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Changing Dynamics of Air Warfare in South Asia by KAISER TUFAIL

Changing Dynamics of Air Warfare in South Asia



Kaiser Tufail




The Balakot strike by IAF on 26 February 2019, and PAF’s ‘Swift Retort’ a day later, can be considered watershed events in modern aerial warfare. Though the IAF strike was beset with technical snags, including failure of stand-off bombs to guide themselves to the target due to faulty terrain elevation data, it was able to deliver the ordnance – albeit, in the pine forests – from as far as 40 km away.  Interception of ingressing IAF fighters threw up a new conundrum:  flying in their own territory, the hostile intentions of the fighters could not be read in advance and they could not be fired at, lest Pakistan be accused of unprovoked aggression.  After weapons release, the IAF aircraft rapidly turned back, and could not be chased for fear of violating international rules of engagement, as the release of bombs – and the breach of peace – was discovered only after some time.













PAF retaliated within 30 hours of the IAF strike in broad daylight, and hit Indian military targets with stand-off bombs, staying well within own territory.  The sizeable strike package including its escorts, as well as the accompanying fighter sweep aircraft swamped the Indian air defence radar scopes, and the patrolling Su-30 aircraft were promptly vectored towards the PAF swarm.  Sooner the PAF strike fighters had delivered the bombs and turned around, the F-16s and JF-17s swept the skies, with very useful support from data-linked AEWC and ground radars, as well as from own formation members.  The pilots were glued to their multi-function displays streaming vital information and firing cues.  It was as if a whole squadron was playing a mass video game in the skies.  With excellent situational awareness, and the adversary in disarray, an F-16 fired a BVR AMRAAM (AIM-120C) at an approaching Su-30.  Whether the aircraft survived with nil or minor damage, or was hit critically remains moot, but the missile coming from nowhere and exploding in the vicinity resulted in complete panic amongst the IAF aircraft.  The patrolling IAF Mirage 2000s too seemed shell-shocked, and did not enter the fray; MiG-21 Bisons on ground alert had, therefore, to be scrambled. All this time PAF’s airborne and ground jammers were at work, and the IAF pilots and air defence controllers were thrown into total confusion. As one of the scrambled MiGs appeared on the radar scope of an F-16, another AMRAAM was fired, which shot the MiG out of the sky, the pilot surviving by a whisker and parachuting in to Pakistani territory.

The mission flown by the PAF was unique in many ways. The ground targets had been identified and prepared well in advance for exactly such an eventuality. The pilots had routinely practised flying in large packages, with ECM support and comprehensive situational awareness provided by AEWC aircraft. BVR missiles were used in the Indo-Pak scenario for the first time;  interestingly, close combat situations did not crop up for the classic dogfighters like PAF’s F-16 and IAF’s Mirage 2000, for instance.  It was manifest that BVR combat had taken precedence over close combat, if not rendering it completely obsolete.  A fighter in any future conflict must, therefore, have both long and short range missile firing capabilities, along with the associated sensors like radars, threat warning systems, and data links.  PAF could do well by urgently replacing its legacy fighters with ‘home-grown’ JF-17s (especially the upcoming Block III version), which have all the desirable attributes at an affordable cost.

For surface attack, stand-off capabilities were demonstrated by both air forces, and the safety of attacking aircraft was clearly highlighted. Accuracy of the attacks was, however, not achieved for different reasons:  the IAF suffering from faulty terrain data being fed into the bombs’ guidance system, and PAF being constrained by political considerations to prevent escalation by avoiding direct hits on military targets. In any case, the efficacy of stand-off weapon delivery was unmistakably validated, and it is certain that this is likely to be the mode of choice in any future conflict. An aircraft not having such a weapon delivery capability should be considered redundant for surface attack missions.

With IAF having the initiative, and PAF finding itself in a reactive mode, the latter’s full operational preparedness clearly saved the day. The whole operation was over within 48 hours, and deployment of strike elements of ground forces did not take place.  It became amply clear that air forces offer the best and swiftest means of retribution under a nuclear overhang, as the relatively slow positioning of ground troops to their operational areas is fraught with the possibility of being stymied, due to international pressure.  PAF’s tour de force will, thus, serve as a model for dealing with any future Indian military action that is punitive in nature.  PAF’s preparedness must continue to be refined, as IAF is expected to iron out the hitches that dogged its operations during the failed Balakot strike.

