The dominant requirement for deep attack in a major regional conflict is to strike the enemys centers of gravity and to do it rapidly, accurately, and with intensity. (Centers of gravity, in the parlance of modern strategy, are those critical points in the opponents order of battle and infrastructure against which the use of force has greater effect than if the same force were applied elsewhere. These targets tend to lie deep in enemy territory.)
The objective is to attack these centers of gravity “in parallel”–all of them at once–rather than serially. The capability to do that is new and growing.
To address Pakistan’s deep strike needs Pakistan Air Force is also considering acquiring a fighter jet of similar capability.
According to The Diplomat Magazine article, PAF should consider the Chinese JH-7 Fighter-Bomber to address PAF Deep Strike Needs.
However here are various Reasons why PAF doesn’t need JH-7 for deep strike:
1. In Today’s World Deep Penetration (Deep Strike) (Land & Sea) can be achieved through various types of Stand-Off Munitions. (H-4 or Takbeer bombs used by PAF to Strike Indian Military Targets during Operation Swift Retort 2019).
2. A Strike aircraft operating in Contested Airspace (In Pakistan’s Case “India”) has to be recovered. (which means it Needs Cover or Back up from Multirole Aircrafts)
3. A Stand-Off Weapon (SOW) can be released from a safe distance & does not need to be recovered. (Strike Aircraft Needs Recovery).
4. SOW is a small target(Hard to detect or Intercept by Air Defence), thus making their Mid-Course Interception next to impossible. (PAF’s Operation Swift Retort proves this Point).
5. SOW matches the Operational Range of Strike Aircrafts – i.e. 500-600 Km for Raad-II. (A newer version of RA’AD is also under development Ranges 900 Km).
6. SOWs are autonomous thus they do not require a man in the loop, thus no casualties & no political fallout.
7. SOW is much cheaper (Cost) than the Air Defence System) (Like S-400) required to intercept it, thus making it economically viable. Moreover, Strike Aircraft are expensive. ( Procurement & Operational Cost). In JH-7 case its Dual Engine.
8. PAF Mirages are in excellent condition thanks to PAC Kamra & don’t require any sort of immediate replacement. Moreover, Egyptian Horus (Mirage-Vs) are also coming to complement PAF’s current Mirage Fleet.
9. PAF’s JF-17 Thunders will be integrated with RA’AD in the near future thus increasing PAF’s Deep Strike Capability. For Sea Thunder uses C-802A & CM-400AKG.