted after long term delays and after all the help India has received from the French, Israelis and Americans its still not the jet the navy or air force wants.

  • by Omar Dar
    Posted December 9, 2017 5:14 am 0Likes

    Haha. The JF-17 may not be supposedly as advanced as the LCA Tejas, but the JF-17 has succeeded in entering service, while the LCA Tejas is nothing but a paper tiger.

    Scaled up J10 or not, it gives us confidence that the PAF will get a 5th Gen fighter soon.

  • by Joseph
    Posted December 9, 2017 6:17 am 0Likes

    I guess you are new here. JF-17 is widely known as further developed MiG-33.

    You can get this information even from MiG-33 wikipedia:

  • by MT
    Posted December 9, 2017 11:58 am 0Likes

    With respect to india, it is lagging high altitude test bed facilities for engine .

    The program is under development at HAL koraput and it indeed cost 300 mill $ to set it up

  • by Nasir
    Posted December 9, 2017 12:05 pm 0Likes

    The truth is that in spite of all the comfort it provides the nation, Pakistan does not have the resources to engage in a defense production/procurement plan which matches blow for blow with her neighbors. I would argue that such a course of action will not only end up in bankruptcy of Pakistan, but it will also divert precious and scarce resources to the empower of the military thus depriving the rest of the country to be ever able to produce necessary human resources and infra-structure to ever become an industrialized country.

    Pakistan military is already a big drain of Pakistan at the cost of development of the nation. You can see the interference of the military into the civilian matters, including making statements on the state of the economy, the more funds they are awarded they more capable they become lean on the population, which is a snowballing effect. This does not mean any increase in the capability in defending Pakistan when a large external threat materializes. Historical can back this assertion of Pakistan military failing in the face of external threats time and again.

    I think it will be best to invest in symmetrical defense doctrines, instead of blow for blow acquisition of expensive equipment. Sometimes you have to think differently.

    I would like to Bilal to comment on the wisdom of trying to match our military threats with blow for blow equipment, when the national kitty is almost empty, the State Bank is considering devaluing the Rupee, and we have a population explosion.

    Best regards,


  • by Nasir
    Posted December 9, 2017 12:19 pm 0Likes

    Buying from Turkey is a rather interesting choice, as Turkey is a NATO member. The engines and most of the avionics it uses are Western: so there are export/use prohibition. Furthermore, any maintenance/modification must be authorized which will simply not be forthcoming.

    China is the best of bad options. Pakistan meanwhile should try to invest in material research (alloys, pulling single crystals, composite materials) This i snot sexy, however with our low labor cost and extremely an large civilian market, we maybe able to generate revenues by producing parts or sub-assemblies for other markets. I see this as the only responsible course of action for a nation like Pakistan to develop. We are teeming with talent, people are hungry for progress.

    I honestly think that not a single country wants to occupy or take over Pakistan even if it offered to then free of cost. It is hard to feed 200 million people, with almost no resources. So we should not focus on short term emotional satisfaction. We have to think about what is best for the people that we do have.

    I honestly do not see Pakistan for the foreseeable future wining Kashmir by force. Best to look after people that already live in the country, develop them, become prosperous (if possible) and hope some people will not be restive, and those who live outside Pakistan (Kashmir) will want to do more with Pakistan.

    A strong economy leads to a bigger influence internationally.

    Something to think about.


  • by savyamalhotra
    Posted December 9, 2017 3:42 pm 0Likes

    Sir, can u explain what help Israel and U.S. contributed to LCA ?
    And the french contribution can’t be termed as help, it was a part of rafale offset deal that only to resurrect Kaveri engine which has no direct link to present and near future version of LCA.

  • by Dawar Ahmed
    Posted December 9, 2017 5:53 pm 0Likes

    One thing that goes unsaid often is the massive talent we have in form of offshore dual national Pakistanis who are the world’s finest. There is no doubt about that. If Pakistan can reverse the brain drain when it comes to the select few by offering incentives and financial security that matches what they get outside, we are potentially looking at a complete package. Chinese can introduce the tech, these individuals can absorb and truly build on that and it becomes a complete package. That is how the U.S. also works. They suck the brain power of the world by offering a great living and sooner or later they become the backbone of emerging technologies. If this is already being done, we need to double down on this.

