The Pakistan Air Force on Friday formally inducted the Chinese-made J-10C multi-role fighter aircraft during a ceremony held at Minhas Air Base, Kamra.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, along with other federal ministers, service chief, and the Chinese ambassador, attended the induction ceremony of the single-engine fighter jet at the special invitation of Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmad Babar.
The premier congratulated the nation on the induction of the new multi-role fighter aircraft and also thanked China for delivering the fighter jets to Pakistan in a short period of eight months.
“When F-16s were inducted 40 years ago, the whole nation was jubilant and now that time has come again as Pakistan is strengthening itself. There was an attempt to create an imbalance in the region however, the induction of the fighter aircraft has again created an equilibrium,” he said.
He also expressed confidence that any aggressor would pay a heavy price for testing Pakistan’s defence capabilities.
“A message went to the entire world after Pakistan’s response to the Balakot attack that we have full capability to defend ourselves,” the premier said and added that the real strength of the armed forces is a united nation with a synchronized vision.
“We have fought a very difficult war on terror. But, the message was conveyed to the entire world that we can defend ourselves,” said the premier as he lauded the armed forces and the people of the country.
After viewing the newly-inducted combat aircraft’s display, the premier expressed confidence that no state or actor could pressurise Pakistan in any manner.
“A sovereign country can only remain sovereign when it can defend itself,” the prime minister said. The prime minister also acknowledged and appreciated the No 15 Squadron of the PAF for expediting the induction of the J-10C aircraft in record time.
“As our wealth increases, our first priority is to uplift the poor of the country through various programmes such health cards and Ehsaas. The second is to strengthen our defence,” the PM said.
Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Babar said the PAF was prepared and skilled to deter any aggression of the enemy. He said the JC-10 was a fully integrated weapon, avionic and combat system and its induction into the PAF would further strengthen its professional capabilities.
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 also carry more advanced, fourth-generation air-to-air missiles including the short-range PL-10 and the beyond-visual-range PL-15.
Chinese analysts have lauded the latest defence cooperation between China and Pakistan, saying that the move holds great significance for both countries as it boosts the combat capabilities of the Pakistani military, promotes China’s aviation equipment, and serves regional security interests.
“The J-10C will significantly enhance the combat capabilities of the Pakistan Air Force,” Chinese analysts said.
“The J-10C is a 4.5-generation medium-sized fighter jet and is more powerful than the China-Pakistan jointly developed lightweight fighter jet, the JF-17, which is currently in service with the Pakistan Air Force,” Shipborne Weapons Executive Chief Editor Shi Hong had told the Global Times.
Where previously the aging F-16C Fighting Falcon was considered Pakistan’s top fighter in air to air combat, it is set to be relegated to third place behind the JF-17 Block 3 and the J-10C with the J-10 being the country’s most capable fighter by a considerable margin.