Pakistan Air Force
By Syed Ashja Haiderashja1. Wednesday, May 27, 2009 5:20:06 PM
The PAF today operates F-16s, F-7PGs, F-7MPs, Mirage-IIIs, JF-17 Thunders, A-5Cs and Mirage-Vs, around 500 to 530 fighters organized in 27 front-line squadrons, the total of aircraft exceeds over 700. The PAF is upgrading fighter aircraft such as the Mirage ROSE-I that can utilize BVR, and Mirage ROSE-III that can carry out surgical strike missions using long-range glide bombs. Pakistan has also started manufacturing 150 (can go up to 250-300 fighters) JF-17 Thunder fighters at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex at Kamra. The first batch of two aircraft were commissioned in PAF on 23 March 2007.
PAF currently has an inventory of around 850 fighter planes. However, at any given instance, around 550 fighters are operational. Some 200 of the Mirages have been given ROSE upgrades - allowing them to engage in BVR combat; and also allowing them to either perform high-altitude air-superiority missions or specialized surface strike missions. The F-7PGs and F-16s are the PAF's main multi-role fighter aircraft - while the F-7MP is a limited interceptor/ground-strike aircraft. It is likely however that the PAF will procure another 14 F-16A/B MLU-3 and 18 F-16C/D Block-52+ and start retiring its F-7MPs and non ROSE Mirages.
On April 12, 2006, the Government of Pakistan authorized the purchase of up to 77 F-16 fighter planes from the US. But this number was reduced to 40 when US declined to reduce the unit price of the aircraft. The Government of Pakistan had also authorized the purchase of 36 Chinese J-10B fighter aircraft PAF also received its first of five Saab 2000 AWACS aircraft from Sweden, on April 3, 2008..
On March 15, 2008, Pakistan received 6 JF-17 fighters from China. The Pakistan Air Force currently has 8 JF-17 Thunder aircraft in service.
Some 70 of the Dassault Mirage III and Mirage V aircraft have been modernised under the ROSE upgrade programme, allowing them to perform either high-altitude air-superiority missions or specialized surface strike missions, depending on the variant. The Chengdu F-7P/PG serve as interceptor aircraft that can also perform limited ground strike duties. The F-16 is the PAF's most capable multi-role combat aircraft. The PAF is currently in the process of modernising its entire fleet of aircraft. Procurement of a further 26 used F-16 and 18 new F-16 combat aircraft from the USA, as well as upgraded systems for the PAF's current fleet of F-16, are to be delivered ~2010. There are 150-250 JF-17 and 36 FC-20 combat aircraft from China being ordered and delivered. airborne early warning and control (AEWC) aircraft from Sweden, America and China have been ordered, as well as Il-78 aerial refuelling tanker aircraft from Ukraine. The JF-17 will begin replacing the PAF's fleet of Mirage III, Mirage V, F-7P/PG and A-5 combat aircraft from 2009, the phasing out and retirement of old aircraft will begin ~2010.
More future procurements
H-2 indigenous beyond-visual-range air-to-ground missile
H-4 indigenous beyond-visual-range air-to-ground missile
AIM-120C5 AMRAAM beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (500 ordered).
AIM-9M-8/9 Sidewinder within-visual-range air-to-air missile (200 ordered).
AIM-9M-1/2 Sidewinder within-visual-range air-to-air missile (upgraded to AIM-9M-8/9, 300 ordered).
SD-10 beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile.
PL-9C within-visual-range air-to-air missile.
Denel A-Darter within-visual-range air-to-air missile.
Harpoon Block II anti-ship missile.
Mectron MAR-1 anti-radiation missile (100 received).
Lockheed Martin Sniper XR targeting pod (18 ordered).
Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW)
Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM)