Military Balance in South Asia
By Air Marshall (Retd) Ayaz Khan of Pakistan Air Force
Unfortunately India and Pakistan had adversarial relations since sixty years. After the Mumbai carnage Pakistan is under threat of pre-emptive strikes. The Fourth Indo-Pakistan war could be triggered by another terrorist attack anywhere in India. This is a dangerous scenario.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars, and war drums for the fourth war are getting louder. It is in order therefore to comprehend Indian military capabilities, and Pakistan’s ability to defend itself.
Defense capability is an interplay of economic and military potential. Indian economy is booming and its GDP growth is in double digits. The global recession has impacted Indian economy, but its defense capability remains intact. Military power and capabilities are sustained by economic and industrial potential. Geography, demography, population, oil resources and reserves, industrial capability including defense production, dollar reserves, self-reliance, education, quality of manpower and leadership have a bearing on military power. Seven lakh Indian troops are tied down in Jammu and Kashmir. India has over one hundred billion dollar reserves. The West, Israel and Russia are India’s weapon suppliers.
Pakistan is an emerging democracy, which will take time to stabilize. Pakistan’s economy is in a poor state, and the industrial and agricultural sectors are badly affected by power outages. The seventeen billion dollar reserves left by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz have depleted to four billion and the PPP government has asked the IMF for a bailout. Pakistan has a robust defense industrial infrastructure, which has made the country self-sufficient in small and heavy arms. Pakistan is geographically linear, with north to south communications-roads and railways close to the international border, and at striking distance of the Indian Army. Pakistan’s lack of depth makes it vulnerable to thrusts by Indian armor and Rapid Action Divisions on narrow corridors.
The above Indian attributes are of advantage for a prolonged war, but for short battles, and pre-emptive strikes, and response, ready military capabilities, i.e. preparedness, deployment of forces, POL and weapon reserves, quality of fighting personnel, morale and motivation, and bold civil and military leadership are important requisites.
The 2.5 million Indian Army comprises 1,300,000 personnel in active service, 1,200,000 reserve troops, and 200,000 territorial force. The mission of the Indian military is: (1) "Safeguard national sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of India, (2) Assist government agencies to cope with proxy wars, and internal threats and aid to civil power. The structure and strength of Indian armed forces do provide such a capability.The Indian Army and the Indian Air Force are structured into six commands, viz. Northern, Western, South Western, Central, Eastern and Southern Command. Eighty percent of troops and armor are under the Northern, Western and South Western Commands, i.e. in Jammu and Kashmir, and along Pakistan’s border. Indian Strike Corps are exercised for attacks in corridors from Southern Punjab, and Rajasthan and Thar deserts. The Indian Army has eighteen Corps with 34 Divisions including four Rapid Action Divisions, which would spearhead ground offensives.
The Pakistan Army has ten Corps and twenty-five divisions. Indian Army has eighteen Infantry, ten Mountain, three Armored, and two Artillery Divisions. Besides, it has five Infantry, one Parachute, thirteen Air Defense, and four Engineering Brigades, designated as independent formations. In addition, there are two Air Defense Groups, and fourteen Army Aviation Helicopter units. This is a sizable force, capable of launching major offensives from several fronts. The decentralized command structure will be an advantage, as compared to Pakistan’s centralized Army command organization.
The Pakistan Army has an active force of 620,000 well-trained personnel, with 528000 reservists, and 150000 para-military troops. Pakistan armed forces are the seventh largest in the world. Pakistan Army’s doctrine of "Offensive Defense" evolved by General Mirza Aslam Beg was put to test in 1989 in Exercise Zarb-e Momin. The doctrine is to launch a sizeable offensive into enemy territory rather than wait for enemy strikes or attacks.
In case of an Indian land offensive Pakistan Army and Air Force will respond with land and air offensives to gain and hold enemy territory. Before embarking on further offensive, gains shall be consolidated. In 1990 the Central Corps of Reserves was created to fight in the desert sectors, where enemy land offensives are expected. These dual capable formations trained for offensive and holding actions are fully mechanized.
The Pakistan Army has ten Corps including the newly formed Strategic Corps. The Army has twenty-six divisions (eight less than India). Two more divisions were raised as Corps reserves for V and XXXI Corps. The Army has two armored divisions, and ten independent armored brigades. Presently one hundred thousand troops are stationed on the Pak-Afghan border to fight terror. The Special Service Group – SSG - comprises two airborne Brigades, i.e. six battalions. Pakistan Army has 360 helicopters, over two thousand heavy guns, and 3000 APC’s. Its main anti-tank weapons are Tow, Tow Mk II, Bakter Shiken and FGM 148 ATGM. The Army Air Defense Command has S.A- 7 Grail, General Dynamics FIM-92 Stinger, GD FIM Red Eye, and ANZA Mk-I, Mk-II, Mk-III and HQ 2 B surface ti air missiles. Radar controlled Oerlikon is the standard Ack Ack weapon system.
The ballistic missile inventory of the Army is substantial. It comprises Ghauri III and Shaheen III IRB’S; medium range Ghauri I and II and Shaheen II, and short range Hatf I- B, Abdali, Ghaznavi, Shaheen I and M -11 missiles. All the ballistic missiles can carry nuclear warheads. Nuclear and conventional weapon capable Babur Cruise missile is the new addition to Pakistan’s strategic weapon inventory. The number of ballistic missiles and warheads are almost the same as those of India. So there is a parity in nuclear weapons, which is a deterrent.
The Indian armor is of Russian origin. Out of 2295 Indian Army’s Main Battle tanks, 2235 are of Russian origin. The main battle tanks are: 310 T-90-S Bishsma's (300 are on order), 1925 T-72M Ajeya’s.. The T-90 and the T-72 have 125 mm smooth barrel guns. T-72 though old is the backbone of Indian Armor Corp’s. 268 Ajeya’s have been upgraded with Israeli Elbit thermal imaging systems. 1000 T-72 MBT’s are awaiting up-gradation. There have been several instances of T-72's gun barrel bursting. 124 Indian made Arjun (heavy 56 ton) MBT are on order. Sixty Arjuns are in operational service. Arjun’s engine overheating problem has not been solved. Arjun has a 120 mm gun, but is unfit for desert operations.
The Pakistan Army is equally strong in armor, capable of giving a fitting response to any Indian military adventure. Main Battle tanks Al-Khalid and Al-Zarrar are the backbone of Pakistan armor Corps. Both are Pakistan made. Pakistan’s tank armory comprises: five hundred Al-Khalid MBT’s; 320 Al-Zarrar type 85 II MBT’s, 500 Al-Zarrar MBT’s; 450 79II AP (Chinese type 81 upgrade, and 570 T-80 UD MBT of Ukranian make. In addition, Pakistan has 880 Type 59, which were procured from China in 1970.This makes a total of three thousand six hundred and twenty tanks. All Pakistani MBTs except T-59s have 125 mm smooth barrel guns.
Indian armor offensives in Kashmir, Punjab, and Sindh would be effectively challenged by Pakistani armor and mechanized formations, depending on PAF’s ability to keep the skies over the battle areas clear of Indian Air Force. India’s modern air defense system has Israeli Arrow anti-missile missiles, and 90,000 surface to air missiles -SAMs.
India has one hundred nuclear armed ballistic missiles (Agni-1 and Agni II), and Brahmos the new supersonic cruise missile. The Indian Army is well trained, equipped and highly professional, and so is the Pakistan Army.
Air power is likely to play a key, if not a decisive, role in any future major or minor India-Pakistan armed conflict. The aim of Indian pre-emptive strikes will be the maximum destruction by surprise air attacks, combined with shock commando action. A possible scenario is intensive bombing of the target to be followed by attacks by armed helicopters and ground assault by heliborne commandos.
An overview of Indian Air Force and Pakistan Air Force will help comprehension of IAF’s offensive capabilities, and the defensive capabilities of Pakistan Air Force. Indian Air Force has 3000 aircraft including training, transport, helicopters and 800-1000 combat aircraft, which operate from sixty air bases, including the Farkhor airbase in Tajikistan. Six hundred IAF’s strike and air defense fighters are expected to be operational. Pakistan Air Force has 630 aircraft, which include 530 combat aircraft, with 400 operational at any time.
In 1996 India signed an agreement with Russia for the purchase of 90 Su 30 Mk-1 multi-role fighter-bombers. In 2004 a multi-billion license was signed for building additional 140. 240 Su30-Mk-1's were ordered, 120 are already in service. With a maximum speed of Mach 2.3 and range of 8000 Km with refueling and ability to carry tons of conventional munitions and nuclear weapons, it is a lethal and menacing weapon system for the strike and interception role. Other IAF’s advanced strike and combat aircraft are: 51 Mirage-2000 (of Kargil fame), 60 Mig-29's (for air defense), 250 old Mig-21's (110 have been refurbished with Israeli help), 47 Jaguars and 70 Mig-27's for ground attack. 220 LCA Teja’s under manufacture at HAL Bangalore will start entering service in 2010. IAF’s fighter pilots are well trained and have out shone American pilots during joint exercises.
Pakistan Air Force has 200 rebuilt Mirage- 3's (for night air defense) and Mirage-5's for the strike role. They can carry nuclear weapons. They have been upgraded with new weapon systems, radars, and avionics. Additionally, the PAF has 42 F-16's, 150 F-7's including 55 latest F-7 PG’s. Manufacture of 150 JF 17 Thunder fighters (jointly designed) is underway at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra. The JF-17 Thunder is a 4th generation fly by wire multi-role fighter aircraft. Eight are already in PAF service. An order has been placed with China for the purchase of 36 JF-10, a Mach 2.3 -5th generation multi-role fighter, comparable in performance to the Su-30 Mk-1 with the Indian Air Force.