  • by Bilal Khan
    Posted December 9, 2017 7:38 pm 0Likes

    It’s tough to provide a complete comment in one post, but at heart, I agree: defence expenditure is a strain on the national exchequer, and while some of it can be mitigated via domestic production and support work, it has limited value to the overall economic system. That said, we’re not going to get much in the way of fixing the country by just targeting defence spending.

    Despite it being high in absolute terms (and relative terms for Pakistan), Pakistan’s defence expenditure vs. other powerful states is quite low and we’d be hard-pressed to find any fancy imports these days. Unlike Egypt, Pakistan isn’t importing top-line fighters or warships from Europe, but is trying to extract the biggest yield of every dollar available and to support domestic supply efforts, thus resulting not-so-fancy JF-17s, Chinese subs, etc. Moreover, this isn’t even being done with the aim of matching India set-for-set, but to fulfill specific operational requirements (e.g. A2/AD), so the thought process is already asymmetrical.

    IMO a measure of the responsibility should also be in the hands of the government, which has been entrusted with managing Pakistan’s macro-economic affairs. However, we can hardly say that this is being done well, the situation is plagued with corruption, inefficiencies and ambiguity. Yes, Pakistan’s security apparatus is also culpable from a policy and leadership standpoint, but I’d look at that separately from defence spending (except where even spending meant for defence is being wasted on bad imports, corruption and bad planning etc).

    Finally, my experience thus far with Pakistan is that the ‘correct’ things are literally said to every group … so that all are appeased, but in terms of action, no one except very few are actually satisfied, despite initially hearing what they want to hear from the promise-makers. My point here is that I am all for making real trade-offs and sacrifices, but it has to be done by a sincere, responsible and accountable leadership.

  • by Nasir
    Posted December 9, 2017 9:21 pm 0Likes

    Thanks for a well thought out reply.

    I had a typo in my 2nd last paragraph, I did not mean “symmetrical”, I meant “asymmetrical defense doctrines”.

    After I was commissioned in the PAF, I found out–during doing a course on familiarization on MPDR radars–that up until that time Pakistan relied exclusively on what was supplied to the country for its air defense. This meant that we had to use Radars which we were able to obtain, not Radars which would make sense for our country. There was no air defense doctrine!

    The situation has not changed much in last 30+ years. We still want fifth generation stealth fighters. If our CAS (my course mate) is right, along with a host of other officials that we only want to control our own airspace–how then do we justify the desire of a stealth fighter?

    After reading the Abbottabad commission report, which clearly states that Pakistan cannot protect aerial another attack deep inside Pakistan, how can he claim that Pakistan has the ability to shoot down drones? Drones have an almost negligible RCS.

    This type of talk is misleading, irresponsible, and treats our own civilian with undeserved contempt (corroborating the finding of CAS’s arrogance by the same commission).

    The truth is that Pakistan does not have the ability to stop any aerial incursion, which are undertaken by an advanced platform.

    Such macho declarations to the nation is not a wise course of action. It turns people sour, when things actually go south. Things like denying claims that Submarine Ghazi’s sinking was not true, when it was actually a fact. The case when we were winning the war in East Pakistan until we lost it overnight. At least in my personal case finding out the out the truth was the biggest factor in my developing an extreme distrust of all things Pakistan military. Most of the truth I learned about Pakistan was when I came to US and then correlating it to my own observations in the PAF. In Pakistan, we are like boiling frogs–not knowing until the end.

