Thursday, September 16, 2010



2006 was a year of hope for PAF. Air Chief Marshall Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed took over as the 18th Chief of Air Staff (CAS) on March 20, 2006, when the previous chief completed his three year term. It was in this year that PAF signed major deals with different weapons supplier countries to remain as a formidable force.

The first major deal which PAF signed was the acquisition of 18 new F-16C/D Block-52 aircraft (with an option to purchase 18 more after conclusion of the deal), along with their complete support equipment and weapon systems. While some call it a deal forced on PAF by the US, to keep the Lockheed Martin plants running, some call it a major achievement. Nonetheless, it was a welcome addition in PAF owing to the fact that the deal included state of the art AIM-120C5 AMRAAM medium range missiles, AIM-9M Sidewinder short range missiles, JHMCS (Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System), JDAM and JSOW precision guided ground attack weapons and Sniper Targeting Pods.

F-16C Block-52 on offer to PAF

Apart from this US also released 12 refurbished F-16A/B Block-15OCU which were sanctioned PAF aircraft in USAF service. These aircraft along with the existing 34 F-16A/B Block-15s in PAF service were slated to be given the MLU-3 upgrade i.e. to bring them equivalent to Block-50 standards. Since 60 MLU kits were included in the package offered to the PAF, US promised to provide 14 more refurbished F-16A/Bs to PAF after the conclusion of the deal. This meant that PAF will have a force of ~92 F-16s by 2014 which includes 36 F-16C/D Block-52+ and 58 F-16MLU-3 aircraft.

The second major deal was the promised induction of 150 JF-17 Thunders from China, after the fourth prototype successfully made its first flight, rectifying all the previous design errors. The 4th prototype saw the introduction of the American F-35-style Divertless Supersonic Intakes (DSI) to make the plane stealthier and to “turbulent boundary-layer airflow away from the engine inlet.” One of the most impressive characteristics of the plane was its advanced 4.5 Generation electronic flight instrument system cockpit which is all-glass display. The cockpit consisted of 3 Multi-function displays (MFDs) and employed hands on throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) control. In addition the cockpit allowed for the displacement of many images/information at the same time. Other improvements include reduced body weight, through redesigned interior more space has been created, an increase of the fuel carrying capacity, and increased range. The new information showed that the current design would be frozen for the next three years before some further changes are introduced. In addition the plane would employ a helmet mounted display (HMD), with some-sources saying that the HMS will be the same one as the one the J-10. Armed with such capabilities and having the ability to datalink with the Saab Erieye AWACS, means that the JF-17 will not only take-on the MIG-29 and Mirage-2000 of the Indian Air Force but also give the SU-30MKI - India’s most capable fighter a run for its money. JF-17s were to be followed by S-10 Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air missiles which was the Chinese version of American AIM-120A AMRAAM Medium Range Air-to-Air missile.

JF-17 fourth prototype after successfull trials

The third major deal was of the acquisition of 36-40 J-10 aircraft from China, customized to meet PAF requirements under the export name, FC-20. Pakistan was the first country, and so far, the only country that China has offered this indigenous multirole fighter aircraft. Regarded as the Flanker killer in dogfights by the PLAAF, J-10 performs much better than the FA-18E/F Super Hornet on paper. After careful evaluation, PAF pilots regard it as a counter to the Indian Su-30MKI threat. Since PAF wants the aircraft heavily modified to fulfill its criteria, it was stated that the aircraft would be operational in 2014.

FC-20 offered to PAF
PAF also signed a deal with Sweden for the purchase of six Erieye AEW&C systems mounted on Saab-2000 aircraft. These aircraft would be data linked with all those aircraft using Western avionics in PAF including the F-16s and Mirage ROSE aircraft.

Saab-2000 Erieye AEW&C
At this point China also offered PAF in the development of its AWACS and fifth generation fighter aircraft. After carefully examining this offer, PAF announced that it will also add AWACS of Chinese origin in its fleet. These AWACS would be data linked with aircraft utilizing Chinese avionics including the initial batch of JF-17 Thunders. However the number and exact specs of the Chinese AWACS were not disclosed.