PAF is on Red Alert, and is maintaining full vigil to intercept and destroy IAF intruders. During the recent air space violation, the IAF intruders were in the sights of PAF’s F-16's, but were allowed to escape unscathed to avoid a major diplomatic crisis.
PAF pilots and technicians are well-trained professionals, who will be able to prove their mettle in the future battle with India.
A comparison of Indian Navy and Pakistan Navy reveals that Pakistan Navy could inflict substantial damage on the Indian Navy. The Indian Navy has 16 submarines. Pakistan Navy has ten, some are brand new. Indian Navy has 27 war ships, Pakistan Navy has ten. Indian Aircraft Carrier Veerat will be a menace, and must be sunk by submarine or air attacks, if it attempts to block Pakistan’s sea lanes or ports.
It is hoped that better sense would prevail and India would desists from attacking Pakistan. If it does, the consequences will be horrible for both the countries.
Source: Pakistan Link
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21st Century High-Tech Warfare
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Mockery of National Sovereignty
In its latest yearbook, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said the neighbours are continuing to develop new ballistic and cruise missile systems capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
In 2010, the Indian nuclear arsenal had 60-80 nukes but they have increased to 80-110 warheads. On the same pattern, the Pakistani side also increased its warheads from 70-90 to 90-110 warheads in the same period, SIPRI said in a release.
"India and Pakistan continue to develop new ballistic and cruise missile systems capable of delivering nuclear weapons. They are also expanding their capacities to produce fissile material for military purposes," it said.
India, Pakistan and six other countries -- the US, the UK, Russia, France, China and Israel -- possess more than 20,500 nuclear weapons, a drop of more than 2000 since 2009.
More than 5000 of these weapons are deployed and ready for use, including nearly 2000 that are kept in a state of high operational alert.
India carried out its first nuclear test in 1974 in Pokhran and followed up again in 1998 at the same place. Soon after the 1998 tests, India declared a 'no-first use' policy of nuclear weapons and has been developing a credible nuclear response capability in view of it.
It has already developed a triad of nuclear delivery systems with the development of land, sea and air-based weapon systems.
According to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) it has flown more than 5,500 strike sorties over the country’s troubled tribal regions since May 2008. In a rare glimpse into Pakistan’s attempt to counter domestic terrorism from the air, the commander of the PAF described some lessons learned to the Air Chiefs Conference here in Dubai on Saturday.
The need for good airborne reconnaissance was paramount, said Air Chief Marshall Rao Qamar Suleiman. When the Pakistan army launched large-scale operations in the remote Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in August 2008, the PAF had to rely on Google Earth imagery when planning air support missions, Suleiman admitted.
However, by the time that the army was ready to move against insurgents in the Swat Valley in May 2009, the PAF had acquired Goodrich DB-110 electro-optical reconnaissance pods for its F-16 fighters, together with the same company’s ground station for imagery exploitation. Intelligence analysts could now identify terrorist training camps, ammunition dumps and command and control facilities. Some of these targets were well camouflaged, and protected by bunkers, Suleiman noted.
Two days before the ground offensive was launched, the PAF launched a series of interdiction missions, and followed up with close air support throughout the six-month campaign. From the imagery collected by the PAF, the army was also able to identify suitable landing zones for the airdrops of commandos.
In these mountainous regions, airpower was best delivered from medium altitude by fast jets, Suleiman said. “The army has lost many attack helicopters due to their operating limitations at high elevations, and [due to] hostile fire,” he noted. Fighters could also react more quickly to developing combat situations.
When the army turned its attention to South Waziristan in October 2009, the PAF conducted a seven-day campaign in advance. By now, the service had added FLIR Systems Star Safire III EO/IR sensor ball to one of its C-130 transports. Army staff on board the C-130 was able to track the movement of terrorists at night, and radio maneuvering instructions to soldiers on the ground.
The PAF has completely overhauled its tactics and techniques for the conduct of irregular warfare, Suleiman said. All of the squadrons were put through a training program over a four-month period. Laser-guided bombs have been used in 80 percent of the PAF strikes, the PAF chief revealed. Avoiding collateral damage was a primary concern, he explained, “especially since we were engaging targets within our own country. We engage isolated structures only, away from populated areas.”
More than 10,600 bombs have been dropped, and 4,600 targets destroyed, he said. The PAF has flown more than 500 F-16 sorties with the DB-110 pod, and 650 with the Star Safire EO/IR sensor on the C-130.
The statistics may impress but while Suleiman claimed that “we’ve broken the back of militants in the FATA,” he also warned that offensive military engagement could only accomplish “10 to 15 percent” of the task of pacifying the tribal areas. The rest must be done by dialogue, winning hearts and minds through economic development of these very poor regions, he said.
In his presentation, Pakistan’s Air Chief Marshall Rao Qamar Suleiman did not mention the Selex Galileo Falco UAV. However, Pakistan was the first customer for the reconnaissance drone, which carries the Anglo-Italian company’s own electro-optical/infrared sensor ball. Suleiman later told AIN that there had been problems with the UAV’s data link, caused partly by terrain masking. “Then we put in a relay station, and started flying it higher, so now we are using it more,” he continued.
In 2009 when the first of the three Russian-Israeli spy planes arrived in New Delhi, it was viewed as the Indian Air Force’s big technological leap leaving adeversaries like Pakistan behind. Two years down the line, Pakistan has knocked much of this technology gap off with help from China by adding planes that can peep inside Indian border and thwart aerial strikes.
IAF bosses now admit that it was time to redraw its plans regarding acquistion of more Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems, popularly known as “eye in the sky” because of its capacity to scan wide areas to dissolve any aerial threats from missiles and combat jets.
The IAF has in its fleet three Israeli Phalcon systems, arguably one of the best of the AEW&C available anywhere in the world bought for a whopping $1.1 billion. Mounted on a modified Russian transporter IL-76, Phalcon is central to IAF’s plans to maintain air superiority by quickly and simultanesously searching, tracking and locking targets spread over a big area.
Pakistan has bridged this technological divide to a greater extent, said a senior officer about Pakistan Air Force inductions like Swedish Erieye System and much bigger China’s ZDK-03 which, like the Indian Phalcon, is mounted on Russian Il-76. The official said that Pakistan is looking to have atleast 10 of these aircraft which is too big a number for a small country.
It has led to an AEW&C race in the sub-continent with India getting ready for a repeat order of Phalcons. All eyes were also on Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) own plans to develop an AEW&C at home which is going to be ready for trials soon. The Indian system would be mounted on Brazilian Embraer EMB-145 aircraft and the IAF hopes the DRDO will be able to deliver a good platform without much delays.
Ahead of the DRDO trials, Pakistan would induct first of four ZDK-03 AEW&C developed by China in a move that has generated some interest. Little is known about ZDK-03 which is said to be another product of Chinese reverse engineering, according to experts.
Pakistan already has three Erieye systems bought from the Swedish company SAAB as part of its “Project Horizon”. These are being operated by Chaklala-based 13th squadron.
Experts said the PAF’s sector operations centers were connected by Erieye Ground Interface Segment, as has been the case with other operators like Brazil, Greece and Mexcio that use Erieyes. Brazilian AEW expert Sergio Ricardo told the Express that India still has an edge because the Israeli system is much more advanced but others were catching up fast. The Phalcons were not sold to China by Israel under the US pressure.
While India is still years away from getting an AIP-equipped submarine, Pakistan already has one in the shape of PNS Hamza, one of the three French Agosta-90B submarines inducted by it over the last decade. Moreover, work is also underway to retrofit the French "Mesma" AIP in hulls of the other two submarines, PNS Khalid and PNS Saad.
The six new-generation submarines from China, the improved Yuan-class boats with "Stirling-cycle" AIP, will further add a punch to Pakistan's underwater warfare capabilities.
India, in sharp contrast, has so far refused to consider the Mesma AIP option in the ongoing Rs 23,562-crore project (P-75) to build six French Scorpene submarines at Mazagon Docks (MDL), already running three years' behind schedule with the boats now slated to roll out from 2015 to 2020.
"There has also been a huge cost escalation. To incorporate the steam-based Mesma AIP in the 5th and 6th Scorpenes would cost another $100 million or so," said a senior defence ministry official.
"Moreover, Navy is more keen on fuel-cell AIP. DRDO is developing one such system, which has been tested on shore. If it comes through, it can be considered for the 5th and 6th Scorpenes," he added.
To further compound matters, there is excruciatingly slow progress on P-75I, which envisages acquisition of six new stealth submarines, equipped with both tube-launched missiles for land-attack capabilities as well as AIP, for over Rs 50,000 crore.
The RFP (request for proposal) to be issued to foreign collaborators like Rosoboronexport ( Russia), DCNS (France), HDW (Germany) and Navantia (Spain) will be possible only towards end-2011 at the earliest.
"If one foreign shipyard can give AIP, it cannot provide land-attack missile capabilities, and vice-versa. So, P-75I is very complex...it will take at least two years to even finalize it, and another six-seven years after that for the first submarine to be ready," he said.
The plan till now is to directly import two submarines from a foreign collaborator, with three being built at MDL in Mumbai, and the sixth at Hindustan Shipyard in Visakhapatnam under transfer of technology.
Incidentally, Navy will have only five of its existing 10 Russian Kilo-class and four German HDW submarines by 2020. Consequently, even with the six Scorpenes, India will be far short of its operational requirement of at least 18 conventional submarines for the foreseeable future.
Asia and Oceania accounted for 44 per cent of global arms imports, followed by Europe (19 per cent), the Middle East (17 per cent), the Americas (11 per cent) and Africa (9 per cent).
India was the world’s largest recipient of arms, accounting for 10 per cent of global arms imports. The four next largest recipients of arms in 2007–2011 were South Korea (6 per cent of arms transfers), Pakistan (5 per cent), China (5 per cent) and Singapore (4 per cent).