    This type of treatment of our citizens, is non-productive and instead of preparing the nation to pitch in to deal with our defense shortcomings. If people know how precarious our situation was, they will be more willing to address our problems rather than engage in political dissent and religious strife. This is exactly how Israel became a strong economically and militarily. They told their people that they lived in a dangerous neighborhood. They asked for help. They have mandatory military service. Any change in military or economic dynamic is shared with their citizens with adequate alarm. So people who live inside the country or expatriates respond with whatever they can do.

    When people are told that we are the greatest nation, and we are the strongest: this absolves religious leaders and crooked politicians from taking on any responsibility for to defend the country: instead, they show their leadership by engaging in disruptive activities.

    Transparency is the best policy if you want to get somewhere together with your population. We have to inform our public and ask them for help.

    We need to tell people the truth so that we can motivate them to develop our human resources. If we inform them of our weaknesses we can then ask them for help to protect the nation.

    When we lie, and do not even ask them to help, why should they do help?

    I am a strong believer in personal responsibility and discharge of civic obligations and volunteering. Not only we are literally bankrupt, we are not even asking our people to help pitch in out of some strange sense of pride. We cannot continue to treat our citizens like children. A shared threat of danger brings people together, I experienced it during the 65 and 71 wars. a nation should have a common cause: the first is survival!



  • by Bilal Khan
    Posted December 9, 2017 9:37 pm 0Likes

    One unfortunate issue with Pakistan is that Pakistanis have limited say in the shaping of foreign policy and national security. Yes, the government and armed forces leadership will try to nominally reflect popular sentiment with regards to Kashmir, Palestine and other issues. However, when it comes to actually determining the steps we ought to take to deal with these issues, our opinions – including the nuanced ones – aren’t taken into account, much less used to help shape policy action.

  • by Amir Timur
    Posted December 10, 2017 10:06 am 0Likes

    The newer Tejas will features Israeli radars and American engines. The future variant will also boast of a Elta (Israeli) radar that is improved upon with cooperation from India.
    It’s wrong to get upset at such details. No matter how jingoist Pakistanis and Indians get about their fighters, it is foolish to assume that practically all subsystems employed in their weapons platforms will be locally developed. Both the Thunder and the LCA are perhaps the first combat systems that either country has tried it’s hands on to build locally. Compare that to other fourth generation platforms, say the F 16 or Eurofighter Typhoon. Despite being projects led by premier technological powers, both have involved international cooperation to an extent that several major subsystems in either fighter are supplied by or co-developed with other nations. No one country has control over the technology.
    Now, the Tejas is a brilliant fighter, yes. But it is not just a question of brilliance when asked to the IAF, it is a question of viability as well. The painful delay in the maturation of the aircraft, along with the popping up of better competitors has led to a debate in Indian discussion circles. Given that the F-16 deal has already been sealed, with large orders probable, whether or not the project will continue is also a matter of concern. Coupled with the acquisition of a large number of Rafales, India is unlikely to feed a project that fails to impress it’s IAF enough. The likelihood of India going for foreign solutions is very possible, given the ever increasing allocation of resources by the government and a pressure to scale up aggression by the general public. If that means killing the Tejas, then Pakistanis should be happier.
    Why, you may ask? Because despite all the chatter, the F 16, with so many subsystems from so many countries, won’t make it easy to gain the valuable technological depth sought by India. The components that the US does control, might be accompanied with a ToT, but critical technologies, such as the engines won’t be part of such transfers. Why would western giants shoot themselves in the foot by supporting a nation which will, in the near future, very likely mass produce competing platforms and reduce their domination on the global arms market?
    Therefore, coming developments will spell out a lot about the future of India’s defense industry. Does it give in to fancy western technology and appease the US of A? Or does it genuinely pursue an ambition to become a global arms seller, which might result in some immediate shortcomings for it’s fighting force in the short term?
    Speaking of Pakistan and the JF-17, I’d say it’s future block 3 will definitely change matters for it’s air force. But if it pushes for a block 4 or block 5, with deeper transfer of technology and local manufacturing, then we’re talking. Also, Pakistan’s defense production is marred not only by financial constraints, at least not always. The essence of cordiality of foreign relations and a decent international image also plays into this as a crucial factor. Remember, Pakistan had paid for the F-16s that it never received, and was even billed for the storage service charges of a product it never received because of it’s unwillingness to let go of it’s nuclear ambitions. This is the exact necessity which gave birth to the JF-17, and avoiding this desperation is the primary purpose of the project. But if Pakistan is lucky and manoeuvres through the near future, evading American pressure and probable sanctions, it can ensure that the project does not remain restricted to Chinese technology, which is not inferior, but generally reverse engineered. Diversifying the sources of the technology by building relations similar to the Sino-Pak strategic cooperation with South Africa, Turkey, Italy, Brazil and others is key.