PAF also received six C-130Es from US from a deal which originated in 2003. Along with the new Hercules aircraft, PAF also received cockpit upgrades of its existing C-130 fleet. Although, the details of what would be covered under the package were not disclosed, it was learnt that the avionics and display systems company is likely to provide communication, navigational and surveillance system, including Flight 26X8 inch multi-function displays, AN /ARC-210 radios, SAT-2000, multimode receivers and automatic direction finder. After the upgrades the C-130s were expected to have improved situational awareness, reduced crew workload and enhanced flight safety features.

New PAF C-130E

PAF also signed a deal with Ukraine for the supply of four Il-78MP Midas Aerial Refuellers. These aircraft formed as one of the major components of PAF’s aerial asset.


After the successful campaign in 2004 PAF decided to send six of its F-16s of No.9 Squadron to Konya Air Base, Turkey again in 2006 to participate in a joint military exercise codenamed "Anatolian Eagle 2006/2" which was held from June 12th - June 23rd.

Other nations participating were the United States, France and Turkey. A NATO AWACS also joined the exercise. The exercise on and near the Turkish air base of Konya was aimed to develop cooperation and mutual exchange of views among participant countries.

PAF F-16 arriving at Konya Airbase, Turkey

The PAF contingent led by Group Captain Azhar Hassan Rizvi flew out to Turkey, routing through friendly Islamic countries, where a warm welcome was accorded to it. The flying operations at Turkey not only supplemented training of PAF officers and men but also served as a milestone in strengthening ties among the participating countries.

Essentially a simulated air war, it was one of the largest and most complex joint air force exercises in the world. The objective of the exercise was to have an average of two Combined Air Operation (COMAO) missions per day. "Blue Forces" (allies) and "Red Forces" (enemies) go head to head in complex air-to-air and air-to-surface missions. There are usually no less than 45 aircraft involved per mission for the "Blue Forces" and about 15 for the "Red Forces".

PAF F-16s in action during Anatolian Eagle 2006

PAF's contingent consisted of six F-16 multi-role aircraft. Chief of the Air Staff Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed witnessed the air operations in Turkey. The French participated with five Mirage F1 CT from the 2/30 "Normandie-Niémen" fighter squadron based in Colmar. Turkey itself brought 38 aircraft including F-4s, F-5s and F-16s to the exercise. The main American element came from the 510th Fighter Squadron, based at Aviano. The areas the planes flew over were generally less populated and there were fewer restrictions than in the airspace over most of Europe. PAF CAS during his visit interacted with the personnel of the PAF as well as those of other participating air forces.

This exercise provided the PAF with a great chance to see how well they could operate with other air forces. According to the Detachment Commander, it was a great success and that he added that 'we will go happy with our performances'. PAF CAS Tanvir Mahmood received a lot of applause from the commanders of other detachments on the excellent work which PAF has done. This time six PAF pilots also had the opportunity to lead 40 aircraft mission packages which indicated that they flew on the “Blue Forces” side.


Not everyone was contended to see PAF proceeding well in the path of modernization. After 1990 when PAF was forced to halt its modernization due to sanctions imposed, it had a very troubled time in maintaining its fleet and providing upgrades to existing systems to maintain its air defence capability. IAF on the other side rapidly developed itself as a major threat during 2002-2006 by the acquisition of new systems. With PAF coming back to its track, India became worried as it wanted the superiority similar to what Israel Airforce possess’ against its foes, and these moves of PAF messed up the Indian plans.

After the $5.1 billion dollar deal for F-16s was announced, India raised a huge hue and cry over this deal. Indian Americans tried their best to halt the US sale of the multi-billion dollars F-16 package to Pakistan. They faced an uphill task as the $5.1 billion F-16 deal for Pakistan emerged unscathed from the 30-day congressional review period.