‘Major Asian importing states are seeking to develop their own arms industries and decrease their reliance on external sources of supply,’ said Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme. ‘A large share of arms deliveries is due to licensed production.’
China shifts from imports to exports
China, which was the largest recipient of arms exports in 2002–2006, fell to fourth place in 2007–11. The decline in the volume of Chinese imports coincides with the improvements in China’s arms industry and rising arms exports.
Between 2002–2006 and 2007–11, the volume of Chinese arms exports increased by 95 per cent. China now ranks as the sixth largest supplier of arms in the world, narrowly trailing the United Kingdom.
‘While the volume of China’s arms exports is increasing, this is largely a result of Pakistan importing more arms from China’, said Paul Holtom, director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme. ‘China has not yet achieved a major breakthrough in any other significant market.’
Other notable developments
In 2011 Saudi Arabia placed an order with the USA for 154 F-15SA combat aircraft, which was not only the most significant order placed by any state in 2011 but also the largest arms deal for at least 2 decades.
Greece’s arms imports decreased by 18 per cent between 2002–2006 and 2007–11. In 2007–11 it was the 10th largest arms importer, down from being the 4th largest in 2002–2006. Greece placed no new order for major conventional weapons in 2011.
Venezuela’s arms imports increased by 555 per cent between 2002–2006 and 2007–11 and it rose from being the 46th largest importer to the 15th largest.
The volume of deliveries of major conventional weapons to states in North Africa increased by 273 per cent between 2002–2006 and 2007–11. Morocco’s imports of major weapons increased by 443 per cent between 2002–2006 and 2007–11.
The comprehensive annual update of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Database is accessible from today at www.sipri.org.
According to a report by Stratfor, the Texas-based private intelligence agency, “China has been seen as a threat to India, and simplistic models show them to be potential rivals. In fact, however, China and India might as well be on different planets. Their entire frontier runs through the highest elevations of the Himalayas. It would be impossible for a substantial army to fight its way through the few passes that exist, and it would be utterly impossible for either country to sustain an army there in the long term. The two countries are irrevocably walled off from each other. Ideally, New Delhi wants to see a Pakistan that is fragmented, or at least able to be controlled. Toward this end, it will work with any power that has a common interest and has no interest in invading India.”
On March 16, Pranab Mukherjee, India’s Finance Minister, jacked up India’s defence budget by a wholesome 17 percent-one of the sharpest ever jump over the past 65 years. The defence allocation now stands at a colossal $38.6 billion up an alarming 350 percent in rupee terms since 1999.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is upgrading its entire fleet of 51 Mirage 2000s. IAF has already assigned the nuclear strike role to its ‘Vajra’ fighter jets and now the fleet is getting “new RDY-3 radars with greater air-air and air-ground capability, a new night vision compatible all-digital cockpit and improved electronic warfare systems.” Then there is a hefty $20 billion in the new budget for 126 Rafale twinjet combat aircraft for “high-accuracy strikes and nuclear strike deterrence.” There also is $4 billion for an artillery modernization programme that includes 145 ultra-light howitzers for India’s mountain divisions stationed opposite Pakistani borders.
India has six neighbours-Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Nepal and China. Pakistan’s defence spending stands at $5.16 billion, Bangladesh $1.137 billion, Nepal $100 million and Burma $30 million. Collectively, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma and Nepal spend $6.5 billion a year on defence. India just by itself now spends a colossal $38.6 billion on defence. Who is India going to fight with?
Bharatiya Sthalsena (the Indian Army) already has 3,773,000 troops plus 1,089,700 paramilitary forces and is second only to China in size. IAF already has 1,700 aircraft and is the world’s 4th largest. The Indian Navy already operates some 13-dozen vessels with INS Viraat as its flagship, the only “full-deck aircraft carrier operated by a country in Asia or the Western Pacific, along with operational jet fighters.”
On the ground, Bharatiya Sthalsena has a total of 13 corps of which 6 are strike corps. Of the 13 corps more than half have their guns pointed at Pakistan. The 3rd Armoured Division, 2nd Armoured Brigade, 4 RAPID, Jaisalmer AFS, Utarlai AFS and Bhuj AFS are all aiming at splitting Pakistan into two (by capturing the Kashmore/Guddu Barrage-Reti-Rahimyar Khan triangle).
For the record, the 2011 Global Hunger Index (GHI) Report ranked India 45th amongst leading countries with hunger situation. According to the United Nations Development Programme 37.2 percent of Indians live below the national poverty line. Amazingly, poverty is so deep-rooted that India alone has 33 percent of world’s poor.
He said all the latest weapon systems have been inducted and operationalised ; the fighter fleet has been upgraded with the fourth generation fighter aircraft and force multipliers.
He pointed out that the PAF has established two squadrons of its very own indigenously produced JF-17 Thunder Aircraft whose production started in the last three years.
This aircraft also saw unprecedented success in various exercises and international Air Shows the world over.
Air Chief Marshal Qamar Suleman said other major inductions included Saab-2000 AEW&C, ZDK-03 AWACS, IL-76 air-to-air refuellers and Spada-2000 Lomad systems. Alongside induction of sophisticated equipment, its operationalisation and availability for operations was attained in a very professional manner within these 3 years.
He said handling technologies four decades apart was the real test for the operational and technical experts of the PAF. They all can be proud of the fact that, despite limitations, PAF as a team with its talented human resource accomplished both the tasks in the most professional manner.
“Today we can claim with confidence that the technical and operational capabilities of PAF have been strengthened to adequately meet all the challenges,” he declared.
He said another important achievement, while they were inducting and operationalising new hardware, participating in national and international exercises, revamping training system, operating the legacy systems and undertaking all operational tasks as necessitated by the environment, the PAF also accomplished maximum flying in its history.
For two consecutive years, PAF crossed the 90,000 hrs mark and they could be proud of the fact that these feats were accomplished while achieving the best ever flight safety record in these three years and making 2010 an accident free year first time in our history and that too with maximum flying during the year.
The outgoing Air Chief said during the last three years, there have been numerous new initiatives, introduction of new policies and systems, very large number of successful operational and non-operational accomplishments and meaningful contributions towards nation building as well as provision of support during natural calamities. All this could not have been possible without Allah Almighty’s blessings and devotion, dedication and hard work by his excellent team, which included all the PSOs, ACsAS, field commanders and all airmen of the PAF.
Estimated to have 80-100 nuclear warheads, India is modernising its nuclear arsenal to increase the diversity, range, and sophistication of its delivery vehicles, a report said Tuesday,At the same time, it estimates that Pakistan has more nuclear weapons than India, saying Islamabad is rapidly developing and expanding its atomic arsenal at a cost of $2.5 billion a year. The report “Assuring Destruction Forever: Nuclear Modernisation around the World” said India is developing a range of delivery vehicles, including land- and sea-based missiles, bombers, and submarines.“There are no official estimates of the size of India’s stockpile of fissile materials, though it is known that India produces both HEU (highly enriched uranium) for its nuclear submarines and plutonium for weapons,” said the 150-page report by ‘Reaching Critical Will of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.’The part of the report dealing with India was contributed by Professor MV Ramana, a physicist who works at the Nuclear Futures Laboratory and the Programme on Science and Global Security, both at Princeton University, a physicist who works at the Nuclear Futures Laboratory and the Programme on Science and Global Security at Princeton University. “There has been speculation that India has used reactor-grade plutonium in its nuclear weapons, in which case, the nuclear arsenal could potentially be much larger, as India has approximate 3.8 to 4.6 tons of separated plutonium from its power reactors. Its fast breeder reactor programme also provides another potential source of producing weapon-grade plutonium”Based on its Dec. 2011 recent missile tests, the report said, “It appears that India is aiming to have all legs of its nuclear triad operational by 2013. There are also plans to expand the nuclear weapons and missile production complex as well as the capacity to enrich uranium. “The expansion of India’s nuclear and missile arsenals are part of a larger military build-up and consistently increasing military spending.
It is estimated that Pakistan could have a stockpile of 2750 kg of weapon - grade HEU and may be producing about 150 kg of HEU per year,” it said.Estimates suggest Pakistan has produced a total of about 140 kg of plutonium, the report said.
A Practical UCAV for Pakistan
The attempt forward will be to propose a solution in the form of a UCAV for the PAF. We will first focus on some basic parameters that need to be fulfilled. The focus will then shift to defining a specific solution that meets those requirements in a most balanced manner.
We identify the following characteristics as imperative for the discussed UCAV solution:
1. Unmanned Platform
2. Simple construction and achievable technology
3. Simplified single-engine buildable in Pakistan
4. Relatively Low Cost
5. Economy and asymmetry in sensor load
6. Using parts bin of existing aircraft and from industry partners
7. Designed for high altitude, high speed f-pole BVR combat
8. Structure can operate in and sustain high G-forces
9. Artificial Intelligence
10. Network centric
11. Swarm & Group Tactics
12. Low Observable
13. Combat Air Patrol efficiency
14. Interceptor suitability
In the Grande Strategic view, PAF can use large numbers of J-UCAVs as a cheap and ideal counter for IAF and any other air force that seeks to undermine Pakistani airspace. They could form a picket line that are the first to deal with enemies and are reinforced with manned fighters where necessary. Such J-UCAVs would require very low maintenance, near zero training costs and may be cheap enough to not worry about being put outside hardened shelters, a valued commodity for PAF. Armed with 2 BVRs and 2 WVRs, J-UCAVs could prove to become the foot soldier of the skies, lightly armed and yet overwhelming in their numbers.