It is to be noted that after a disastrous showing by IAF on the 26th and 27th February, the Indian government unwisely decided to even the score by deploying – conceivably, for employing – Surface-to-Surface Missiles (SSMs) against targets in Pakistan.  Apparently, this measure was aimed at preventing further fighter losses at the hands of the PAF that was perceived by the IAF as being technically superior.  Exercise of the rash and senseless decision to deploy SSMs could well have been misconstrued by Pakistan, and a catastrophic exchange could have followed between nuclear-armed neighbours.  The Government of Pakistan, as well as its armed forces, should treat it as a textbook lesson in regional conflict escalation dynamics, and must remain cognisant of such developments in any future conflict.

With the Rubicon having been crossed after the Balakot raid, use of IAF fighters to compliment the usual artillery shelling across the Line of Control, is likely to be the new norm for intimidating Pakistan.  While PAF’s response is likely to be as swift as it was on 27 February, decision-making by the politico-military leadership may be complicated by a host of prevailing factors, both internal and external.  It is therefore imperative that meetings of the National Security Council and Joint Staff Headquarters are conducted regularly, and key decision-makers are kept posted about the developments so that there are no surprises.  The government must be fully aware that for the PAF to react as swiftly as it did in the recent skirmish, there will be a premium on prompt and smart decision-making.  It is also important to note that what starts as a single service response (by the PAF), could rapidly morph into a wider war; as such, over-dependence on the PAF could be fraught with risks, and a joint services response must continue to remain the ultimate objective of the Pakistani government to any aggression.




This article was published in Pakistan Politico, December 2019 Special Issue and in Defence Journal, January 2020 issue.

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Pakistan Air Force ordered to shoot down US drones by RT

Pakistan Air Force ordered to shoot down US drones







Pakistani Air Force ordered to shoot down US drones
Pakistan’s Air Force (PAF) commander has reportedly ordered to take down drones violating the country’s sovereignty, including that of the US.

Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman also recalled a historic breach of trust incident over a batch of US-made F-16’s which Pakistan paid for, but never received. The jabs against America, a key ally, came Thursday in a speech Aman delivered at a ceremony of aviation students gathered in Islamabad. The top military official praised Pakistan’s air prowess, saying their forces are prepared to defend the sovereignty of the country.

“We committed a mistake in Osama bin Laden’s case but now the country’s sovereignty will be protected at all costs,” he told an audience at the AirTech 17 expo at the Air University. Aman was referring to the CIA-led US commando raid in May 2011, which involved a cross-border flight of Black Hawk helicopters from Jalalabad, Afghanistan to Abbottabad, Pakistan. The Pakistanis were not informed about the planned assassination beforehand, which sparked outrage in the country.

“We will not allow anyone to violate our airspace,” Aman said as cited by The Times of India, adding, that he has ordered the PAF “to shoot down drones, including those of the US, if they enter our airspace, violating the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The US flies drone missions over Pakistan and conducts airstrikes on suspected militants in the turbulent tribal area on the border with Afghanistan. The practice has prompted outrage amongst Pakistanis because of the high death toll it effects on civilians.

“In the past, the drones have been attacking targets in Pakistan. Earlier it was perhaps with the detested approval of the government of Pakistan. But in the last couple of years, the government of Pakistan has not provided any such approval,” Talat Masood, a retired three-star general in the Pakistani army told RT.

Masood explained that Pakistan is forced to protect its sovereignty in order to avert an Arab Spring scenario witnessed throughout the years across the wider Middle East.

“In fact, at the moment there are some scribes in the New York press or in the Washington press who are predicting that if Pakistan does not draw the line of the United States of America, a Syria-like situation maybe created over here. This has raised the hackles in Pakistan, because Pakistan cannot allow its territory to be used by others to engineer in the name of democracy, any farcical moves which can destabilize the country,” he said.