Undeterred by the near futility of their efforts given that a $5.1 billion dollar deal for F-16 planes went through with no more than a Congressional rap on the knuckles, Indian Americans mounted a campaign to inform the lawmakers about the implication of another billion dollars military equipment sale to Pakistan for US national security interests. In emails that they wrote to US Senators, they stated that the sophisticated weaponry provided by US to Pakistan may "find its way into the hands of Taliban, Iraqi insurgents, Iranians and North Koreans" - especially given the history of the nuclear and conventional defence proliferation and cooperation between North Korea and Pakistan in the nuclear field. They also warned that the Senators should not be surprised to see America-provided TOW 2A and RF bunker buster missiles in North Korea soon after the deal goes through. The Defence Cooperation Agency notified the Congress of the intended sale on December 7 2006 leading to the protests. The weapons were being provided to Pakistan ostensibly to help fight against terror. Despite strong Indian attempts the US Congress made the decision that the deal should go through. Pakistan started receiving the military equipment within a month the deal was signed. Delivery of the F-16 package was slated to be received along with the aircraft starting from 2007 – 2011.

Seeing the F-16 deal proceeding along well, the Indians launched propaganda that the new F-16C/Ds would be a downgraded version which would not be able to track NATO fighters. With this handicap the Indian Mirage-2000Hs would easily single them out in air combat. This propaganda was met with aggression and soon it was clear that this was just a story created by the Indians. PAF CAS Tanvir Mahmood clearly stated that PAF can use their F-16s against any target they wish to strike. May it be a terrorist hideout or an Indian Armoured Brigade.

Following the successful deal USAF participated in air exercise on the request of Pakistan to undertake mutually beneficial operational missions, to extend diversified training to the aircrew from both sides and to strengthen the existing bonds of friendship between the two air forces as well as the two countries.

Top to Bottom) Mirage ROSE-II, F-7MP, F-16C (USAF), F-16A, Mirage ROSE-I

In December 2006, President Musharraf announced that JF-17 will fly in Pakistan Airspace on 23rd March 2007. The Indians already infuriated by the F-16 deal then tried to sabotage the JF-17 project. India knew that the JF-17s are equipped with the Russian RD-93 engines and persuaded Russia to block the transfer of these engines to Pakistan.

Under Indian pressure Russia blocked the sale of JF-17 with Russian engines to Pakistan. The Russians stated that they have an end-user license agreement (EULA) with China, which does not allow the transfer of these engines to Pakistan or any other country, and that they have no intentions to change the EULA conditions. Earlier, briefing the media ahead of Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov's India visit beginning, Chief of the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry, Colonel-General Anatoly Mazurkevich said, "De jure China has no right to install RD-93 engines on the fighters to be delivered to Pakistan." According to agreement, China's Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation was to roll out 16 JF-17 Thunder fighters for Pakistan Air Force beginning from March 2007.

China then started a series of negotiations with Moscow to allow the deliveries of fighters with Russian engines to Pakistan. The explanation given to Russia by China was that Pakistan had paid for much of the development expenses, and was not happy when Russia insisted that, China could not export the fighter. Initially Russia did not want to offend India, a major arms customer, by being one of the suppliers for FC-1s used by Pakistan (an enemy of India). But later the Russians say they relented because they realized that if they did not sell the engines to Pakistan, someone else, a European or American firm, would come in with a similar engine and get all that business. Apparently, this argument was sufficient for the Indians, who did not go out of their way to interfere.

With India beaten on this front also, PAF moved ahead and on 23rd March 2007 parade, the JF-17 Thunder made its official debut over Islamabad. The fly past was lead by an F-16A flown by the CAS of PAF. Following it were four ship formations of F-16A/Bs, Mirages, F-7MPs and A-5s. After that, the much awaited aircraft JF-17 made its first public appearance. Two JF-17s in close formation, flew low (500ft) towards the parade and both broke away in opposite directions. The JF-17 in 'low visibility grey' camouflage exited the scene and orbited over Rawalpindi and waited for its other partner to join in.

The other JF-17 painted in Chinese and Pakistani Flags, stayed over the parade ground and performed maneuvers such as short pitched turns and steep turns before it left. Both the JF-17s regrouped over Rawalpindi, gained altitude and set their course to their home base, i.e. Kamra.
JF-17 Thunder official debut in Pakistani skies

In April PAF and the French Air Force held air exercises in Karachi. The French Carrier Group, which includes the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, held a series of exercises centered on air defence with the PAF. Super Etendard and Rafale aircraft carried out attack and defence missions on the sea and over the land in the vicinity of Karachi. PAF F-16, F-7PG and Mirage ROSE-I flew air defence and escort missions while Mirage-VPa3 carried out strike missions against the French Carrier Group. The Carrier Group was present in the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Gulf to perform a mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. This exercise was the first of a series that enabled French and Pakistani forces to train together.