UCAVs are an emerging technology that has the potential to revolutionize air warfare. While the 5th generation of combat planes is today the pinnacle of military aviation, UCAVs present paradigms that can supplement if not supplant manned fighters of the 4th and 5th generations. People who discuss a potential 6th generation inevitably mention unmanned aircraft as a likely salient. Unlike the 5th generation of aircraft that are extremely expensive and complex to build and maintain UCAVs provide the potential of finding an equivalent solution with significant reduction in complexity and cost.
The PAF has until now not considered UCAVs in the air-to-air role. With the systematic addition of net-centric warfare with platforms such as Erieye, ZDK03, ground radars, future planned communication satellite and the necessary middleware for a superior C4I, Pakistan has managed to transform the battle environment to one were UCAVS can multiply the effectiveness and flexibility of the entire air defense system.
While nations struggle to keep their 4th generation aircraft operational and can barely dream about 5th generation solutions, UCAVs provide an interesting paradigm shift that cannot be ignored by those entrusted with the defense of their nations and peoples. For some like Pakistan, UCAVs may be the only realistic way to counter a large number of PAKFAs and possibly other 5th generation planes sitting across the border in belligerent India, whose stalwarts dream about “cold starts” and “surgical strikes”, and are only kept at bay by the strength of arms and the courage of the Pakistani soldier; whether on land, in the depths of the seas, or up high over the towering mountains and skies above.
The Pakistan Navy on Saturday completed the establishment of a new Naval Strategic Force Command, described by the military as the custodian of the country's nuclear second strike capability.
Naval Strategic Force Command headquarters was inaugurated by naval Chief Admiral Mohammad Asif Sandila. The event was attended by Strategic Plans Division Chief Lt Gen (retired) Khalid Kidwai and senior naval and military officers.
Vice Admiral Tanveer Faiz, commander of the Naval Strategic Force Command, said the Naval Strategic Force Command, which is "the custodian of the nation's second strike capability", will strengthen Pakistan's policy of credible minimum deterrence and ensure regional stability.
The headquarters of the Naval Strategic Force Command will perform a "pivotal role in the development and employment of the naval strategic force", Faiz was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the military.
Admiral Sandila said the inauguration of the headquarters marked the "formal establishment of the Naval Strategic Force Command".
The statement did not give details of the weapon systems and delivery platforms that comprise Pakistan's second strike capability.
Unlike India, Pakistan does not have a "no first use" policy for its nuclear arsenal. India adopted the "no first use" policy shortly after its nuclear tests in 1998.
Pakistan has acknowledged the existence of a sea-based nuclear deterrent with the recent inauguration of the Headquarters of the Naval Strategic Force Command (NSFC) by the head of the Navy, Adm. Asif Sandhila.
A May 19 press release by the military’s Inter Services Public Relations stated the NSFC “will perform a pivotal role in development and employment of the Naval Strategic Force,” and was “the custodian of the nation’s 2nd strike capability.”
Mansoor Ahmed, lecturer at Quaid-e-Azam University’s Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, and who specializes in Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs, said this is all but specific confirmation of the widely speculated submarine-launched variant of the Babur/HATF-VII (Vengeance-VII) cruise missile.
Analyst Usman Shabbir of the Pakistan Military Consortium think tank said Pakistan has been working on its sea-based deterrent for some time.
“When the Babur was first revealed in 2005, it was claimed that it is mainly designed to be deployed from submarines. There was at least that speculation,” he said.
The Navy “has pretty good experience in using similar systems, for example, both submarine-launched Harpoon and Exocet use a similar system, and [the Navy] has operated both for a long time.”
Shabbir speculates that the launch method may be similar to the UGM-84 Harpoon’s method of being fired from torpedo tubes.
However, other analysts are not so certain the Navy can afford to undertake the responsibility of the nation’s second-strike capability.
Former Australian defense attaché to Islamabad Brian Cloughley said the size of Pakistan’s submarine force is too small to carry out this task.
“Pakistan’s current submarine fleet is not adequate in numbers [although well-trained] to be able to undertake detection and effective interdiction of the Indian fleet, given its size — which is increasing, even if slowly,” he said.
Currently, Pakistan’s submarine flotilla comprises two refurbished 1970s-era Agosta-70s and three 1990s-era Agosta-90B submarines. The latter are equipped with air independent propulsion (AIP) or are in the process of being retrofitted with the AIP module, and incrementally entered service from 1999.
Cloughley said interdiction of India’s fleet “must remain [the Navy’s] first priority,” and considers “conversion of the present assets to take Babur not only costly but a most regrettable diversion of budget allocation.”
“I would go so far as to say that, in present circumstances, it would be a grave error if such a program were to go ahead,” he added.
The Navy, however, has a requirement for new submarines and wants to increase their number. The Agosta-90B design has been superseded twice, once by the DCNI Scorpene, and briefly by a paper design called the Marlin before it was absorbed into the Scorpene family.
There is a confirmed requirement for 12 to 14 submarines to meet Navy expansion plans. This would allow for a constant war patrol of at least one deterrent-tasked submarine, leaving other submarines to carry out more traditional tasks.
However, Cloughley is still certain that Pakistan does not require such a capability.
“[Pakistan] has plenty of nuclear-capable SSMs and strike aircraft, and does not need a Navy-oriented second-strike capability,” he said.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Pakistan has expanded its short-range missile capability while India is developing weapons systems which can fire nuclear warheads from land, sea and air.
The escalation in nuclear capabilities has caused alarm because, despite recent improvements in relations between the two countries, the threat of a nuclear conflict remains.
There were fears of a military clash in 2008, shortly after Pakistan-based terrorists launched a multi-target attack on Mumbai, while in 2002 there were real concerns that rising tensions could lead to a nuclear attack.
Those concerns are based on Pakistan's development of "first-strike" tactical short-range warheads to counter India's superior conventional forces and weak mechanisms to avoid misunderstandings between the two countries in a military build-up.
According to the Stockholm-based think tank Pakistan has expanded its arsenal of short-range tactical missiles, which can be used to strike smaller targets like bridges, tank columns and other installations.
India unveiled its first nuclear-powered submarine earlier this year and is expected to launch its first nuclear-armed submarine some time next year to complete its land, sea and air capability.
Pakistan is believed to have slightly more nuclear warheads than India – 90 to 110 compared with New Delhi's 80-100. But experts say the figures may not include Pakistan's growing number of short-range tactical weapons.
Dr Anupam Srivastava, leading nuclear security expert and director of the Centre for International Trade and Security at Georgia University, said the concern over Pakistan's build-up of tactical nuclear weapons is that it has a "first-use policy". "In a conflict between India and Pakistan, Pakistan's policy is that it can and will be the first to use nuclear weapons. Faced with India's conventional military superiority, they've tried to build an additional layer of security for themselves to deter a conventional strike," he said.
The danger is that the two countries have yet to develop the channels of dialogue between their military chiefs to ensure there are no catastrophic misunderstandings over troop movements and military exercises. "This doesn't exist for tactical weapons between India and Pakistan," he added.
The only true believers in the civil-nuclear deal, besides its U.S. boosters, were the stewards of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. After the deal was struck, Pakistan’s requirements for credible deterrence, which were set high to begin with, appear to have grown higher still. Three related developments seem especially noteworthy: the start-up of construction on a fourth plutonium production reactor to increase Pakistan’s inventory of nuclear weapons, the imposition of a veto against negotiations for a fissile material cut-off treaty, and the explicit requirement for battlefield, or tactical, nuclear weapons. The first two appear to have been a direct consequence of the deal; the third was a consequence of the Indian military’s adoption of a “pro-active” defense doctrine (known as “Cold Start” in some circles) and a growing disparity in Indian and Pakistani conventional capabilities, as well as the deal.
The civ-nuke deal added insult to injury in Pakistan, where it was perceived as providing an international escort for India to sit at the high table of states possessing nuclear weapons, while leaving Pakistan out in the cold. The deal was characterized as a threat to national security because it permitted a significant influx of foreign-origin nuclear power plants and fuel; because Indian authorities stated their intention to build eight new, unsafeguarded domestic power plants; and because India’s breeder-reactor program would produce a flood of new fissile material.
These worst-case planning factors have not panned out. True, India has purchased uranium from abroad for its power plants, freeing up domestic material for bomb-making, but the Indian Parliament continues to resist liability limits for foreign companies, which stands in the way of power-plant construction for the United States and other sellers. Domestic construction of power plants also remains in the doldrums, and the ambitious plans of India’s Department of Atomic Energy for breeder reactors are as suspect as those of the Defense Research and Development Organization for the development of tanks, planes, and missiles. [For a withering critique of the DAE and DRDO, see Verghese Koithara’s outstanding new book, Managing India’s Nuclear Forces (2012).]
DRDO’s promises have become even more wildly optimistic under the leadership of Dr. V.K. Saraswat, who is now promoting effective, near-term ballistic missile defenses for Delhi and Mumbai. Just as few in the Pakistani media question their military’s nuclear requirements, few in the Indian media question the claims of DRDO and DAE. Instead, they serve as a transmission belt and lobbying arm for these enclaves.
The civil-nuclear deal and DRDO’s record of poor performance suggest that it would be wise to avoid unduly optimistic and pessimistic assessments about Indian missile defenses. Nonetheless, U.S. technology transfers for BMD, like the civ-nuke deal, would have little up-side potential and considerable down-side risk. These transfers would not help India produce an effective missile-defense system, nor change New Delhi’s embrace of strategic autonomy. They would, however, add further impetus to a three-cornered nuclear arms competition in southern Asia. President Obama has not endorsed BMD transfers, but President Romney might.
In this Nuclear Notebook, the authors write about nonstrategic nuclear weapons—starting with the difficulty of finding a universal definition for them. Although the United States and Russia have reduced their nonstrategic stockpiles, significant inventories remain. And other nuclear weapons states appear to have nonstrategic nuclear weapons as well. Today, at least five of the world’s nine nuclear weapons states have, or are developing, what appears to meet the definition of a nonstrategic nuclear weapon: Russia, the United States, France, Pakistan, and China. The authors present information on the weapons at each of these arsenals.