Aman praised Pakistan’s aviation engineers and scientists, saying their expertise and brilliance means the country need not depend on foreign suppliers for military aircraft. He recalled the issue of the cancelled delivery of US-made F-16 fighter jets, for which Pakistan already paid a multi-million dollar down payment.

The episode illustrates the bumpy history of relations between Islamabad and Washington. In the ‘80s, the US needed Pakistani assistance to undermine Soviet troops in Afghanistan, pouring billions of dollars in cash and military aid into an “anti-Soviet jihad.”


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This, however, conflicted with US non-proliferation goals, since Pakistan was actively working on producing a nuclear weapon to counter arch-rival India’s newly acquired nuclear capability. US law prohibits providing any aid to a potential nuclear proliferator, so in order to keep Pakistan on its good side, a stop-gap solution was introduced – the 1985 Pressler Amendment.

Named after US Senator Larry Pressler, the legislation enabled a US president to certify to Congress that Pakistan was not developing nuclear weapons, and thus qualified for aid. The administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush did so for five years, despite intelligence to the contrary.

But in 1990, USSR troops were no longer in Afghanistan, and Pakistan’s value diminished in Washington. The non-proliferation sanctions then kicked into force, putting a stop to the ongoing deal to deliver 28 F-16’s to the PAF. Pakistan was not only denied the planes, for which it paid Lockheed Martin over $650 million, but also audaciously slapped with a $50,000 per month storage fee. Ironically, the annual payments to the US defense contractor for the withheld jets continued until 1993, as Pentagon officials were telling the Pakistanis that the warplanes would eventually be delivered.

The F-16’s eventually went to New Zealand while Pakistan and the US settled the dispute under Bill Clinton’s presidency, albeit via a partial compensation. In Pakistan, the story is perceived by many as a national humiliation, and an example as to why the Americans cannot be trusted. Denied the American fighter jets, Islamabad relied on China to develop a replacement, the CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder, which has been produced in both countries since the mid-2000s.

Chief Marshal Aman praised the JF-17 corroboration as testament to Pakistan’s technological capabilities, saying the aircraft is superior to the F-16 “in all regards”. He added that the PAF will soon produce a 5th generation warplane under Project Azm, and announced developments in a national space program and potential joint space exploration with China.

The anti-American tinted speech by Pakistan’s senior military commander comes amid a period of tense relations between Islamabad and Washington. President Donald Trump harshly criticized Pakistan in August as he was announcing his administration’s new strategy for Afghanistan. The accusations fueled Pakistani sentiment that Washington cannot be relied upon.

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Fighter Jet Variant Jointly Built by China, Pakistan Makes Debut Flight

Fighter Jet Variant Jointly Built by China, Pakistan Makes Debut Flight


Beijing: China has successfully launched an upgraded version of a fighter jet manufactured jointly with Pakistan that can be used for training in peacetime and for combat missions during wartime.

The dual-seat fighter trainer JF-17B is an upgraded version of the military aircraft JF-17.

The JF-17B was developed by Aviation Industry Corporation of China to meet the requirements of international customers and the global market, according to AVIC.

China and Pakistan jointly manufacture JF-17 Thunder – a lightweight and multi-role combat aircraft.

AVIC said in a statement that the plane, launched on Friday, can be used for training in peacetime and can also be used in combat missions during wartime.

The JF-17B climbed up and stayed in the air for about 26 minutes during its maiden flight and was witnessed by guests from home and abroad, reported state-run Xinhua news agency.


The debut flight symbolised a major milestone in the development of the JF-17 aircraft series, AVIC said.

Yang Wei, chief designer of the JF-17B, said the aircraft brings a new force to JF-17 family and will increase JF-17 series’ competitiveness in global market. AVIC said the JF-17B was developed in a market and customer-oriented manner and has achieved a balance among performance, quality, cost and market needs.

Sources with AVIC said the F-17B aircraft has received overseas orders during its development stage.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) said the jet underwent the test flight in Chengdu, where Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman was the chief guest.

The event was hosted by Aviation Industry Corporation of China Executive Vice President Li Yuhai.

“The JF-17B will further enhance the advanced combat training of PAF fighter pilots on this indigenous war fighting machine,” PAF said.

