Pakistan today officially introduced the J-10C multirole fighter jets, acquired from its all-weather ally China, into its air force to enhance the country’s combat capabilities.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed a ceremony held at Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Base Minhas Kamra in Attock District, Pakistani Punjab, to induct new jet aircraft.
“Unfortunately, efforts are being made to create an imbalance in the region and to address this, a big addition was made today to our defense system,” he said, apparently referring to the acquisition by India of Rafale fighter jets to France.
Imran Khan described it as a big move for Pakistan after about 40 years when US-supplied F-16s were inducted into the Pakistan Air Force.
He also thanked China for delivering the plane in a short time of about eight months when it often takes years to acquire modern jets.
In a veiled reference to India, Imran Khan said any country should think twice before harboring aggression against Pakistan, saying the armed forces were well equipped and trained to deal with any threat.
Air Chief of Staff Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Babar Sidhu said the JC-10 is a fully integrated weapons, avionics and combat system and that its introduction into the PAF would further strengthen his professional capacities.
The new jet can be fitted with a larger active electronically scanned array radar (AESA) than that used by the JF-17 Block 3, and it can also carry more advanced fourth-generation air-to-air missiles, including the short – PL-10 range and the PL-15 out-of-screen range.
The J-10C is a 4.5 generation medium-sized fighter aircraft and is more powerful than the light combat aircraft jointly developed by China and Pakistan, the JF-17, currently used by the PAF.
Pakistan had announced the presentation of the new jet on March 23 during the annual Defense Day Parade. The exact number of planes supplied by China so far is not known.
Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said in December that Pakistan had acquired “a full squadron of 25 Chinese J-10C multi-role fighter jets to counter India’s purchase of Rafale jets. “.
The minister told reporters in his hometown of Rawalpindi that a full squadron of 25 all-weather aircraft including J-10Cs will attend the Pakistan Day ceremony on March 23 this year.
Many experts believe the J-10C is Pakistan’s answer to the Rafale jets.
The J-10C aircraft was part of the joint Pak-China exercise in 2020, where Pakistani experts had the opportunity to take a close look at the fighter jets. The joint exercises began on December 7 in Pakistan and lasted about 20 days, with China sending warplanes including J-10C, J-11B, KJ-500 early warning planes and warplanes electronic Y-8, while Pakistan participated with the JF-17 and Mirage III fighter jets.
Pakistan had a fleet of US-made F-16s, but was looking for a new all-weather multirole jet to bolster its defense after India bought Rafale jets from France.
Almost six years ago, India signed an intergovernmental agreement with France for the purchase of 36 Rafale jets under a 59,000 crore deal to boost the combat capabilities of the Indian Air Force.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)