Since 1999 till September 2005, PAF had a very low attrition rate due to high flight safety standards. This continued to happen till a tragic crash of a PAF Mirage-IIIEP during High Mark 2005. Cause of the accident was heavy inclement weather and CFIT (Controlled Flight into the terrain) and nothing wrong with the avionics. The pilot attained shahadat in this fateful mission. After that PAF was hit by a deadly string of accidents which comprised mostly of Mirages and F-7s. The summary of these accidents is provided below:
• In the winters of 2005 there was a PAF FT-7P crash. Cause of the accident was main generator failure after a bird hit at medium altitude.
• On Tuesday 21st February 2006, a PAF F-7MP crashed, pilot attaining shahadat. Cause of the accident was CFIT during low level navigation practice, nothing wrong with the airframe and avionics.
• On Thursday 20th April 2006, a PAF Mirage-IIIDP ROSE-I crashed. The aircraft was based at Masroor AFB. The cause of the accident as stated by the press release was engine failure.
• Two weeks later, a PAF Mirage-VPA2 crashed. The aircraft belonged to No.7 squadron which was based at Masroor AFB. Cause of the accident remained classified.
• On Wednesday 5th July 2006, a Peshawar based A-5C crashed. The pilot ejected safely. Cause of the accident was stated as technical malfunction.
• On Thursday 31st August 2006, a Masroor based aircraft crashed while its pilot attaining shahadat. It was the seventh crash of the series, and the third accident in Masroor AFB. The aircraft was a PAF F-7PG of No.2 Squadron this time. Cause of the accident was inflight fire and smoke in the cockpit.
• On 13th September 2006, a Mirage-IIIEP crashed while flying an operational exercise mission. Its pilot was unable to eject and attained shahadat. The cause of the accident was bad weather and heavy rains in the mountains area in eastern Punjab province near Pai Khel (Mianwali) some 230 kilometers southwest of Islamabad.
• On 19th October 2006, a Mirage ROSE-II crashed while flying an operational exercise mission. Cause of the accident was CFIT due to poor visibility due to which it crashed in the Thal firing range, about 48 kilometres west of Jhang district. The pilot attained shahadat in this fateful mission.
• On Monday 20th November 2006, a Mirage-IIEA aircraft of the air force crashed 30 miles east of Dera Ismail Khan on Monday. The plane was on a routine operational training mission while the crash apparently occurred due to technical malfunction.
• On Wednesday 20th December 2006, A Mirage-IIIO ROSE-I fighter crashed in the suburbs of the port city of Karachi on Wednesday, but the pilot ejected safely.
The aircraft engine sustained irrecoverable damage after a bird strike
and the aircraft could not sustain level flight. Crashed on the western outskirts of the port city of Karachi, Manghopir area, 15 kilometers from Karachi, during a routine training flight, no one was injured on the ground.
• On Wednesday 31st January 2007, a Mirage-IIIEP crashed while flying an operational exercise mission. The cause of the accident was that during night flying, the landing gears could not be lowered both by normal as
well as emergency method. Crashed in Katcha Dhappra fields, near Machiwal, in Jhang district.
• On Wednesday 7th February 2007, a Kamra based Mirage-V ROSE-II near Jhang. The cause of the accident was attributed to be as another technical malfunction.
• On the same day another Kamra based F-7MP crashed as it developed engine trouble close to parent base, while coming in for landing, engine flamed out.
• On Thursday 15th February 2007, a Masroor based F-7MP crashed due to bird strike within the perimeter of the airbase.
• On Tuesday 13th March 2007, a PAF FT-7PG of No.23 Squadron, operating from Samungli AFB crashed, with one of the pilot attaining shahadat after receiving fatal injuries, while the other pilot was injured. Cause of the accident was technical malfunction due to which the pilot had to perform a crash landing.
• On Wednesday 25th April 2007, a Mirage-V crashed near Shorkot, Jhang. No loss of life or property was reported.
• On Friday 8th June 2007, a Shenyang FT-6 crashed a few miles southwest of the city of Peshawar in the Khyber region near the Afghan border. Cause of the accident was a technical fault.
• On Wednesday 5th September 2007, an FT-7PG crashed near Samungali AFB outside Quetta with pilot receiving fatal injuries.
• The final crash of the series took place on Saturday, 15th December 2007, near Samundri, Faisalabad, but no casualties were reported. The aircraft was a PAF F-7MP.