Like France, Pakistan characterizes all its nuclear weapons as strategic. However, Pakistan is developing a new short-range rocket with nuclear capability that certainly would be characterized as a nonstrategic nuclear weapon if it belonged to Russia or the United States. Moreover, even the Pakistani statements about the weapon clearly place it in a different category.
The new weapon, the Nasr, is a 60-kilometer ballistic missile launched from a mobile twin-canister launcher. Following its first test launch in April 2011, the Pakistani military news organization, Inter Services Public Relations, described the Nasr as carrying a nuclear warhead “of appropriate yield with high accuracy,” with “shoot and scoot attributes” that was developed as a “quick response system” to “add deterrence value” to Pakistan’s strategic weapons development program “at shorter ranges” in order “to deter evolving threats” (Inter Services Public Relations, 2011).
This language, which has been repeated after subsequent Nasr tests, strongly indicates a weapon with a new mission that resembles nonstrategic nuclear weapons.
ISLAMABAD — The Pakistan Navy has test-fired a new land attack missile in the North Arabian Sea off the coast of Pakistan this week.
According to a Navy news release, the test included “firings of a variety of modern missiles including the maiden Land Attack Missile (LAM)” and the tests “demonstrated lethality, precision and efficacy” of the Navy’s weapon systems as well as the “high state of readiness and professionalism” of the Navy.
The release also stated the test “reaffirms credibility of deterrence at sea.”
A Navy spokesman confirmed “multiple platforms were engaged” in firing missiles. The firings took place on Dec. 19 and 21.
Though the Navy has a variety of anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles, the Navy would not confirm the identity of the land-attack missile when asked.
Mansoor Ahmed from Quaid-e-Azam University’s Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, who specializes in Pakistan’s national deterrent and delivery program, believes the missile is one of two varieties: either a land attack variant of the Chinese C-802/CSS-N-8 Saccade anti-ship missile in service with a variety of naval platforms; or a variant of the HATF-VII/Vengeance-VII Babur cruise missile.
“Coupled with a miniaturized plutonium warhead, a naval version of the several hundred kilometer-range Babur [land attack cruise missile] or a 120-kilometer range C-802 missile can potentially provide Pakistan with a reliable if not an assured second strike capability and will complete the third leg of Pakistan’s eventual triad-based credible minimum deterrent — of which the naval leg was missing until now,” he said.
A land-attack variant of the C-802 would be able to be fired from existing launchers aboard Pakistani ships.
Ahmed however pointed out that M. Irfan Burney — chairman of the National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM), the research and development body that designed and manufactured the Babur cruise missile — witnessed the test firings. Ahmed believes that supports the notion that the missile was the Babur.
Burney was joined by Chief of Naval Staff Adm. Muhammad Asif Sandila, onboard the F-22P class frigate Zulfiquar.
The test comes seven months after Pakistan inaugurated the Naval Strategic Force Command. The Babur, once integrated with an operational naval command and control, “will help diversify the options available to counter India’s growing second strike capabilities at sea,” Ahmed said.
He said the Navy will be able to “strike critical counter-value and other strategic targets all along India’s coastline and maintain a semblance of strategic stability in the Arabian Sea.”
“Pakistan’s response in this field was necessary in the face of an exponential increase in Indian strategic capabilities, such as ballistic-missile defenses and the induction of SSBNs [ballistic-missile submarines] and planned $40 billion worth of naval weapons platform acquisitions over the next decade,” he added.
Ahmed said a “nuclear-tipped [land-attack cruise missile] is a readily available and affordable alternative for Pakistan instead of a dedicated SSBN.”
With an economy in chronically poor shape, the question of affordability and meeting the Navy’s expansion requirements in the face of a shortage of funds is a pressing concern.
However, after witnessing the test firings and voicing his appreciation of the operational preparedness of the fleet, Sandila also said the government was “cognizant of PN’s developmental needs and all out efforts are being made to address critical capability gaps.”
Conventional wisdom suggests that India has gained sufficient conventional superiority to fight and win a limited war, but the reality is that India is unlikely to be able to both achieve its political aims and prevent dangerous escalation.
While India is developing limited options, my analysis suggests India's military advantage over Pakistan is much less substantial than is commonly believed.
Most analyses do not account adequately for how difficult it would be for the navy to have a substantial impact in a short period of time. Establishing even a partial blockade takes time, and it takes even more time for that blockade to cause shortages on land that are noticeable. As the British strategist Julian Corbett noted in 1911, "it is almost impossible that a war can be decided by naval action alone. Unaided, naval pressure can only work by a process of exhaustion. Its effects must always be slow…."7 Meanwhile, over the last decade, Pakistan has increased its ability to resist a blockade. In addition to the main commercial port of Karachi, Pakistan has opened up new ports further west in Ormara and Gwadar and built road infrastructure to distribute goods from those ports to Pakistan's heartland. To close off these ports to neutral shipping could prove particularly difficult since Gwadar and the edge of Pakistani waters are very close to the Gulf of Oman, host to the international shipping lanes for vessels exiting the Persian Gulf. A loose blockade far from shore would minimize risks from Pakistan's land-based countermeasures but also increase risks of creating a political incident with neutral vessels.
The air balance between India and Pakistan is also thought to heavily favor the larger and more technologically sophisticated Indian Air Force. While India has a qualitative and quantitative advantage, the air capabilities gap narrowed rather than widened in the last decade. The Pakistan Air Force has undergone substantial modernization since 2001, when Pakistan exited from a decade of US-imposed sanctions. With purchases from US, European, and Chinese vendors, Pakistan has both dramatically increased the number of modern fighter aircraft with beyond-visual-range capability as well as new airborne early warning and control aircraft. Meanwhile, India's fighter modernization effort has been languid over the last decade. India's largest fighter procurement effort—the purchase of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft—began in 2001 and has been slowed considerably by cumbersome defense procurement rules designed to avoid the appearance of corruption.
The ground forces balance has received the most attention from outside observers, in large part because the Indian Army has publicized its efforts at doctrinal innovation, most often referred to under the "Cold Start" moniker. However, India's ground superiority is unlikely to be sufficient to achieve a quick victory.
The net result of this analysis is to conclude that India's limited military options against Pakistan are risky and uncertain. Pakistan has options to respond to limited Indian moves, making counter-escalation likely. At least in the near-term, Pakistan appears to have configured its forces in such a way as to deny India "victory on the cheap." Therefore, India might well have to fight a full-scale war that could destroy large segments of Pakistan's army to achieve its political aims, which would approach Pakistan's stated nuclear redlines. Such a conclusion should induce caution among Indian political elites who are considering military options to punish or coerce Pakistan in a future crisis. ...
Pakistan is expected to receive maritime surveillance P3C Orion aircraft from the United States this year, state media quoted the country's ambassador in Washington as saying.
Ms. Sherry Rehman, who has been meeting with top American officials as part of efforts to restore the full range of bilateral ties, has said both the civil and defense cooperation between the two sides are gaining momentum, radio Pakistan reported on Monday.
Pakistan's Vice Chief of the Naval Staff Vice Admiral Muhammad Shafique, currently on a visit to the US, discussed matters related to ongoing cooperation between Pakistani and American navies and expressed satisfaction over senior level exchanges.
He expressed the hope for early departure of P3C maritime aircraft from the United States.
Pakistan had signed an agreement with the American defense manufacturer Lockheed Martin seven years ago, for the delivery of seven Orion aircrafts.
The Navy received three of the aircrafts in 2010, while another two were delivered in 2011. In addition to the Orions, the Navy is also operating seven aging Fokker F27-200 Friendship naval surveillance aircrafts, which it had acquired during the 1980s.
The Orions are one of the most popular maritime surveillance aircrafts in the world, being used by the naval forces in a number of nations such as the US, Japan, New Zealand and Brazil.
The aircrafts were first inducted into the US Navy in 1962, and so far more than 750 units have been manufactured. The US Navy had recently decided to replace its Orion fleet with the Boeing P-8A Poseidons.
Pakistani ambassador said that Pak-US interactions are important to push forward Pakistan-US bilateral defense ties and said the Pakistan Navy's key role in securing sea lanes in North Arabian Sea as part of the anti-piracy international coalition has been widely appreciated in the United States.
State media said that as a result of some hectic diplomacy, Washington and Islamabad have come out of a difficult phase in bilateral ties since early 2011, following a series of high-level meetings and trust-building measures.
The US recently released long-delayed Coalition Support Fund reimbursements and both countries have resumed working on different levels of cooperation through regular forums of institutionalized dialogues and working groups
A new report says China has passed Britain to become the world’s fifth-largest arms exporter.
The report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says Pakistan is the biggest buyer of Chinese arms, accounting for 55 percent of China’s exports.
The report says Chinese weapon exports between 2008 and 2012 rose 162 percent over the previous five-year period.
It said the United States remains the world's top arms exporter, accounting for 30 percent of the market, followed by Russia at 26 percent, Germany at seven percent, France at six percent, and China at five percent.
The world’s top five arms importers were all in Asia. The report said India was the biggest buyer, followed by China, Pakistan, South Korea and Singapore.
International Air Exercise Indus Viper-II conducted between Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and Turkish Air Force (TuAF) concluded at an operational airbase of PAF, a statement said on Sunday.
Maj Gen Ares Mehmat, Chief of Operations at TuAF, was the chief guest at the culmination ceremony, it said. Air Marshal Waseemuddin, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff (Operations), PAF and M Babur Hizlan, the Ambassador of Turkey, were also present at the occasion.
The Turkish Air Force contingent comprising five F-16 Fighting Falcons, combat pilots and ground technical crew participated in the air exercise conducted from March 4 to16,.
