Defence Day Air show 2015 – Fatima Jinnah Park Islamabad

To celebrate 50th anniversary of Pakistani armed forces victory of 1956 war, an  airshow was organised at  Fatima Jinnah Park, F-9, Islamabad. The day reminds us of professionalism and bravery of Pakistani soldiers to decimate enemy’s monstrous forces.

PAF in particular ensured air guards of Pakistani frontiers and despatched the enemy forces back from where they had come. The day also reminds us of those who went on missions – never to return.

F-9 Park airshow Summary:

1130hrs:  High Speed Run by Mirage-III
1132hrs: Super Mushshak aerobatics
1139hrs: Sherdils display
1148hrs: JF-17 Thunder, 26 Sqn
1155hrs: F-16 MLU, 9 Sqn
1202hrs: AS350 Écureuil aerobatics (Pak Army)                                                                                                                            [ All photos credits: Abid Khan]

C-130 & Alouette

No.6 Sqn C-130 (Callsign “Stranger12”) provided air surveillance of venue prior to the airshow. The aircraft was seen flying at altitude of 9000-10,000 ft. Alouette-III from Search-And-Rescue unit provided Metro-logical support.

Mirages Sonic Boom

Two low-level flying Mirage-IIIEL aircraft kicked off the airshow with a massive sonic boom followed by vertical High-G maneuver polished by released of flares. Both aircraft took the audience by surprise & faded away in less than 15 seconds.

 

 

Super MushshakSuper Mushshak (Serial # 97-6394) of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex showed its potential & maneuvering skills. PAC has exhibited the aircraft in various airshows in Middle East in the past; recently it participated in Bucharest International Air Show (BIAS) in Romania in June. The aircraft has cruising speed of 130kts (240km/hr) and comes with internationally reputed Dyon and Garmin cockpit instrumentation technology. Mushshak can carry weapons / bombs on six external stations and can also perform border patrol duties.

Sherdils - K-8 9- Sherdils from PAF Academy Risalpur brought colours to the airshow. The team showed their precise flying, sharp reflexes and exceptional piloting skills in maneuvering the aircraft in close formations. The team’s menu remained the same since its inception in 1974 i.e. line astern to diamond formation during a loop, then clover-leaf, steep turn, barrel roll and finally, the breath-taking bomb-burst. In Sherdils, 6 aircraft perform where as three aircraft perform the initial run-in and break-off in a linear bomburst over the venue.

JF-17 Thunder - Pakistan's PridePakistan’s pride JF-17 Thunder (Serial # 09-111) flown by O/C 26 MR Sqn brought the WoW factor  to the airshow. The aircraft flew various fast passes, slow passes, fast rolls and inverted roll in its 7-min performance.

JF-17 Thunder has been inducted in 3 combat squadrons of PAF, with a 4th unit gearing up to receive this aircraft. The success of Pak-China JF-17 Thunder has brought an affordable Multi-Role combat aircraft not only to PAF but to many Middle Eastern & Asia countries who are looking for replacement of their combat fleet with state-of-the-art fighter aircraft. Recently Myanmar has signed at deal for purchase of one squadron of this aircraft.

F-16 Fighting FalconThe legendary F-16 Fighting Falcon flown by O/C No.9 MR Sqn stole the airshow with its breathtaking performance. The pilot exhibited aircraft’s maneuverability in tight turns, slow-speed pass. On the peak of display, the aircraft comes down to low level and performed max-performance turn…taking Islamabad by a storm!

 

As-350 Ecuriel, PAAFollowed by PAF performances were  AS350 Écureuil aerobatics of Pak Army Aviation wing and flight of Special Services Group (SSG) commandoes hanging from slings with AS-332 Super Puma aircraft. Motor-glider flight by PAF Academy Risalpur and para-trooping by special forces units of all three forces dropped from C-130 aircraft at about 10,000 ft brought more colours to the airshow.