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Pakistan’s response to Indian Cold Start doctrine

Pakistan’s response to Indian Cold Start doctrine
January 14, 2011

 The Pakistan-specific Indian Cold Start doctrine has the potential to put the entire region into a quagmire of volatility and dismay. The threat of deterrence failure would increase if India operationalised its Cold Start Doctrine (CSD). The analyses of the level of funding allocated for the modernization of Indian armed forces and its endeavor to overcome its deficiencies show that India may operationalise CSD in next five to 10 years.

The Pakistan-specific Indian Cold Start doctrine has the potential to put the entire region into a quagmire of volatility and dismay. The threat of deterrence failure would increase if India operationalised its Cold Start Doctrine (CSD). The analyses of the level of funding allocated for the modernization of Indian armed forces and its endeavor to overcome its deficiencies show that India may operationalise CSD in next five to 10 years. Pakistan has responded strongly to the Indian Army chief’s rhetoric of facing Pakistan and China at the same time. 

In response to the Indian Army chief’s statement, Pakistan’s former Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC) Chairman General Tariq Majid said: “Leave alone China, General Deepak Kapoor knows very well what the Indian Army cannot and the Pakistan Army can pull off militarily…the Indian Army chief could not be so outlandish in strategic postulations to fix India on a self-destruct mechanism.” Pakistan’s rejection of Indian CSD is based on its military capabilities and its strategy of an offensive defence to counter such an aggressive attack. 

Pakistan has an active force of 620,000 men, with 5,28,000 reservists, and 1, 50,000 paramilitary troops. Pakistan armed forces are the seventh largest in the world. Its military strategy is based on geographical compulsions. Due to the lack of strategic depth, Pakistan military planners have to compete with this dilemma. Most of the population and industrial centers are close to the border with India. Lahore, the most important city and Karachi the port city and financial hub are at a distance of approximately 20 km and 160 km respectively from the Indian border making them vulnerable to Indian penetration. 

General Mirza Aslam Beg is accredited with the offensive defence concept, which was demonstrated in the exercise Zarb-e-Momin (Blow of the Believer), held in 1989. It involved almost three corps, two armoured brigades, two artillery divisions, one air defense division and Pakistan Air Force. General Beg said, “The exercise…made a radical departure from stereotype maneuvers and self-defeating concept of holding formations. Now our armed forces are fully tuned to fighting an offensive defence, with well-tested concepts and strategies, even in an environment where they may be outnumbered.” 

This concept provides quick preemptive strikes once a war begins in order to disrupt an enemy advance and inflict heavy damages. In addition, such actions are designed to gain strategically important enemy areas, which could be used as a bargaining chip after the ceasefire. To implement this concept, two strike corps backed by one defensive corps are to be used. It could be analysed that the concept of offensive defense is still there in Pakistan Army. 

From 1989, it has carried out many exercises to test and validate this concept. The recent war games by Pakistan Army and Pakistan Air Force are also a step forward towards articulating their abilities and capabilities to contradict any intrusion from air or land. To counter threats from India, Pakistan conducted Azm-I-Noh (New Resolve) military exercises and these are Pakistan’s biggest drills in 20 years. These exercises involved almost 50,000 troops. These war games were carried out in the Punjab and Sindh near the Indian border. These military exercises were a display of Pakistan Army’s preparedness to face the challenges in future. Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani claimed, “Pakistan Army cannot be caught unawares and is capable of responding to the challenge of India’s CSD…our army is fully prepared to give a “befitting response” to any “misadventure” from the eastern border.” 

istan air defense system can provide timely information about the movement of Indian aircraft and its army. There are two air defense commands in Pakistan – the PAF Air Defence Command and the Army Air Defence Command. The task of the PAF Air Defence Command is to defend and shield Pakistan’s air space and the Army Air Defence Command is assigned to defend selected army formations during the war. Pakistan Air Force has an advanced air defence system. 