  • by savyamalhotra
    Posted December 10, 2017 12:22 pm 0Likes

    Very mature comment sir, but I responded to the person who was saying India got help from other countries he obviously doesn’t know the differnce between technical cooperation(as in Fgfa or JF-17)and off the shelf purchases( Like SU-30 or F-16s )

  • by TZK
    Posted December 10, 2017 3:40 pm 0Likes

    One has to weigh up different threats be they social, economic or defensive and plan accordingly. Economy has always been the weakest link in the chain. In the short term things look bleak but in the long term with CPEC and potential trade with central Asian nations and Iran it is possible that Pak economy will prosper. But to do that they need to develop an economy that can take advantage of this opportunity. The Govt needs to proactively manage this and not leave it to private enterprise. In relation to population explosion Pak needs to improve its educational system for both boys and girls with a science and technology bias. With defence I think that the nuclear umbrella, the triad, land sea and air capability for delivery should provide sufficient deterrence. For cold start doctrine I think Pak already has a solution. Also with CPEC China will have an interest in any conflict and also shares borders so everything is not bleak.

  • by Manju
    Posted December 10, 2017 3:43 pm 0Likes

    “sending Pakistani astronauts into space in the next two years.”… Hmmmmmm… Sounds interesting especially when that’s coming from a Air Force Chief not a National Space Agency(SUPARCO). Moreover, I guess that would make them the first Pakistani ever to visit Space. Interesting!!

  • by ali amanat
    Posted December 10, 2017 5:02 pm 0Likes

    Brother such bold statements by any commander can change the whole scenario and national behaviour to achieve any desired goal.

  • by MT
    Posted December 11, 2017 9:25 am 0Likes

    Both the countries have different policies and goals with respect to aeronautics industry.

    Pakistan aeronautics engineering current capabilities will be at par with Indian industry of 90s .that was the period during which dozen DRDO labs has started working seriously on Tejas subsystem design and development.

    Tejas may not achieve big sales order but current orders of 120 for it to be manufactured in next 7-8 yrs will be sufficient to keep indian Pvt sector learning and developing home grown subsystem. 60-70% of Tejas equipment is sourced locally most from the private ecosystem . HAL work has been limited to integration of large assembly, weapons and testing

    IAF wants the best fighter aircraft from West but Tejas is meant to replace mig21 and mig27 with 4th gen platform.

    Whatever IAF decides be it Gripen, f16 ; Tejas development and value addition ll not stop. HaL has enough funds to spend 100mill$ yrly on Tejas r&d which ll slowly fix the various shortcomings of the platform.
    It has almost completed the high altitude engine testing facility at cost of 300mill$ without charging any money from govt.

    50% offset from rafale with some TOT on Kaveri engine , stealth coating and painting technology has been promised by french companies. Eventually France has to spend 5bill $ offset on indian companies who are mainly involved in Tejas, Su30, mig 29 upgrades.

    Leverage is very important in tech transfer. India’s Kaveri turbofan has afterburner thrust of 78-80kN so french snecmma has agreed to help and believes that engine can be certified with 20% efforts.
    DRDO Uttam aesa radars miniturization is on going that’s why Israel Elta has agreed to share critical software and subsystem of Elta 2052.