( Click on photos to enlarge )

AS-332, PAA & SSGF-16 Fighting Falcon Super Mushshak, PAC Super Mushshak, PAC

Sherdils - K-8  Sherdils - K-8 Sherdils - K-8

Sherdils - K-8Sherdils - K-8 Sherdils - K-8 Sherdils - K-8

JF-17 Thunder - Pakistan's Pride JF-17 Thunder - Pakistan's Pride JF-17 Thunder - Pakistan's Pride JF-17 Thunder - Pakistan's Pride JF-17 Thunder - Pakistan's Pride JF-17 Thunder - Pakistan's Pride  F-16 Fighting Falcon F-16 Fighting Falcon F-16 Fighting Falcon F-16 Fighting FalconF-16 Fighting Falcon F-16 Fighting Falcon F-16 Fighting Falcon F-16 Fighting FalconF-16 Fighting Falcon F-16 Fighting Falcon F-16 Fighting Falcon F-16 Fighting Falcon F-16 Fighting Falcon

 

 

Photos from Exercise Anatolian Eagle 2015

Photos from latest edition of Exercise Anatolian Eagle (2015-1) which was conducted from June 8th to 19th, 2015.

Anatolian Eagle exercises (similar to “Red Flag” exercise) simulate a war-time environment and gives chance to fighting forces to test their mettle in various scenarios. The exercise is grouped into three teams; HQ (white), Red and Blue Forces. The white team manages the training scenarios, monitor and evaluate performance of Red & Blue teams. Red team was tasked with attack on Blue team, whereas element of Air Defence (SAMs/AAAs/Anti-Aircraft-guns) was included in Blue team’s package.

Anatolian Eagle 2015-1 participating countries:

Turkish Air Force (42 x F-16C/D,12 x F-4E/2020s, 1 x Boeing KC-135R, 1 x Boeing EW-7T)
Royal Air Force, UK: 8 x Typhoon FGR4/T3, XI Sqn., Coningsby
Spanish Air Force: 6 x EF-18M , Ala 15, Zaragoza
Pakistan Air Force: 6 x F-16 A/B MLU, 38 Wing, 9 Sqn., Mushaf
US Air Force: 12 x F-15C/D, Lakenheath, UK
German Air Force: 1 x Airbus A 310, Köln-Bonn
Nato: 2 x E-3A Geilenkirchen, Germany

All photos credits: Zafer Buna

Exercise Anatolian Eagle 2015-1 Exercise Anatolian Eagle 2015-1

O/C 9 Sqn Landing F-16 during Exercise Anatolian Eagle 2015 with Turkish Air Force & NATO.

Exercise Anatolian Eagle 2015-1 Exercise Anatolian Eagle 2015-1

Exercise Patch (left)  – PAF C-130s provided logistics support to their team.

Exercise Anatolian Eagle 2015-1 Exercise Anatolian Eagle 2015-1 Exercise Anatolian Eagle 2015-1 Exercise Anatolian Eagle 2015-1

No.9 Sqn “Griffins” F-16 MLUs equipped with AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles took part in Air-Air and Air-Surface mission during the exercise. PAF pilots have proved their mettle in multinational Exercises with U.S,U.K,China,Tukey,Saudia Arabia,UAE, France, Itlay, NATO,Egypt, Jordan and many other Air Forces in last decade.

Shahbaz Falcons – Part 2/2

Pictures from PAF’s No.5 MR Sqn from Shahbaz Air Base, Jacobabad.

Part-1 here

 

F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force

F-16D passing by scare crow planted  for flight safety reasons on Shahbaz runway. A part from such conventional scare crows  PAF has also employed sharp shooter men (equipped with rifles) to keep birds away from the air field.

F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force

F-16D Block52 powered by F100-PW-229 turbofan engine capable of producing of 29,100 lb (129.4 kN) thrust on full augmentation.

F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force

F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force A No.5 Sqn pilot goes over his checklist prior to takeoff with F-16D block 52. F-16 Block52s are force multiplier platform for PAF and are equipped with array of air-air and air-ground munitions.

F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force

A F-16 pilot gestures ‘Thumbs Up’ to ground crew as he prepares for take off. The pilot is wearing Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System( JHMCS).

