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Pakistan Air Force crisis: 250 fighter jet to retire

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Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is facing a crisis as it needs to retire its ageing fleet of aircraft in a decade. According to a report, PAF will phase out its 250 aircraft. However, the only viable option for Pakistan is the Chinese- built next-generation aircraft like J-10C.

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is facing a crisis as it needs to retire its ageing fleet of aircraft in a decade. According to a report, PAF will phase out its 250 aircraft.

The PAF is finally phasing out its oldest fighter jet French-built Mirage III.  Another fleet of Mirage 5 is also under the retirement plan.

However, the only viable option for Pakistan is the Chinese- built next-generation aircraft like J-10C.

Under the modernization plan, PAF has already purchased 22 J-10 CE fighter jets. In fact, according to the deal, PAF may acquire another 100 jets with specific enhancements.

The J-10C is a four-plus generation medium-sized fighter jet. The J-10C holds an upgraded jet engine than the China-Pakistan jointly developed lightweight fighter jet, the JF-17, currently being used by the PAF

While JC-10 comes with a fully integrated weapon, avionic and combat system, it lacks a bigger active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar than the one used by the JF-17 Block 3.

However, it can carry more advanced, air-to-air missiles including the short-range PL-10 and the beyond-visual-range PL-15.

The bulk purchase from China is also about the financing which Pakistan can leverage amid its economic turmoil.

The financial compulsion — cheaper loans from China—is the key factor for Pakistan’s modernization budget.

Besides, its existing fleet of US-built F-16s also demands overall upgradation and overhauling.

Reports suggest that Pakistan is also looking for  KJ-500 early warning aircraft and Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft.

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