This makes a total of twenty PAF aircraft (10 Mirages, 8 F/FT-7MP/PGs, 1 A-5C and 1 FT-6) lost in 27 months marking the worst ever series of air accidents in PAF. PAF was able to control the rate of air accidents after that by raising the standards of flight safety and was able to curtail the rate of air accidents, due to which less than ten aircraft were lost for the next 27 months.


A new fighter squadron “No 27 Tactical Attack Squadron” was added to the Pakistan Air Force at a ceremony held at the PAF Base, Rafiqui (Shorkot), in April 2007. The squadron was equipped with 20 modernised Mirage-VEFs, specialized in night attack role. The specialist night strike role of the squadron directly augments Pakistan’s war potential, as night fighting capability becomes an indispensable element in the present day air warfare. The squadron personnel are called “Zarrars”, named after Hazrat Zarrar Bin Al Azwar, the favorite lieutenant of Hazrat Khalid Bin Walid.

Mirage ROSE-III over Sargodha

Two refurbished F-16s arrived in July 2007 at Sargodha. They were followed by eight more refurbished F-16s which came in batches of four in June and July 2008. Added to the 34 F-16s already present, the F-16 fleet now operated 44 F-16A/B Block-15 aircraft at peak strength.

Refurbished F-16 Block-15s arriving at Sargodha
PAF also received six JF-17 Thunders from China early in 2008, bringing the total number of JF-17s to eight. These aircraft were based in Peshawar and were subjected to vigorous tests before being formally inducted in an operational squadron. The first two JF-17 squadrons were to replace the ageing A-5C ground attack aircraft in PAF’s service.

JF-17 Thunder taxiing at Peshawar AFB


In the summers of 2007 Pakistan Air Force’s contingent of F-16 multi-role aircraft had their third appearance in ‘Anatolian Eagle 2007’ which is one of the biggest and the most complex air exercises of the world. The PAF contingent flew out to Turkey, routing through friendly Islamic countries, where a warm welcome was accorded to it.

A crew of 80 PAF personnel was also sent which included 14 pilots. PAF pilots also lead 40 aircraft mission packages on a number of occasions. In these missions PAF was the main element of the 'Blue Forces', and fought aggressively against the MiG-21 Lancers, F-16 and F-5 Aggressors as well as Mirage-2000N and Mirage-F1CT Strike Fighters.

PAF F-16A in action during Anatolian Eagle 2007


Pakistan Airforce multirole fighters are equipped with an array of modern standoff weapons which enables PAF multirole fighters to hit targets with pinpoint accuracy.

Ra'ad is a Pakistani Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM). The missile entered service with the PAF in 2008. Though initially launched from a Mirage ROSE-II fighter, other PAF combat platforms - such as the Mirage ROSE III and JF-17 - also possess the capability to fire this missile. At present Ra'ad has a range of 350 km. It gives Pakistan the capability to successfully attack fixed enemy installations (radar posts, command nodes and stationary surface to air missiles) beyond visual range. The missile has a very low detection probability due to its stealthy design and materials used in its construction. Ra'ad can carry all type of warheads, including nuclear, but it is unlikely to be used for nuclear delivery as Pakistan already has the longer range Babur cruise as well as various ballistic missiles for that role. Ra'ad will most likely be used for precision air strikes on enemy command centers, radars, surface to air missiles, ballistic missile launchers, stationary warships etc
PAF Mirage ROSE-II successfully launches Ra'ad ALCM
PAF obtained upgraded Raptor-1 and Raptor-2 glide bombs in 2001-03. Its modular construction allows it to engage different targets such as airstrips, bunkers, parked aircraft and SAM sites. It has a TV seeker and folding wings, with a standoff capability of 60 km when released from medium level (30,000 ft). There is a digital datalink between the launch aircraft and the guided bomb.