F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force

Falcons formation preparing for takeoff from Shahbaz Air Base.

F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force

 

f-16_fighting_falcon_block52_pakistan_air_force_022

F-16 Block 52 head on shot, showing Advance Identification of Friend or Foe (AIFF) antennas mounted on the upper forward fuselage in front of the canopy.

F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force

 

Shahbaz Falcons – Part 1/2

Pictures of PAF F-16 Block-52 aircraft preparing for Air-Air combat training flight from Shahbaz Air Base.

The aircraft are equipped with AIM-9M Sidewinder missile, AMD pod and Sniper Advance Targeting pod.

Sniper pod is used both for tracking of both air and ground targets.

F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force  F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force  F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force  F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force

 

F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force

F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Forcef-16_fighting_falcon_block52_pakistan_air_force_05

F-16 Block52 induction ceremony fly past

No.5 Sqn ‘Falcons’ Ex-RAAF Mirage IIIDF being escorted by F-16 Block-52 aircraft  during its farewell fly past on 10 March, 2011. The same day; No.5 Sqn was re-equipped with newly inducted state-of-the-art F-16 C/D Block 52+ aircraft. General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Chief of the Army Staff, Pakistan Army was the Chief Guest on the occasion. Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force also attended the ceremony along with other senior civil and military officials.

No. 5 Sqn was raised on August 15, 1947 and it is PAF’s second oldest fighter squadron. Mirage; the delta winged fighter aircraft, was inducted in the unit in 1967 and remained in service for over 43 years. No. 5 Sqn kept flying Mirage-IIIEA/DA/EP/RP and Mirage-VDR variants for years. Keeping so many Mirage types  operational was a difficult task for the engineering team.

f-16_block52_pakistan_air_force_paf_induction_no_5_sqn_falcons_01 f-16_block52_pakistan_air_force_paf_induction_no_5_sqn_falcons_03

f-16_block52_pakistan_air_force_paf_induction_no_5_sqn_falcons_04 f-16_block52_pakistan_air_force_paf_induction_no_5_sqn_falcons_02

mirage_pakistan_air_force_paf_no_5_sqn_falcons_03 f-16_block52_pakistan_air_force_paf_induction_no_5_sqn_falcons_05

 

 

 

JF-17 Thunder’s Weapon load

JF-17 Thunder – All round view                                         Chapter 8 : JF-17 Thunder’s Weapon Load

JF-17 configuration of weapon load:

jf-17_thunder_mission_load

JF-17 Weapon load

Weapons Rails/Hard Points:

JF-17 Thunder has seven hard points.

JF-17 Thunder has seven hard points for carrying external weapons/fuel tanks. One is on each wing tip, two under each wing and one under belly.

Pylons attachments areas marked on the upper side on wings.

Pylons attachments areas marked on the upper side on wings.

jf-17_thunder_weapon_pylons_1.jpg

JF-17’s pylon 1,2 and 6,7 are mainly used for carrying air-air missiles. JF-17 can carry two AIM-9L Sidewinders or PL-5E II Short Range Air to Air Missiles (SRAAM) on wingtip pylons (pylon 1/2) and four SD-10A Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missiles (BVRAAM) on multi ejectors racks attached on pylon 6/7. Pylon 6/7 can also carry mission pods including WMD-7 Optical targeting pod and KG-300 Electronic Warfare pod.

jf-17_thunder_pylon_5-6_fuel

JF-17’s pylon 3 and 5 with various pins for locking, security and jettissioning attached weapons/fuel stations. It can carry 1000+ Kg of weapons which include Mk-82/84 dumb bombs, LT-2/GBU-10/12 Laser Guided bombs (LGB), various classes of LS-6 gluide guided bombs, C-802 Anti-Shipping Missile (ASM) and  H-2/4 Stand-Off Weapon (SOW), Ra’ad Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) in the future.

jf-17_thunder_pylon_5-6_fuel_tank_marking jf-17_thunder_izmir_air_show_2011_wing

JF-17’s pylon 3 and 5 is mainly used for carrying 1100 L fuel tanks. In the left photo; High-visibility markings in both English and Chinese language for ground crew.

jf-17_thunder_fuel_tanks_center_line

JF-17’s pylon 4 is mainly used for carrying 800 L fuel tank. It can also be used to carry up to 2000lbs (1000kg+) of munitions.