Its main components are high and low looking mobile radars, integrated radar detection systems designed for high and low level interceptions using fighter aircraft, surface to air missiles (SAMs), radar operated automatic firing anti-aircraft guns and shoulder fired infra-red SAMs. At the Command and Control Centres, air defence controllers and their commanders maintain a round the clock vigil scanning the air space for possible air intruders. After detection and identification of intruder, jet fighters are scrambled within minutes and directed to intercept or destroy it as necessary.


In recent times, Pakistan has inducted Spada 2000 air defense system to the Pakistan Air Force. The deal for 10 batteries was worth $656.56 million over five years. Spada 2000 has 60 kilometer range radar and two firing sections, each containing two missile launchers with six Aspide 2000 missiles each. The missiles have an intercept range of more than 20 kilometers. This system has enhanced Pakistan’s air defense capabilities and it can counter any aggressive air attack by the enemy. Pakistan also produces unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance and reconnaissance purposes. Pakistan Air Force has two UAV squadrons and is looking to build up to six. Pakistan can use such UAVs in the sensitive areas near the border with India to keep check on any movement by the Indian forces.


This capability will provide Pakistan with more space and time to counter the Indian CSD. In 2009, Pakistan inducted Saab-2000 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) Aircraft into its fleet. This system has enabled the PAF to detect all aircraft taking off from and landing at all forward Indian airbases adjacent to Pakistan and also to identify the type of aircraft, their weapons systems, vector and altitude. In addition to that, the radar capabilities and range of the system enable the operator to receive an early warning in case of pre-emptive attacks from across the border.


PAF would get three more AEW&C aircraft in 2010 under $866 million deal. This deal will make air defence more effective and bring about a major change in its operational concept and employment. Pakistan military used its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets i.e. UAVs, aerial imageries and early warnings in the Azm-I-Noh exercise to have transparency in the battlefield. Strategic surprise is the essence of CSD. The prior information of the enemy movement will offset Indian military’s element of surprise and its proactive maneuvers. It will also help field commanders of Pakistan Army to take decisions accordingly with changing situation on ground. These types of capabilities can hamper an Indian offensive against Pakistan. Pakistan Army and Pakistan Air Force practiced these components of air defense in the recent exercises. These exercises are an assertion by the Pakistan military that it has the capability to counter any threat from India.


The main purpose of these exercises was to convey a message to the Indian decision makers that Pakistan has the capability to defend itself from any unprovoked intrusion. PAF conducted “Exercise High Mark” in 2010 to demonstrate its firepower and capabilities. It has also tested its joint operations with Pakistan Army. In this exercise, Pakistan Air Force provided air cover to ground troops that highlighted the forces’ potency to fight integrated battles to counter CSD-based operations. Such capability is essential to meet future threats on the eastern border.


Additionally, PAF fighter pilots displayed their abilities to maneuver and hit enemy targets with missiles, bombs and other live ammunition with utmost precision. JF-17 Thunder, F-16s, F-7 PG Aircraft and helicopters were also used in the display of firepower skills aimed at targeting enemy installations while dodging radars. Force multipliers such as the Saab-2000 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft and air-to-air re-fueller aircraft were also utilised in this exercise. Special features of the military exercises included PAF’s capability to launch a sensor missile and hit a target from 60 kilometers away.


Midair refueling and air-to-land targeting, using missiles and bombs were also tested. The exercises also included a search-and-relief operation, use of spy planes, expeditious supply of heavy apparatus using transport planes and a ground operation backed by the PAF. High Mark 2010 exercise was aimed at conducting operations in a near-realistic strategic environment while integrating new inductions and providing role-oriented training to combat and support elements of the PAF. All of PAF’s main operating bases and forward operating bases participated in the exercises. These exercises show Pakistan’s vigilance and alertness towards the defense of the country. The capabilities manifested in these exercises would work as force multipliers. It would help to offset enemy’s strategic surprise and reduce the reaction time for Pakistan Army to respond to any challenge. Still a lot needs to be done to improve the overall capabilities of the armed forces.


