Islamabad (GDC) –Pakistan has acquired 25 Chinese multirole J-10C fighter jets in response to India’s purchase of Rafale aircraft, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said on Wednesday.
The minister told reporters in his home city of Rawalpindi that two squadrons of 25 all-weather aircraft comprising J-10C will attend the Pakistan Day ceremony on March 23 next year.
Apparently, China has come to the rescue of its closest ally by providing J-10C, one of its reverse engineered fighter jets. J-10 is a reverse engineered Israeli Lavi fighter jets.
The minister, who often characterises himself a ‘graduate of Urdu-medium institutions’ to poke fun at his elite English-medium colleagues, incorrectly pronounced the name of the aircraft as JS-10 instead of J-10C.
“VIP guests are coming (to attend 23rd March ceremony) for the first time in Pakistan, the fly-past ceremony of JS-10 (J-10C) is being held. Pakistan Air Force is going to perform the fly-past of China’s JS-10 (J-10C) aircraft in response to Rafale,” Mr Ahmed said.
The J-10C aircraft were part of the Pak-China joint exercise last year, where experts from Pakistan had the opportunity to have a close look at the fighter jets.
The joint exercises started on December 7 in Pakistan and lasted about 20 days, with China sending warplanes including J-10C, J-11B jets, KJ-500 early warning aircraft and Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft, while Pakistan participated with the JF-17 and Mirage III fighter jets.
Pakistan had a fleet of US-made F-16s, but it was looking for a new multirole all-weather jet to augment its defence after India purchased Rafale jets from France.
Nearly five years ago, India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to purchase 36 Rafale jets to boost the Indian Air Force’s combat capabilities.
There is still no official confirmation of the number of units purchased, but reliable sources in Pakistan claim that 36 aircraft are involved, enough to equip two squadrons of 18 fighters each.
There are also no details yet on the model of the Vigorous Dragon purchased for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), but Minister Sheikh Rasheed also commented that the addition of the J-10s is a direct response to the purchase of the Rafale by the Indian Air Force (IAF). It can therefore be assumed that the squadron of aircraft purchased is the J-10C model, the latest and most modern version of this fighter currently in production.
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