The Raptor-2 is a long range powered glide bomb. It has imaging IR seekers. An anti-radiation seeker is also being offered as an alternative guidance option to allow the weapon to be used in the suppression of enemy air defences. The weapon consist of a Guidance unit, a warhead, a communications pod, pylons, the control equipment and a twin solid fuel motor pack attached to the underside of the guided weapon. Raptor-2 is similar in body and wing shape to Raptor-1, has a launch weight of 1,200 kg, a standoff capability of 120 km. It has folding wings and twin vertical tails. The solid propellant motor is jettisoned after use.

The Raptor 2 can be fitted with both fragmentation and penetration warheads. It has choice of alternative navigation systems. This may be an autonomous method, using GPS-aided INS or way point navigation. Both systems are under the weapon operators control at all times. The communications pod may be mounted on the attack aircraft or on a second aircraft which would control the weapons flight at a range of up to 250 km.
Mirage ROSE-II delivering Raptor-II Glide Bomb

MAR-1 is a Brazilian anti-radiation missile developed by CTA (Centro Técnico Aeroespacial / Aerospace Technical Center, Brazilian Air force) and Mectron with an effective range of 25 km. This missile equips all current PAF strike aircraft.

PAF also possess the American Paveway-series laser-guided bombs. Amongst them the GBU-10 based on the Mk 84 general-purpose bomb, but with laser seeker and wings for guidance is a major attack weapon mounted on the F-16s.
PAF deploys the GPS/INS-equipped version of the GBU-10 produced by Raytheon is the GBU-50/B, also informally also known as the EGBU-10 (GPS/INS-enabled LGBs are frequently referred to as Enhanced GBUs or EGBUs).

PAF also deploys the GBU-16 Paveway (based on the Mk 83 general-purpose bomb, but with laser seeker and wings for guidance) and the GBU-12 PAVEWAY II (based on the Mk 82 500-pound general-purpose bomb, but with the addition of a nose-mounted laser seeker and fins for guidance).

In the anti shipping role PAF deploys the AM-39 Exocet, a French-built anti-ship missile whose various versions can be launched from surface vessels, submarines, and airplanes. The missile is designed to hit large warships. It is guided inertially in mid-flight, and turns on active radar late in its flight to find and hit its target. Its solid propellant engine gives the Exocet a maximum range of 70 km. The submarine-launched version places the missile and a naval booster inside a launch capsule.

Along with the Exocet, PAF is capable to fire the YJ-82, a Chinese anti-ship missile. Due to the Yingji-82 missile's small radar reflectivity, low attack flight path (only five to seven meters above the sea surface) and strong anti-jamming capability of its guidance equipment, target ships have a very small chance of intercepting the missile. The single shot hit probability of the Yingji-82 is estimated to be as high as 98%. The Yingji-82 can be launched from JF-17 Thunders and FC-20 aircraft, and has been considered – along with the U.S. Harpoon missile – as among the best anti-ship missiles of its generation. Its export name is the C-802.

PAF also possess the C-803 anti ship missiles. C-803 is a Chinese anti-ship missile based on the YJ-82, designed as a supersonic successor to the subsonic YJ-82 missile. Effective range is 255 km.


In 2008 Pakistan acquired six mobile, long-range aerial surveillance radars from US. The AN/TPS-77 phased array radars from Lockheed Martin were handed over to the Pakistan Air Force at a ceremony held at an airbase near the southern port city of Karachi. The radars provided Pakistan the capability to curb the "unrestricted movement" of infiltrators from neighboring countries. The latest generation radars are the only ones in the world to have the "unique capability to provide valley coverage and long-range detection capabilities".

