Kamra: The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) unveiled the latest addition to its fleet – the next-generation Chinese J-10C fighter jets – during the induction ceremony attended by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the three services chiefs, Chinese ambassador and others at the Minhas Air Base, Kamra.
Prime Minister Imran Khan congratulated the nation on the historic occasion of the induction of J-10C aircraft, emphasising that a country could not remain free and independent until it was able to defend itself.
The prime minister said that Pakistan had full confidence in its armed forces that possessed the capabilities of the highest degree to defend the country. “We are confident that if anyone makes an aggressive move against Pakistan, it would be retaliated by the armed forces with full force,” he added.
Developed by China’s state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the J-10C is an all-weather, single-engine, single-seat, multi-role, fourth-plus generation fighter jet. Also known as Vigorous Dragon, according the AVIC, it can rival French Rafale jet.
Premier Imran thanked China for delivering the jets to Pakistan in a short period of eight months. He expressed his satisfaction over PAF fully equipping itself on the lines of modern and indigenous technology. “Pakistan is heading in the right direction towards development and prosperity.”
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmad Babar Sidhu said the PAF was prepared and skilled to deter any aggression of the enemy. He added that the J-10C was a fully integrated weapon, avionic and combat system and its induction would further strengthen the PAF’s professional capabilities.
Earlier, the prime minister reviewed the guard of honour from a PAF contingent. Flanked by three services chiefs, he also inspected the J-10C aircraft and sat in the cockpit where he was given a briefing about the jet. The guests then witnessed a thrilling flypast of various formations of aircraft.
The formations included the newly inducted J-10C, F-16s, JF-17s and Mirage that showcased a sophisticated array of avionics and weaponry. After the flypast, the prime minister witnessed the landing of five J-10C aircraft that have been inducted in the 15 Squadron.
The J-10C can be equipped with a bigger active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar than the one used by the JF-17 Block 3. The aircraft can carry more advanced, fourth-generation air-to-air missiles, including the short-range PL-10 and the beyond-visual-range PL-15.
China’s Global Times reported that the official commissioning of the J-10C into the PAF was yet another major milestone, as it marked the systematised organic export of the country’s advanced aviation equipment to Pakistan.
The J-10C is capable of striking multiple targets from beyond visual range under complex electromagnetic environment, and can deliver precision attacks on ground targets with multiple guidance modes, the AVIC said.
Equipped with advanced comprehensive avionics and weapon systems, the aircraft boasts of outstanding mid-to-low altitude combat manoeuvrability, supersonic flight, short-range take-off and landing, large combat radius, long range and mid-air refuelling capabilities.
“The J-10C is not only more powerful than the lightweight JF-17 because of its bigger size, it is also more powerful than Pakistan’s old US-made F-16 fighter,” Shi Hong, the executive chief editor of the Chinese magazine, Ship-borne Weapons, told the Global Times in a previous interview.
However, Shi added, Pakistan’s J-10C would not replace the JF-17, but form a combination, leading to higher combat capabilities. The J-10C is not the only advanced weapon system delivered by China to Pakistan recently. In January, Pakistan Navy inducted its first Type 054A/P frigate.
Photos of the PAF’s J-10Cs show that the aircraft were equipped with China’s domestically developed WS-10 engines, and the aircraft also came with China’s most powerful short-range combat missile, the PL-10, and China’s most powerful beyond-visual-range-missile, the PL-15. APP