According to the statement, PAF emphasises on the combat training of its air and ground crew and regularly undertakes air exercises with air forces of friendly nations. These exercises play a vital role in honing the combat skills of PAF air crew and enable them to learn the latest air power employment strategies.
Indus Viper II provided an opportunity to combat crew of both the air forces to acquaint themselves with applied tactics of air power in near real scenario.
PAF has been participating in a number of international air exercises with some of the best air forces of the world, including United States Air Force, Italian Air Force, Turkish Air Force (TuAF) and other allied countries.
JAISALMER: Pakistan's Unmanned Aerial Vehicles ( UAV) called 'Jasoos' have been spying on security arrangements and Army activities going on in the Indian side from the international border of Pakistan adjoining Rajasthan. In the recent past, activities of these UAVs have increased.
These UAVs can be spotted at night as sparkling red lights and have become a subject of excitement and discussion among the security forces. They are active even during day time and can be recognized by the trail of smoke they leave behind. These spy planes are active across the border opposite Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Ganganagar in Rajasthan.
Reliable sources confirming this said that Pakistan is taking help of UAVs to keep an eye on the Indian area and their activities have intensified in the past few days.
Sources said Pak had developed UAVs a few years ago with the help of America and Italy and are using them to spy on the Indian area.
Sources said these spy planes are active at a height of 1500m-2000m just 500-700 yards from the international border.
These UAVs are fitted with ultramodern powerful cameras that can capture photographs of the Indian area spanning many kilometers. They are operated from a distance of 25-30kms. The computer operators are connected to the UAVs and they receive the photographs sent by these drones, the sources said.
Though BSF is keeping a watch over the activities of UAVs, but it is not possible to take any action since they are flying within the Pakistani border. But senior officers have been informed about the UAVs, sources added.
When contacted Col SD Goswami, defence spokesperson, said, "Our air defence units are monitoring such activities along the border. In case there is an air space violation, suitable action will be taken. All such violations are analysed and taken up with the country concerned through laid down channels as per established procedures."
He added that as per the international air space rules and bilateral agreements with neighbouring sovereign countries, such flying activities are permitted 10 km away from the international border, but any closer than the 10 km limit requires prior permission.
What are 'Jasoos'?
Jasoos are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) developed by Pakistani company Satuma. They are controlled via remote and weigh around 20kg. Capable of doing 180 kmph, these UAVs fly at a height of 10,000ft (3480m). Jasoos have a range of 100km, and can fly for 4-5 hours continuously with battery backup. Pak air force in the year 2004 had included UAVs, but was used in 2009 after the testing. Prior to this, Pak had purchased UAVs from Italy in 2003.
China’s arms exports in 2008-2012 grew by 162% compared to the previous five years, with most of them — 55% — going to Pakistan.
“China’s rise has been driven primarily by large-scale arms acquisitions by Pakistan,” Paul Holtom, a research director at SIPRI said in a press release.
“A number of recent deals indicate that China is establishing itself as a significant arms supplier to a growing number of important recipient states.”
Pakistan has long been China’s key ally in South Asia. The report also named Myanmar, Bangladesh and Venezuela as importers of Chinese arms.
China has defended its rules on overseas weapons sales following the report. Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Monday that such sales follow domestic laws and UN guidelines.
Hong said weapons sales have to be justified by the legitimate needs of the recipient and must not harm peace, security or stability.
The Inter Services Press Relations (ISPR) directorate, the public relations wing of the Pakistan military has confirmed that China is “one of Pakistan’s biggest partners” in terms of cooperation in the defence field.
In 2010, Pakistan signed agreements worth over $10 billion with China, many of which were linked to cooperation in the field of defence.
But the ISPR did not confirm whether China is the biggest partner and whether Pakistan’s imports most of its defense equipment from China.
“We have three major partners. These are the US, China and France.”
General (retd) Talat Masood, a defence analyst, said that his belief was that US continues to remain the main source of Pakistan’s defence hardware.
“I think given the ongoing military arrangements with the US, it is still Pakistan’s No 1 source for military hardware. This also includes money spent on military programs by the US government.”
In an indication of the “positive trajectory” of the bilateral ties, the U.S. has issued a waiver, second in six months, for sale of major defence equipment to Pakistan citing national security interest.
The waiver issued quietly by the then Deputy Secretary of States Thomas Nides on February 15, and posted on the State Department website a week later on February 22, would pave the way for some major defence equipment sales to Pakistan.
“The Department issued the waiver because we have determined that security assistance is important to the national security interests of the United States and is a critical component of U.S. efforts to continue to build a strong, mutually beneficial relationship with Pakistan grounded in concrete action on areas of shared interest,” a State Department spokesperson told PTI.
The waiver, issued within a fortnight of Secretary of State John Kerry taking the reins U.S. diplomacy on February 1, allows for the execution of America’s Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programme, and for the sale or export of certain Major Defence Equipment (MDE).
“Major Defence Equipment,” means any U.S. manufactured defence article whose export is controlled by U.S. Munitions List which has a nonrecurring research and development cost of more than $50,000,000 or a total production cost of more than $200,000,000. These items require Congressional notification, the spokesman said.
“As a matter of policy we do not discuss proposed defence sales or transfers until they have been formally notified to Congress,” he said, refraining to give any figure to the expected sale of major defence items to Pakistan after this waiver.
According to a known South Asia expert, the two waivers issued by the then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in September were sweeping and so allowed the release of all forms of assistance for the fiscal 2012 including non-military.
It seems the main purpose of the February 15 waiver was to create a positive atmosphere for meetings in Washington DC with visiting senior military officials from Pakistan.
“These waivers don’t represent an improvement in U.S.-Pakistan relations so much as they represent attempts to improve such relations,” an expert explained said adding that from the U.S. perspective, some level of working relations with Pakistan is necessary for the U.S. drawdown from Afghanistan to go smoothly.
Observing that security assistance builds Pakistan’s capabilities in countering terrorism, the State Department official said that such assistance will continue to be implemented consistent with its policy goals of supporting Pakistan’s shared interest in regional stability and countering terrorism.
“Despite the past challenges in our bilateral relationship with Pakistan, we are encouraged by recent engagements which indicate the positive trajectory of the relationship, including productive working group meetings addressing the full range of the relationship and Pakistan’s participation in Core Group meetings with Afghanistan,” the spokesperson said.
“As we have said, our number one shared priority remains pursuing our counterterrorism objectives to secure the safety of American and Pakistani citizens. We face a common threat from a common enemy, and we must confront terrorism and extremism together,” the official asserted.....
China confirmed this week it will sell a new 1,000-megawatt nuclear reactor to Pakistan that the United States says would violate Beijing’s obligations under a nuclear supplier control group.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei was asked Monday about a report in the Free Beacon March 22 that first disclosed the secret agreement for the reactor reached last month in Beijing between the China National Nuclear Corp. and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.
“China has noted the relevant report,” Hong told reporters in Beijing.
Normally, Chinese government spokesmen deny such reports and label them “groundless” as a way to avoid comment. The spokesman’s use of the phrase “noted the relevant report” is unusual and a tacit admission the report is accurate.
U.S. intelligence and diplomatic officials privately said the agreement was reached in Beijing during a visit by a high-level Pakistani delegation of nuclear industry officials from Feb. 15 to 18.
The Chinese at the meeting urged Pakistan to keep the deal secret to avoid expected international opposition by states that say the sale violates China’s commitment to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a 46-member association aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.
China agreed in 2004 not to sell additional reactors to Pakistan’s Chashma nuclear facility beyond the two reactors that began operating in 2000 and 2011.
However, Hong denied the sale violates the voluntary NSG guidelines.
“The cooperation between China and Pakistan does not violate relevant principles of the Nuclear Suppliers Group,” he said. “In recent years, China and Pakistan do indeed carry out some joint projects related to civilian use of nuclear energy. These projects are for peaceful purpose only, in compliance with the international obligations shared by both countries, and they are subject to guarantee and monitor by international atomic energy organization.”
However, U.S. intelligence officials said the China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC) is Beijing’s main nuclear weapons producer and is working to modernize Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal in addition to the civilian reactor construction at Chashma.
China also is working to develop Pakistan’s nuclear fuel reprocessing capabilities, the officials said....
The US-Pakistan Defense Consultative Group meeting tentatively would give a final shape to the five-year security assistance plan, developed during a meeting of defense officials of the two countries in February and is believed to zero in on the military hardware that the US would be providing to Pakistan.
Informed sources said after two meetings in the last one year -- Defense Consultative Group in December 2012 and Defense Resourcing Conference in February 2013 -- officials of US and Pakistan were able to develop a joint five-year plan for how security assistance would feed into defense cooperation on counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism issues and to help build Pakistan's capabilities in these areas.
Officials from Pakistan and the US during these two meetings identified seven broad areas of security assistance cooperation, which sources said initially covered 11 areas.
It is part of this decision that the Obama Administration this summer (July-August) informed the Congress of a number of appropriations related to security assistance to Pakistan.
This totalled about USD 1.4 billion in military assistance of which roughly USD 425 million was in Pakistan counter- insurgency and capabilities fund (PCCF) and the rest about USD 1 billion was in foreign military financing (FMF).
In addition, the notifications included roughly USD 260 million of civilian assistance, of which USD 230 million focused on energy programming for Pakistan and USD 30 million was the state department funding for civilian police programmes.
In September, the US also released to Pakistan USD 322 million as a reimbursement for military expenses made by Pakistan towards America's war against terrorism.
During these meetings, US and Pakistani officials agreed that the equipment security assistance would support seven core capabilities like night vision, precision strike, counter IED, survivability, border security, communications and maritime operations, maritime security.
Even if limited in scope, a conflict with nuclear weapons would wreak havoc in the atmosphere and devastate crop yields, with the effects multiplied as global food markets went into turmoil, the report said.
The Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and Physicians for Social Responsibility released an initial peer-reviewed study in April 2012 that predicted a nuclear famine could kill more than a billion people.
In a second edition, the groups said they widely underestimated the impact in China and calculated that the world's most populous country would face severe food insecurity.
“A billion people dead in the developing world is obviously a catastrophe unparalleled in human history. But then if you add to that the possibility of another 1.3 billion people in China being at risk, we are entering something that is clearly the end of civilization,” said Ira Helfand, the report's author. http://www.dawn.com/news/1061711
Of the fighters acquired from the Royal Jordanian Air Force, 12 of the aircraft are single seaters A models and one is a twin-seat F-16B. Jordan has recently acquired 15 similar aircraft – F-16A/B MLU from the Dutch Air Force, and expect these aircraft to be delivered in 2015. The aircraft Pakistan is receiving have also undergone MLU providing service and are cleared for 20 years operations or 3,000 flight hours on average. Pakistan has already received a number of F-16s
Pakistan has been contemplating to acquire more used planes for the PAF from other countries while the induction of new production JF-17 Thunder continues. The JF-17 is a co-production of Pakistan and China.
Through the upgrade process carried out at the US Air Force Ogden Air Logistics Centre, structural upgrades were performed to extend the aircraft life from the designed 4,000 to 8,000 hours flying time. Other modifications include changes to the engine bay, to receive the upgraded Pratt and Whitney F100-220E engine. Most of Pakistan’s F-16s are of early generation A/B models, acquired from US surplus and upgraded through MLU. Some were delivered free of charge by the US Government. The new acquisition will bring the Pakistani Air Force F-16 fleet to 76. Only 20 are of more modern make, namely F-16C and F-16C/D Block 52.
Through the years Pakistan has been a keen ‘collector’ of Dassault Mirage III/V fighter jets. Between 1967 and 1982 Islamabad bought 66 new Mirage III/V, but through the 1990s ‘collected’ over 130 of the fighters in the surplus market, from the French, Australian and Lebanese air forces. Many of these were modernized through the three phases ROSE program, improving avionics, weaponry and operational capabilities, associated with special missions, special weapons and night capabilities. The F-16, while adding many advanced capabilities, is not fulfilling many of these capabilities, therefore, it can replace the A-5C and F-7s in service, but not the Mirages.
Buying second hand fighters is one way for the Pakistani Air Force to manage the financial pressure that has limited its modernization since 2007. The acquisition of the JF-17 Thunder remains the single, highest priority, for which Islamabad secured a Chinese loan to keep production on track at an annual rate of 18 aircraft per year with 50 (Block I) jets in service. Defense News reported. Another significant investment was the acquisition of four Saab2000 Erieye early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft for US$1 billion, the last of those aircraft was delivered in 2010. (It is unclear how many of these are operational, one of the four was reportedly damaged or destroyed in August 2012 by a Taliban attack on the Kamra air base.)
Production of 50 Thunders of the second block began in December 2013. The Thunder Block II has improved avionics, weapons load and carriage capability, a data link and an electronic warfare suite, plus an in-flight refueling capability. With these enhancements the cost of the Thunder has increased from US$15 million to $25 million, according to Dawn. Pakistan’s requirement is for up to 250 planes to the F-7 and, eventually, Mirage III/5 fighter aircraft currently in service. The Thunder has already replaced the A-5C Fantan strike fighter with two squadrons.
While Pakistan is seeking relative parity with India, the PAF currently has no counterpart for India’s Su-30MKI, nor the future Rafale, (when and if the MMRCA is to be fielded). Pakistan has been considering buying Chinese FC-20 (J10) fighter planes they considered could be a fair match to the Rafale. However, it is now considered that Thunder Block III and more upgrades to their F-16s, bringing the Falcons to the Block52 level could satisfy the PAF requirements for the near term...
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress Tuesday of plans to sell the government of Pakistan a C-130 Fleet Upgrade Program package, plus associated equipment, parts, training, and logistical support valued at $100 million in total.
Specifically, the package includes upgrades to the avionics, engine management software and mechanical parts, cargo delivery system, and outer wing sets on six Pakistani C-130 transport planes. Also included in the sale will be spare parts, necessary support equipment, publications and technical documentation, and personnel training and training equipment, plus logistics support. The primary contractor on this sale has not yet been chosen, but the C-130s were originally built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT ) . A bidding process will be opened to choose the primary contractor.
Pakistan's air force includes a total of five C-130B and eleven C-130E aircraft. No mention of upgrades to the remaining 10 aircraft was made in the announcement, nor did DSCA clarify which specific models of C-130 would be getting the upgrades.
Explaining the sale to Congress, DSCA noted that Pakistan's planes are "facing airworthiness and obsolescence issues, and will require upgrades and repairs for continued operation and effectiveness. The proposed modernization of the C-130 fleet should ensure continued viability for an additional 10-15 years." DSCA added that this modernization is desirable to "improve the security of a Major Non-NATO ally which has been, and continues to be, an important force for regional stability and U.S. national security goals in the region."
According to DSCA, "there will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale." Nor will the sale "alter the basic military balance in the region."
Having reimbursed more than $11 billion as war expenditures to Pakistan over the past decade, Islamabad’s non-NATO allies in Washington have also extended over $ 4 billion in civilian aid under the Kerry-Lugar Bill (KLB) over last five years.
“The United States provides Pakistan’s military with training to promote regional stability, improve its counterterrorism and defense capabilities and enhance civilian-military relations,” said a fact sheet the US embassy shared on Monday with its local alumni on US Assistance to Pakistan.
The 10-page document details a range of areas in which the US has been cooperating with Pakistan to promote its partnership with the latter which, the embassy said, was vital to its shared interest in Pakistan’s economic growth and development, regional stability, and mutually determined measures to counterterrorism.
Since fiscal year 2009, the document said, the US had trained nearly 1,120 officials of the Pakistan Army, air force and navy.
“Pakistan is the largest recipient of… IMET funding in the world, with an annual budget of approximately $5 million for this program,” the fact sheet added.
The US also provides critical equipment, ranging from advanced communications gear to surveillance aircraft, to Pakistani troops conducting counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations in the border region and to enhance Pakistan’s participation in international maritime security operations.
“In addition, the US has refurbished and upgraded military helicopters and maritime surveillance aircraft.”
Consequently, Pakistan has significantly increased the effectiveness of its operations against terrorist groups, the embassy said.
Unlike its past do-more attitude, the US embassy expressed satisfaction over the steps Pakistan had recently taken to check the production of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that are said to be used against the ISAF troops in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan has taken positive steps over the past year to increase its controls and interdiction of the illicit supply of the materials used to produce IEDs,” the embassy viewed.
WASHINGTON — While controversy swirls over reports that Pakistan may receive some of the excess Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles that the United States has sitting in Afghanistan, American and Pakistani officials are on the verge of completing a deal to send new and excess MRAPs to Islamabad, sister publication Defense News has learned.
The 160 vehicles, all of which would be the MaxxPro MRAP variant made by U.S. manufacturer Navistar, would be a mix of new builds and some from U.S. Army prepositioned stocks in Kuwait, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who is not authorized to speak for attribution.
While no formal notification of the deal has yet been sent to Congress since the last stages of the vetting process are still being completed, the official expected a notification to head to Capitol Hill by the end of this month.
The spat over the potential MRAP sale began in March when the Washington Post reported that the United States was considering giving Pakistan some MRAPs that the U.S. didn’t want to pay to ship home once the mission in Afghanistan draws to a close. The report came at the same time as Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, commander of the coalition and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, said there are more than 1,200 excess MRAPs in country.
For a while, U.S. forces were literally shredding to bits the hulking MRAP infantry carriers that it doesn’t want to pay to bring home, but Dunford has since put a halt to that program while final decisions on the ultimate fate of the fleet are being made.
The holdup on the deal for the 160 MRAPs centers around a congressionally mandated human rights vetting process that all U.S. foreign training and equipping programs must undergo.
Known as the “Leahey Amendment” after the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Patrick Leahey of Vermont, the law stipulates that U.S. forces cannot train or equip foreign military or police units that have been accused of human rights abuses.
The 160 MRAPs would be split among the branches of the Pakistani armed forces. Although specific army and air force units have been identified and vetted, the Pakistani Navy has yet to submit all of the required information, according to the official.
While it hasn’t been reported previously, the Pakistani armed forces have already been supplied with 22 MRAPs — 20 MaxxPro’s along with two “haulers” to move them if damaged — under a now-canceled State Department program known as the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund. The vehicles were drawn out of the U.S. Army’s existing stock in Kuwait.
The fund was axed in the U.S. government’s fiscal 2014 budget.
The State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad have been tying themselves in rhetorical knots over the past week trying to explain the situation over the potential MRAP transfer, all without giving specifics or mentioning the MRAPs already sent to Pakistan or the deal currently in the works.
On March 31, the Islamabad embassy issued a statement confirming that Pakistan has requested “a variety of Excess Defense Articles (EDA). The U.S. is currently reviewing Pakistan’s request.” In what appears to be a nod to the pending deal, the embassy added that “if approved, this EDA is likely to be sourced from U.S. stock outside Afghanistan.”
The State Department weighs EDA requests on a “case-by-case basis taking into consideration a range of factors including the need of potential recipients, regional security dynamics, how the recipient nations intend to use the equipment and the ability of an EDA recipient to sustain the equipment,” the embassy said.
Pakistan received on Sunday its first batch of F-16 fighter jets delivered from Jordan, DawnNews reported.
Sources said that the Pakistan had signed a contract with Jordan for the supply of 13 fighter jets out of which five were delivered at the Mushaf Mir Airbase in Sargodha and inducted in the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fleet.