Easy to transport and deploy, the Lockheed Martin AN/TPS-77 all-solid-state, 3-D long-range surveillance radar meets today’s expeditionary forces’ needs for performance and reliability. It provides superior long-range detection, especially in weather and clutter, and 360-degree azimuth coverage. Field commanders can count on accurate target data at ranges up to 250 nautical miles and elevations up to 100,000 feet from radar that can operate 24 hours a day, even with no on-site personnel. Simplified logistics and remote maintenance-monitoring capabilities reduce contribute to low cost of ownership. The system’s sophisticated performance monitoring and fault location system automatically recalibrates the radar to adjust for changes in the environment and component failures. The radar can be transported in medium lift transport aircraft like the C-130 Hercules, operated by the PAF, and set up in less than 30 minutes.
State of the art TPS-77 Radar
In 2006 Pakistan tested the Czech military anti-radar system Vera with a view to a possible purchase. After successful tests PAF inducted the system in its arsenal in 2008. The Vera system can detect enemy radar, without being detected itself. In the past Amnesty International has warned against exporting the system to Pakistan.

VERA passive radiolocator is an electronic support measures (ESM) system that uses measurements of time difference of arrival (TDOA) of pulses at three or four sites to accurately detect and track airborne emitters. Typically side sites are deployed 15-40 km from the central site, providing a reasonable compromise of coverage and accuracy. The system is generally line-of-sight limited, with a nominal range of 450 km. Detection of targets is within a sector of approximately 120 degrees, although IFF and SSR targets are detected using a dedicated omnidirectional antenna, and hence may be seen over 360 degrees. Up to 200 targets can be automatically tracked simultaneously.
VERA Passive Radiolocator

TPS-77 along with VERA enhanced the PAF Ground Based Air Defence Units, and coupled with the Swedish Erieye AEW&C and the proposed Chinese KJ-2000 AWACS will provide the PAF with complete monitoring of the Pakistani as well as the surrounding air spaces.


The exercise was held in April 2008 at PAF Base Mushaf in Sargodha which saw the arrival of five TUAF F-16 C/D aircraft and 50 personnel. The exercise benefited both participants, enhanced their professional skills and further strengthened the existing relations between the two nations and their Air Forces.

PAF and TUAF Combat Pilots

The summer heat was turned on, when in the opening phase of the exercise two F-16s on a one-on-one combat were indulged in a turning dogfight which lasted some 20 minutes, before the PAF F-16 got a positive lock on his opponent Turkish pilot. Turkish pilots usually get a chance for clashes like these with Greek aircraft, in which a turning dogfight starts. Pilots of both sides try their best to get a positive lock on before they chase their opponent away. PAF pilots on the other side are expert in dogfights as they constantly practice it extensively throughout the year, along with WVR and BVR combat.

(Left to Right) PAF F-16A, Mirage ROSE-I, F-7MP and TUAF F-16C
In a statement the then acting Chief of Air Staff Air Marshall Shahid Latif stated, “It was indeed a great honour for the PAF to have Turkish Air Force F-16s participate in our 50th anniversary celebrations in 1997. The Indus Viper exercises ... are indeed extension of ’97 co-operation.” He said TuAF provided to Pakistani forces the aircrew and combat controllers, and the opportunity to gain good experience. He also talked about the transformation the PAF is undergoing at present, adding that in a few years time the PAF would become a highly modern combat outfit.

Turkish Ambassador Rauf Engin Soysal, Major General Sirin Unal and TuAF Deputy Commander First Command Eskisehir witnessed the exercises during their visit at the PAF Base, Sargodha on April 25.


PAF F-16s arriving at Konya Airforce Base, Turkey
Six Pakistani F-16 combat jets reached Turkey to participate in the bilateral air exercise code named "Anatolian Eagle 2008" with Turkey. The participation of the PAF pilots in the 15-day air exercise in Turkey shaped up their training and helped in strengthening ties between the two countries. PAF in the past had hosted, as well as participated in several multi-national air force exercises. These include the "Anatolian Eagle" series of maneuvers held in 2004, 2006 and 2007 and other exercises with the US, Britain, Iran and Turkey.

PAF F-16A avoiding a simulated SAM attack during Anatolian Eagle 2008

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