Indian CSD has wide range of implications for South Asia. If Pakistan failed to counter CSD based assault on its soil then it may reconsider its nuclear policy of recessed deterrence and deploy its strategic assets at high alert status. Threat of a nuclear war would take the region into its grip. Indian aggressive policies would provoke an arms race in the region. It would hamper the economic and social development of the region and poverty, hunger, un-employment and uncertainty will aggravate in both countries. Most importantly, CSD will seriously impede Pakistan’s efforts against war on terrorism. Pakistan has deployed a major chunk of its armed forces in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and on the Afghan border. In case of any threat from India, Pakistan would move its forces from western to eastern borders. Such a move would hinder its efforts against terrorism and militancy.


At present, it may not be possible for India to put into practice CSD against Pakistan due to shortage in military weaponry and equipment but in future acquisition of latest weapons and equipment along with NCW and EW capabilities would enhance Indian military’s capabilities. It would give confidence to Indian military to carry out a limited war against Pakistan in the nuclear shadow. To meet any likely intimidation from the Indian military, it is imperative for Pakistan to take some concrete steps to perk up its overall military capabilities to offset any future coercion.


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Bilal Khan: Revolution Observer: Pakistan’s Air Force, an obstacle to US Interests?



 Bilal Khan, Revolution Observer: Pakistan’s Air Force, an obstacle to US Interests?


As of May 2013, Pakistan became the fourth country in the world to start using China’s navigational satellite network system, the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS).[1] A direct equivalent to the American Global Positioning System (GPS), BDS is expected to achieve global coverage by the year 2020. With its existing network of 16 satellites, BDS is currently active for use in the Asia-Pacific region.[2]
However, given how widely used GPS is for private commercial purposes in Pakistan, the country’s shift to BDS seems to be driven by specific strategic and security priorities.[3] In particular, it is apparent that access to BDS is of great strategic significance to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), which is poised to make the most wide-scale use of BDS.[4] Security analysts, among them the retired PAF general, Air Commodore Kaiser Tufail, believes thatPakistan’s shift to BDS is driven in large by the PAF’s need to secure its strategic assets and ensure that its capacities to address external threats are immune from Western (and in particular, American) interference.[5]
Security analysts believe that the PAF will seek to integrate BDS into the following areas:
1.  Its inventory of land-attack cruise missiles (Ra’ad) and bombs (such as the H-4), thereby allowing it to maintain precision-strike capabilities at stand-off (~300km) and tactical (<120km) ranges.[6]
2.  Its overall combat information and management network connecting its fighter aircraft, drones, airborne and land-based surveillance assets, etc. In effect, BDS will allow the PAF to become a “network-centric” force, i.e. becoming more aware and responsive in times of conflict.[7]


