Pakistan Air Force: A Power to Reckon With
By Raja G Mujtaba
What PAF lacks in quantity makes up in quality, professionalism and through induction of force multipliers. In the past few years, PAF has taken some quantum leaps in upgrading its fighting machine.
On December 13, a simple but impressive arrival ceremony to mark the completion of final batch of PAF’s new F-16 C/D Block 52+ aircraft from USA was held at PAF Base, Shahbaz (Jacobabad).Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force and US Ambassador to Pakistan, Mr Cameron Munter were present on the occasion. A number of PAF and US officials attended the ceremony. Arrival of the last batch completes the delivery of F-16s C/D Block 52 models, which Pakistan had contracted for the PAF.
Air Chief while addressing at the occasion said, “F-16s have proved to be a game changer in our fight against extremism and terrorism. It has brought quick, decisive and least expensive success, with negligible or no collateral damage when employed in South Waziristan, Swat, Bajaur, Orakzai and Kurram agencies of FATA. The mission of PAF is to maintain peace with honor in the region. We live in volatile and uncertain times, in such environment it is a difficult mission. However, our commitment and resolve to defend Pakistan is unshakable”. He further added “Whenever required, PAF will employ all assets and resources at its disposal, including these aircraft to defend the nation against external and internal threas”. Speaking at the occasion, US Ambassador said, “These advanced fighters are enormously significant and powerful tools. These aircraft will help your forces to protect your people and will serve legitimate defence needs of Pakistan. Let no one question this: you are in a tough fight. And let no one doubt that America stands with you”. He further added “Our governments share a positive vision of partnership – one founded on shared values, common interests, and mutual respect. On this foundation rests America’s clear and comprehensive commitment to the well-being and progress of the people of Pakistan”.
PAF is in the process of rapidly operationalizing the new fighter aircraft. In this regard a select group of PAF Airmen had been given training on the new weapon system in the USA earlier this year. A re-equipment ceremony of F-16 C/D Block 52 aircraft squadron is planned to be held in near future.
PAF is a unique Air Force of this region that has shown her prowess against some reputed powers like Soviet Union, Israel and India. In 1965 war, Indian Air Force was literally written off.
PAF is working relentlessly to replace and upgrade its weapon systems that are more lethal and cost effective. JF 17, that has been developed with Chinese collaboration is now being manufactured at PAF Kamra. These jet fighters have been inducted in service in a record time and are fast catching the eye of the world market for its performance and price.