External fuel stations

jf-17_thunder_take_off_three_fuel_tanks

JF-17 can carry three external fuel tanks (2x 1100 L under wing and 1X 800 L centerline fuel tank) both Air-to-Air and Air-to-Ground role.

The maximum range (3,000km) in a High-High-High mission profile is achieved in the following configuration:

–          Stores: 2 x PL-5E II SRAAM + 2 x SD-10A MRAAM + 2 x 1100 L tank + 800 L tank.

The maximum range (1,200km) in a Medium-Low-Low-High mission profile is achieved in the following configuration:

–          Stores: 2 x PL-5E II SRAAM + 4 x 250kg bomb + 2 x 1100 L tank + 800 L tank.

Weapon load case studies

jf-17_thunder_izmir_airshow_specs_chart

 

Characteristics / specification chart of JF-17 on the static display at Izmir during the Centenary Celebrations of Turkish Air Show 2011.

JF-17 has a maximum take-off weight 27,336 lb (12,400kg), maximum external stores weight of 8820lbs (4,000kg)

Weapon Length Diameter Weight
WMD-7 pod 2.700 m 0.390 m 280 kg
C-802A 6.392 m 36 cm 715 kg
Ra’ad ALCM 4.85 m 1100 kg
H-2/4 SOW 3650 mm 38 cm H-4: 1200 kgH-2: 980 kg (2,160 lb)
MK-82 bomb 87.4 inches (2,220 mm) 10.75 inches (273 mm) 227 kg (500 lb)
MK-84 bomb 129 in (3280 mm) 18 in (458 mm) 925 kg (2039 lb)
LT-2 3580mm 380mm 570kg
LT-3 3.58m 0.38 m 564 kg
LS-6 (500 kg) 300mm 377mm 540kg
PL-5E SRAAM 2.893m 0.127m 83kg
SD-10A MRAAM 3,850mm 203mm 180kg
AIM-9L Sidewinder 2850 mm 127mm 85.3kg
MAR-1 ARM 4.03 metres (13.2 ft) 0.23 metres (0.75 ft) 274 kilograms (600 lb)

 

According to Chief Designer of JF-17 at Dubai Air Show 2011, 3 pylons of JF-17 can carry a total of 4,000+ kg of weapon load.

Considering a JF-17 equipped with:

Case-1

4x SD-10 MRAAM on under-wing Multi Ejector Racks (Total Weight 900 kg)

2xPL-5E SRAAM on wingtips (Total Weight 170 kg)

1×800 Litre centerline fuel tank (Total Weight 648 kg) + 40kg(tank weight)  = 690kg

2×1100 Litre droptanks on inner wing pylons (Total Weight 1782 kg) 1782+ 120kg(tanks weight) =1900kg

Total weight= 900+170+690+1900 = 3660kg

Case-2

4x SD-10 MRAAM on under-wing Multi Ejector Racks (Total Weight 900 kg) [100kg for rack weight]

2xPL-5E SRAAM on wingtips (Total Weight 170 kg)

1×800 Litre centerline fuel tank (Total Weight 648 kg) + 40kg (tank weight)  = 690kg

2x 1100kg Ra’ad ALCM on inner wing pylons (Total Weight 2200 kg)

OR

2x 1200kg H-4 SOW on inner wing pylons (Total Weight 2400 kg)

OR

2x980kg H-2 SOW on inner wing pylons (Total Weight 1960 kg)

Total weight= 900+170+690+2200 = 3960kg (Ra’ad)

Total weight= 900+170+690+2400 = 4160kg (H-4)

Total weight= 900+170+690+1960 =3720 (H-2)

 Case-3

4x SD-10 MRAAM on under-wing Multi Ejector Racks (Total Weight 900 kg)