These advances indicate that the PAF operates with a perspective that focuses on Pakistan’s external military threats, a deviation from General Kayani’s emphasis on internal threats.[8] Officially, the PAF communicated that it would be willing to intercept U.S incursions provided that it is a policy of the Pakistani government.[9] The PAF also supports an elaborate implementation of this perspective with strong support from the Pakistani defense industry. In addition to the JF-17 fighter, a flagship program pursued with China worth billions of dollars, the PAF is also at the forefront of armed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or drone) development.
As a result of insufficient access to GPS, Pakistan was unable to continue developing a drone similar in range and capabilities to the U.S Predator. Satellite communication is integral to being able to control medium-altitude and long-endurance UAVs similar to the Predator.[10] Access to BDS will enable Pakistan to expand its UAV programs, and it had reportedly been offered technical support from China in this regard.[11] Leaders of Pakistan’s defense industry have voiced their disapproval of U.S drone strikes, and are of the belief that Pakistan attaining armed-drones would demonstrate the country’s capacity to manage its internal security without external intervention.[12]
Overall, the PAF’s intention for maintaining territorial sovereignty from external threats is reflected in its organizational goals. In addition to frequently engaging in large-scale exercises with other regional powers (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Turkey and China), PAF has made several strategic acquisitions that are characteristic of projecting power. These procurements include a fleet of aerial refueling aircraft, airborne early-warning and control (AEW&C) systems, long-range air-to-surface weapon-systems and as of late, a renewed effort to develop armed-UAVs similar to the U.S Predator.
Incidentally, these strategic assets had come under attack by militants over the past two years.In 2011 and 2012, militants armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades undertook a series of coordinated attacks against a number of air bases housing strategic assets. These attacks resulted in the destruction of two maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft and an Erieye AEW&C system valued at $250 million.[13] The facilities targeted – among them the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) that manufactures the JF-17 – were well outside the Waziristan/Afghan theater, and had little to do with the military’s campaigns in that area.[14]
For the most part, these attacks were against assets that are oriented towards protecting against external military threats. The direct benefactors of these attacks include India, whose increasing capabilities are constantly diluted by the PAF’s modernization, as well as the United States. PAF officials, serving and retired, repeatedly called for Pakistan to distance itself from the U.S-led War on Terror, to take independent ownership of its internal security affairs, and reduce reliance on U.S financial and technical support.[15] The PAF’s investment in Chinese and indigenous systems is reflective of this stance, and offers a feasible alternative to security-ties with the U.S.
However, because the PAF and its officials have abstained from pursuing their policy views outside of their legal mandate (which is to obey the civilian government), they cannot be considered active change-makers. Ultimately, the PAF’s achievements will be tempered by such excuses as budgetary constraints, as well as the government’s neglect of the concerns the PAF has managed to prioritize over the years. Nonetheless, it is clear that the PAF has support within Pakistan’s wider security circles; support which has allowed it to sustain its programs over the past five years. Whether this desired direction openly opposes the way Pakistan is heading politically; i.e. the emphasis of peace with India and the prioritization of the country’s internal security problems in favour of its external concerns, remains to be seen.
[1] Ellyne Phneah. “Beidou to build stations in Pakistan for location accuracy.” ZDNet. 20 May 2013. Available at: http://www.zdnet.com/cn/beidou-to-build-stations-in-pakistan-for-location-accuracy-7000015580/
[2] Ibid.
[3] Michael J. Listner. “Pakistan to have Functioning Global Navigational Satellite System by June 2013.” Space Safety Magazine. 7 November 2012 Available at: http://www.spacesafetymagazine.com/2012/11/07/pakistan-functioning-global-navigational-satellite-system-june-2013/
[4] Usman Ansari. “Pakistan Employs China’s Beidou Guidance System, but Access Not Guaranteed.” Defense News International. 7 May 2013. Available at:http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130507/DEFREG03/305070030/Pakistan-Employs-China-s-Beidou-Guidance-System-Access-Not-Guaranteed
[5] Ibid.
[6] Usman Ansari. “Despite Missile Integration, Nuke Role Unlikely for Pakistan’s JF-17.” Defense News International. 7 February 2013. Available at: http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130207/DEFREG03/302070024/Despite-Missile-Integration-Nuke-Role-Unlikely-Pakistan-8217-s-JF-17
[7] Usman Ansari. “China Provides Key to Pakistani Bandwidth Requirements.” Defense News International. 27 March 2013. Available at: http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130327/DEFREG03/303270016/China-Provides-Key-Pakistani-Bandwidth-Requirements
[8] Katharine Houreld. “Pakistan army will be watching Sharif’s cozying up to India.” Reuters. 19 May 2013. Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/19/us-pakistan-military-idUSBRE94I0CR20130519
[9] TV interview with Air Marshal (retired) Shahid Lateet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itbq7Mb50OA (Urdu)
[10] Usman Ansari. “China Provides Key to Pakistani Bandwidth Requirements.” Defense News International. 27 March 2013. Available at: http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130327/DEFREG03/
[11] Christopher Booden. “China Emerging as New Force in Drone Warfare.” Yahoo News via Associated Press. 3 May 2013. Available at: http://news.yahoo.com/china-emerging-force-drone-warfare-080503327.html
[12] Dion Nissenbaum. “Pakistan Moves to Build Its Own Drones, Push Aside U.S.” Wall Street Journal. 18 December 2012. Available at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324712504578133483559620340.html
[13] TV interview with Air Marshal (retired) Shahid Lateet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itbq7Mb50OA (Urdu)
[14] Ben West. “In Pakistan, Mixed Results from a Peshawar Attack.” Stratfor Global Intelligence. 20 December 2012. Available at: http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/pakistan-mixed-results-peshawar-attack
[15] Ibid.

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