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IDEAS 2018: Pakistan Air Force is Seeking a Lead-in Fighter Trainer

In one of the surprise news items during the 2018 International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS), the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) revealed plans for a new lead-in fighter-trainer (LIFT).

Since 2015, the PAF leadership had continually maintained that it did not require a LIFT, often stating that such platforms are too expensive to operate or too sophisticated for the intended role. However in 2018, the current PAF leadership reportedly stated that a new LIFT was on its procurement roadmap.

At IDEAS 2018, the Italian defence giant Leonardo displayed a mock-up of its M-346 Master LIFT aircraft,while the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) displayed a mock-up of its L-15. One of the PAF’s key requirements is that the LIFT include an afterburning engine.

This was a recent decision. In the Ministry of Defence Production’s (MoDP) annual yearbook for 2016 to 2017,the PAF did not list a LIFT as part of its procurement plans in 2017-2018.

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