2xPL-5E SRAAM on wingtips (Total Weight 170 kg)

2x 925 kg Mk-84 Laser Guided Bomb (LGB) on inner wing pylons (Total weight 2000 kg) [1850kg +150kg for LGB kit]

1x 280 kg WMD-7 Targeting pod on centerline station = 280kg

Total weight= 900+170+2000 = 3070 kg

Weapons

jf-17_thunder_sd-10_bvr_mssile_ls-6_bomb

SD-10A Medium Range Air to Air Missiles on multi-ejector racks and LS-6, 500kg glide bomb. LS-6 has a Circular Error Probable (CEP) of less than 15m.

jf-17_thunder_c802_ashm_missile

C-802A anti-shipping missile has a range of 180km. Its flight trials with JF-17 Thunder were conducted in November 2011.

jf-17_thunder_wmd_7_electro_optic_targeting_pod

WMD-7 is an Electro-Optic targeting with infrared, TV and laser sensor. It can search, track and identify targets during both day and night.  In IR detection mode it can detect targets at 20km range, where as it can successfully identity them from 15km. The TV mode gives 22km target detection and target 17km identification features.

jf-17_thunder_kg_300_jammer_ew_pod

KG-300 Airborne Self-Protection Jamming pod is a stand-alone system carried on under wing or center line station. KG-300 provides multi-target electronic jamming, multi-signal parameter measurement, deception and other counter enemy radar features to the aircraft.

jf-17_thunder_mark-84_high_mark2010 jf-17_thunder_mark-82_high_mark2010

JF-17s equipped with 2000lbs Mk-84 and 500lbs Mk-82 bombs during Exercise High Mark 2010.

jf-17_thunder_mk-82 bomb_1000l_fuel_tanks_pl-5e_sraam

JF-17 Protoype-4 during weapon load testing in early 2009. The aircraft is equipped with 4x Mk-82 bombs, 3x 1000L fuel tanks and 2xPL-5E II SRAAM.

jf-17_thunder_pt-06_sd-10a_bvr_missile

JF-17 Protoype-6, dedicated for Chinese weapon integration and avionics testing equipped with SD-10 MRAAM. SD-10’s ‘live weapon’ firing trials were conducted on same aircraft in 2011.

MAR-1 air-to-ground Anti-Radiation Missile (ARM)

MAR-1 is an air-to-ground Anti-Radiation Missile (ARM) developed by Brazil’s Mectron Corp and the Aerospace Technology and Science Department of Brazilian Air Force. MAR-1 introduced in 2008 is a designed to perform in Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) role. It has various modes for high and low altitude radar. MAR-1 is believed to be potent weapon and enemy Surface-to-Air-Missile (SAM) radar. Its range is cited as 60 to 100 km with 90 kilograms (200 lb) warhead. PAF bought $108 million worth 100 MAR-1 missiles for JF-17 and Mirage-III/V aircraft in 2008. The missile was made operational with JF-17 in late 2011.

JF-17 Thunder Electro Optic pod

China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) JF-17 Prototype-6 seen in April ’2012 in Chendu flight center with electro-optical navigation pod.

jf-17_thunder_raptor_1_h-2_jsow_missile

Kentron  (South Africa) built Raptor-I/H-2 Stand Off Weapon (SOW), is a lethal TV-guided glide bomb produced under license by Air Weapons Comlpex (AWC), Pakistan.  H-2 can strike a target upto 60 km (37.5 miles). H-2 has a Circular Error Probable (CEP) of 3m, hardened nose and timed fuse giving it the capability to penetrate Hardened Air Shelters (HAS) before explosion. Raptor-II/H-4 SOW is improved version of its predecessor with rocket motor and improved strike range (120km).

jf-17_thunder_mark_mk84_bomb_sd-10

A JF-17 model with its armory. The inner pylons are carrying 2x 2000lbs GBU-10 LGBs.

 jf-17_thunder_gbu_500kg_lt-2_bomb.jpg

Seen above; LT-2, a 570kg LGB. LT-2 bomb comes in both 500kg and 1000kg versions.

jf-17_thunder_lt-2_lt-3_gbu-500-kg

LT-2 and LT-3, the latter is 564kg precision guided bomb with a range of 24km. LT-3 is similar to US GBU-54/55/56(V)/B Laser JDAM (LJDAM) weapons.