    Indian govt is not so lame that it ll kill it’s home grown platform for screw driven assembly of f16. It’s also very likely that India ll order 80 -120 more rafale and get large share of Dassault technology being built in India with high level french consultation on AMCA( India’s 5th gen platform)

    For Pakistan, jf17 indeed brings project delegated management, higher order control, basic learning experience of partnership with reliable nonwestern companies in China providing it some sort of assembling experience with airframes. I may not agree that China ll offer any significant technology to Pakistan. Pak is solely dependent on China and It hasn’t spent resources in r&d so perhaps Pak has no leverage to squeeze much .. ofcourse it may get 100%assembly but direct technology transfer is almost impossible in today world.

  • by Nasir
    Posted December 11, 2017 11:02 am 0Likes

    If you mean that Pakistan government does it only on policy level, I agree without hesitation. However, governments are inefficient in doing anything in practice, so if they indulge in physical undertaking of the tasks you mention, they will still be repeating the mistakes of the past.

    I used to think that Pakistani nuclear effort would ensure that with a credible deterrent Pakistan will be able to reduce its conventional military and thus its expense to the nation. As it turns out, the military had different ideas. It does not seem possible to me that Pakistani military will ever let go of the death grip it has on Pakistan’s economy or its internal political influence. Which is kind of sad.

    If anyone here has served in military themselves, they can understand the low level of education, training, and sycophancy which are the hallmark of our defense forces. They only one they can credibly threaten is Pakistanis themselves.

    Imagine military conducting admission tests to professional schools: is there any equivalent intrusion anywhere in the world?

    Military is supposed to defend the citizens from external threats, as efficiently as possible. Our military is de facto (as well as de jure) occupying force in Pakistan.

    We cannot count on CPEC to do anything. I think the Chinese are going to take 97% of the revenues while Pakistan will take its grand share of only 03% of this revenue. I wonder if such a deal is really to anyone’s benefit. I don’t know what the projections are. However, from a commonsense heuristic, a business is viable if it makes 20% return on investment. If the total investment is 50 billion, they can expect a profit of 10 billion per year if it is a successful enterprise. 0.3% of which is a measly 300 million a year. That is if all the projections are accurate.

    A country with a population of 200 million will earn $1.5 per capita. Does it sound like a path to prosperity? surely it does not look that way to me. In exchange for this Pakistan will also have to spend her own money to protect this corridor with actual security deployment, which costs more money. It will also open itself up for attacks of otherwise uninterested parties like Indians and Iranians. So we will increase our security risk, expect to appease politicians and provinces about sharing downstream profits. Put the country’s security at risk. Hire more troops and equipment, suffer any environmental damage. All in exchange for 300 million years a year.

    The Chinese do not hire local workers to do complete their projects, they import their own labor. So if we think that there will be any boost in local jobs, we have to understand how it will come about.

    Sure some people, who had insider knowledge, will benefit from speculative land sale, but it is not the case of rising all boats. Common people are unlikely to share in these benefits.

    I wish I was not this negative in my outlook but I think it is worth someone asking these deal makers to justify proposal. I don’t mean in gossip level, I mean real projections, with backing of some neutral auditing report which is not partisan.

    I have been hearing about this CPEC for sometimes, and I have never heard of any real numbers. I know it is very reassuring for people in distress, but we have to remember that rumors do not translate into prosperity.

    May I request that this comment should not be trashed.


  • by Nasir
    Posted December 11, 2017 2:23 pm 0Likes


    You mean put the incoming chief under pressure to deliver the what is
    not possible? We Pakistani’s have a way leaving our young ones with unnecessary burdens.Frankly, it was an irresponsible statement.

  • by TZK
    Posted December 11, 2017 4:57 pm 0Likes

    Probably over ambitious to develop a FGF when the JF-17 has not been upgraded to 4.5 gen level even with Chinese help. I suspect a similar experience to the Indians with their FGFA partnership with Russia awaits Pak. At least India has the means to go out and buy a 4.5 gen fighter to cover their needs, Pak cannot even do that.

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