Illustrations and Art-Work

LS-6 Precision Guided Glide Bomb

LS-6 Precision Guided Glide Bomb

C-802 Anti-Shipping Missile

JF-17 Thunder C-802 Anti-Shipping Missile

MAR-1 Anti Radiation Missile

JF-17 Thunder MAR-1 Anti Radiation Missile

Hafr Runway Penetration Bomb

jf-17_thunder_hafr_runway_bomb_load

H-2/4 Stand-Off Weapon 

jf-17_thunder_h4_weapon_load

Ra’ad Air Launched Cruise Missile

jf-17_thunder_raad_load

GBU-12 Laser Guided Bomb and WMD-7 Electro Optic Targeting pod

jf-17_thunder_wmd_7_electro_optic_targeting_pod_loaded

References:

http://premierspacesystems.com/Aircraft.html

Centerline External Fuel Tank –4 90 liters   (130 US Gal) {395 kg, or 870 lb when full}

Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jet_fuel says 0.8075 kg/L
This source http://www.experimentalaircraft.info/homebuilt-aircraft/aviation-fuel-1.php says 0.81 kg/L or 6.76 lb/US gallon, or API density 44.3°.
 
 

Kamra base attack: some thoughts

On the night of August 15 and the Holy night of 27th Ramadan a bunch of militants pounded the heart of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Base Minhas situated at Kamra, this is also the place where Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) a leading aviation and defence production centre of Pakistanis located.

The intruders were not just a bunch of well trained, twisted-minded terrorists who could jump in the fire for fun. Neither was it a random attack by suicide bombers with loads of ammunition in their backpacks. It was deliberate and well-planned attack that was precisely executed and skilfully targeted. Unlike most of the earlier attacks on Pakistani forces the targets were not the soldiers.

The terrorists adopted the same mission profile they used in attack on PNS Mehran at Karachi on 22 May 2011, in which terrorists took advantage of civilian populated section of the base, using night as a cover, military uniforms for deception, lethal and automatic weapons like Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) for quick and precise attack. They were aided by modern equipment like Night Vision Goggles (NVG) for better situational awareness at night. Furthermore, this time terrorists took the advantage of strategic surprise by attacking on the Holy night of 27 Ramadan…any practicing Muslim would have been praying that night. Arabs did the same with the Israelis in the Yom Kippur War 1973. Attack on Yom Kippur, an important religious day for Jews, caught the Israeli forces by surprise and the advancing Arab forces accrued great advantage from this tactic.
The Kamra attack raises two major questions: why Minhas Air Force Base (AFB)? And why attack air surveillance systems only?

Minhas AFB is one of the most important air bases of PAF. The major part of the geographic location is shared by PAC, which comprises of four factories i.e. Aircraft Manufacturing Factory (AMF), Avionics Production Factory (APF), Mirage Rebuild Factory (MRF) and Aircraft Rebuild Factory (ARF). These factories build, repair and overhaul major weapons systems of PAF including JF-17 Thunder, Mirage-III/V, F-7P/PG, K-8, Mushshak/Super Mushshak aircraft, low-level and high-level radar systems and engine overhaul of C-130, Y-12 and Boeing-777 aircraft.

Minhas AFB is home to two operational fighter squadrons (namely No.14 squadron equipped with Chinese F-7P aircraft and No.16 squadron with Pak-China JF-17 Thunder aircraft), a Search and Rescue Squadron with Alouette-III helicopters and an air-surveillance squadron comprising of Saab-2000 Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems (AEW&C). Some C-130 transport aircraft and IL-78 Multirole tanker and transport aircraft are also stationed on the base.

Minhas AFB is located near densely populated city of Attock. Back in 1974, it was amongst the lowest populated areas of the district Attock. Today various villages are situated in the outskirts of the base…For reader’s interest; the main road of PAC (on which all four factories are located) was fully open to public till the suicide attack on the road of the base in late 2007.

All these reasons made Minhas AFB the prized target for terrorists. Now coming to the second question i.e. why attack air surveillance systems only?
As mentioned in the beginning of this article that the terrorists adopted mission profile used in attack on PNS Mehran, in which RPG were fired on P-3 Orion Maritime Surveillance Aircraft. That resulted in complete destruction of two of such systems and one Sea King Helicopter as well.

Just like P-3 Orions of Pak Navy (PN), Saab-2000 AEW&C aircraft are very expensive, long range air-surveillance systems. The Saab-2000 AEW&C has a range of up to 450km. It can provide battlefield picture, information about enemy targets (in air, land or sea), enhance situation awareness of combat fleet of PAF by sharing target information. Also, it can continuously remain in the air for a very long period of time.

Saab-2000 AEW&C is not a system to be used in on-going fight in Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA). It is an India-centric system. The long-range, high-endurance and deep radar coverage capability of Saab-2000 AEW&C can challenge India’s air superiority in the region. This aircraft is a part of Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) network centric system of PAF. For India, achieving air-superiority without getting the best of such air surveillance systems is not possible. Air battles of today and future will not entirely rely on well-equipped fighter units penetrating enemy air space. The network centric system of war, which includes AEW&C systems sharing battlefield information with fighter units, ground units and battleships will form the order of battle. Now, AEW&C systems are not much of a threat for militants. The question to ponder upon is: are the terrorists attacking Pakistan’s AEW&C and surveillance systems at the behest of another country? This takes state sponsoring of terrorism at a whole new level. It is a manifestation of sub-conventional warfare. What would Pakistani decision-makers do to counter this strategic nightmare? My sense is that they will have to go to whatever limits they consider essential, in their threat perception.

To address these challenges, Pakistani armed forces have to beef up the security of its military installations. Particularly, all those bases with force multiplier systems and air-surveillance systems should be given extra security. All those military bases with residential areas in their outskirts need to be monitored on routinely basis. One must complement the Air Force for a job very well done, as there is no room for complacency. In the present on-going security situation we cannot be relaxed at any given time. Multi-layered security should be made possible in all areas of bases…One thing is for sure, the attackers don’t use the front door anymore.
God bless Pakistan. Amen

A slightly different version of this article was published in The Express Tribune, August 19, 2012. Link

PAF’s Shahbaz Air Base in 2012

PAF Air Base (AB) Shahbaz, Jacobabad is the new home of F-16s. The air base was expanded in late 2009/early2010 to accommodate the newly procured F-16 Block52 aircraft. Today Shahbaz AB has an operational F-16 C/D Block-52 squadron and a Mi-171 Search And Rescue (SAR) squadron.  The F-16  A/B Block-15 aircraft which are undergoing Mid Life Update (MLU) are also placed at Shahbaz.

Officers of the No.39th Wing at Shahbaz AB  along with their aircraft.

Officers of the No.39th Wing at Shahbaz AB along with their aircraft.

Falcons engineering team with F-16 Block-52 and F-16 Mid Life Update (MLU) aircraft.

Falcons engineering team with F-16 Block-52 and F-16 Mid Life Update (MLU) aircraft.

No.5 Multi Role Sqn operates 18 F-16C/D Block-52 aircraft.

No.5 Multi Role Sqn operates 18 F-16C/D Block-52 aircraft.

f-16_mid_life_update_shahbaz

PAF is modernizing its fleet of 45 F-16 A/B Block-15 to Block50 standard with the help of Turkish Aircraft Industries (TAI), Turkey. Seen above is one of the five F-16 MLU currently operated by PAF. Later this year, four more F-16 MLU are scheduled to be delivered to PAF. F-16 MLU has AN/APG-68 V(9) Multimode radar which gives its “six on six” pylon AIM-120 AMRAAM carrying capability.