The inclusion of the 13 jets would take the strength of the PAF F-16s to 76.
Media reports indicated the PAF had agreed to purchase an entire squadron from Jordan, consisting of 12 A models and one B model. According to one news report, the jets "were in good condition since they had attained Mid-Life Update (MLU) and they would be providing service for another 20 years with almost 3,000 hours on average available to them for flying."
Right now, three Dolphin II-class submarines are under construction at Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems shipyards in Kiel. Once the submarines complete their trials and head towards the Mediterranean, they will become the most powerful Israeli submarines ever.
More than 225 feet long, the diesel-electric Dolphin II class is part attack submarine, part nuclear strike ship and part commando taxi.
They’re also painted in an unusual combination of black, blue and green colors. That’s “meant to make the ship less visible, and thought to be especially effective in Mediterranean waters,” Defense News noted after recently publishing new photographs of the fat, oddly-shaped boats in dry dock and on sea trials.
In terms of weapons, the three boats of the Dolphin II class—the Tannin, Rahav and a third unnamed submarine—contain 10 torpedo tubes capable of launching fiber optic cable-guided DM-2A4 torpedoes. Germany has already handed over the Tannin, which is preparing for its journey to Israel.
Four of these tubes are larger 26-inch tubes—the size is rare for a Western-built submarine—capable of launching small commando teams or firing larger cruise missiles. The remaining six tubes measure at 21 inches.
Although not admitted by the Israeli government, the Dolphin II is widely believed to soon possess nuclear-tipped Popeye Turbo cruise missiles. The submarine’s armament includes non-nuclear anti-ship Harpoon and anti-helicopter Triton missiles.
In 2012, German news magazine Der Spiegel interviewed several German defense ministry officials, all of whom were under the assumption that Israel intends for these submarines to carry nuclear weapons. The missiles can also be launched “using a previously secret hydraulic ejection system,” the magazine reported.
The photographs at Defense News also reveal horizontal planes for trailing communications gear and sonar buoys. But the classified propeller is covered by a tarp to keep out prying eyes.
For sensors, the Dolphin II comes with the German-made CSU-90 active radar, a PRS-3 passive ranging sonar and a FAS-3 flank sonar. These sensors are in addition to an Israeli-made surface search radar.
Of course, submarines need to be stealthy—and the Dolphin II is indeed quiet. The trick is in the submarine’s air-independent propulsion fuel cells, which provide power under the surface as the diesel engines—used for running on the surface—rest and recharge.
This system is quieter than the nuclear-powered engines on American and Russian submarines, which must constantly circulate engine coolant. Nuclear submarines are virtually unlimited in terms of range, and are better used for deep-water operations. But Israel has no need for nuclear-powered subs when quiet diesel subs can do the same job.
The Dolphin II’s top speed maxes out at 20 knots when submerged. But the maximum distance before needing to be refueled is around 9,200 miles at a speed of eight knots underwater. This puts the submarines in range of Iran.
And that’s why Israel is investing in an up-armed submarine fleet. The Israeli military wants to maintain its undeclared nuclear strike force. Given Israel’s small size, a nuclear deterrent promises massive retaliation if Israel’s homeland is threatened.
Plus, submarines are very useful for littoral operations off the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.
ISLAMABAD: The army has decided to increase the intake of cadets at its premier training institute — Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul — by around one third, which potentially sets the ground for increase in its (army’s) size.
During his visit to PMA Kakul on Wednesday, Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif reviewed the progress in this regard.
“The visit focused on reviewing the current training regime for cadets and PMA’s capacity enhancement projects including progress work on the 4th Pakistan Battalion,” a statement by the ISPR said.
Know more: Afghan army cadets arrive in Pakistan for training
The PMA, which currently has three battalions, annually inducts two batches of around 500 cadets each. The addition of a fourth battalion would mean that up to 150 more cadets would be inducted in each batch.
The Kakul academy annually inducts two batches of around 500 cadets each
The cadets after completing their training at the academy are commissioned in the army as officers.
The increase in officer cadre is expected to lead to a proportional increase in the number of troops.
No timeline was given for the setting up of the new battalion at PMA, but insiders say the academy could be ready for the increased intake within 12-18 months.
Gen Sharif was quoted in the statement as having emphasised “the need to remain abreast with the latest regional and global environment and developments”.
A military analyst said that the increase in the size of military was being necessitated by its continuing involvement in tribal areas, where troops are expected to stay at least till 2019; the creation of a security division for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor; and increased requirement of officers for paramilitary forces like Frontier Corps and Rangers. Additionally, troops are getting increasingly engaged with UN peacekeeping operations and disaster relief operations.
India’s aggressive posture towards Pakistan is also a cause of concern.
A military spokesman, meanwhile, said that the army was already facing a shortage of officers and the increased induction would help overcome that requirement.
The current size of the army is believed to be around 500,000 active troops. Army’s publicly known budget for the current fiscal year 2015-16 is Rs371 billion. The military’s budget has been on an average growing by around 11 per cent.
It is a slow process of course. It will take at least 5-10 years to implement this change as it inducts an extra battalion of officers each year, currently PMA trains 3 battalions of officers. That is a significant increase in size.
Why do you guys think Pak Army is increasing it's size?
Here are possible reasons:
1. The incoming troops might be deployed in three Strike Corps with offensive objectives in any future war.
2. These troops might be for a future Expeditionary Force with foreign deployment planned. The situation in middle east is becoming worse day by day, and we might deploy these soldiers to KSA or other battlefields in the Middle East.
3. Pakistan is forming a new branch of Army. With new deadly weapons like Nasr being inducted, Pak Fauj might need a new artillery corps with a very specific purpose in mind.
4. Might need extra troops to permanently secure our Eastern border with Afghanistan, as you may already know, currently Pakistan has deployed 150,000 soldiers in KPK and FATA. With these incoming troops, we can turn our focus back to our herbivorous neighbors.
5. The new troops may be used to secure CPEC. But i feel that is highly unlikely, the number of troops deployed by FC are sufficient.
The Obama administration is preparing to sell eight new F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, senior American officials said, an overture intended to bolster a tenuous partnership despite persistent concerns about Islamabad’s ties to elements of the Taliban and quickly expanding nuclear arsenal.
The decision comes ahead of President Obama’s meeting on Thursday with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, which is to be dominated by the president’s decision to extend the American troop presence in Afghanistan and a quiet effort to get Mr. Sharif to halt the deployment of a new generation of tactical nuclear weapons.
But Mr. Obama, like President George W. Bush before him, is trying to balance pressure on Pakistan with signs that Washington still considers it a vital ally. Congress was notified just days ago about the proposed sale of the additional fighters, although it is not clear if the White House plans to announce the sale of the aircraft during the visit.
The Federation of American Scientists, a leading American group that monitors the spread of nuclear weapons, published a report on Wednesday that shows that Pakistan has expanded its arsenal to 110 to 130 warheads, up from a range of 90 to 110 four years ago.
While those figures show a steady but expected increase, the group estimated that by 2025 the figure would rise to 220 to 250 warheads. That would make Pakistan the world’s fifth-largest nuclear power, behind the United States, Russia, China and France, but ahead of Britain, which is shrinking its arsenal.
It is the nature, not the size, of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal that tops Mr. Obama’s agenda. Over the past two weeks, officials in Washington have said they are exploring whether a deal might be possible to halt the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons that American experts fear are vulnerable to being launched without authorization, or stolen, on the battlefield. Until earlier this week Pakistani officials had said nothing about the program, although the foreign secretary, Aizaz Chadhary, told reporters in Islamabad on Tuesday that the country had built “low-yield nuclear weapons” to counter India, according to the Dawn, a major daily newspaper in Pakistan.
It is unlikely that either side will talk publicly about nuclear weapons on Thursday, but Mr. Obama plans to raise the issue at length, according to administration officials. Selling Pakistan more arms, however, is an issue that is often discussed more publicly to signal that Pakistan is acting in its role as a “major non-NATO ally,” a designation Mr. Bush bestowed after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The new aircraft, whose sale could be blocked by Congress, would add to Pakistan’s already sizable force of fighter jets — it has more than 70 F-16s and dozens of French and Chinese attack aircraft. But perhaps of equal importance to supporters and critics alike is the symbolic value of the sale to an ally whose relationship with the United States has been marked by long stretches of acrimony in recent years.
Much of the tension has arisen from Pakistan’s ties to elements of the Taliban, especially the Haqqani Network, which is linked to Al Qaeda and is seen by American commanders as the most deadly faction of the Taliban fighting in Afghanistan. In recent years, numerous American officials have publicly and privately complained about the support to the Haqqanis provided by Pakistan’s main spy agency, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence.
The Obama Administration is gearing up to sell eight new Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon jets to Pakistan, the New York Times reports. Those jets will add to Pakistan’s fleet of seventy-six existing “Vipers” as the type is colloquially known. Meanwhile, its arch-nemesis India’s air force shrinks by the day as planes age out and squadron are disbanded.
Assuming Pakistan completes the sale, the eight F-16s would help boost that country’s fleet of eighteen existing advanced Block 52+ Vipers. The rest of the Pakistani F-16 fleet consists of modified A-model jets that have been upgraded to Block 15 MLU standard, which bring those aircraft nearly up to the same capability as the newest Block 52+ jets.
India is currently negotiating to buy thirty-six Rafales directly from the French government; a deal is allegedly imminent by the end of the year. But given India’s track record—that’s dubious at best. But the Indian air force still needs at least 120 medium combat aircraft with similar capability to the Rafale. Indeed, the Indians still hope to buy more Rafales, but they might have to extend production of the indigenous Tejas to keep their fleet numbers up.
But the problem with India’s HAL Tejas is that it is one of the single worst fighter projects that has ever been conceived of in the history of aviation. Even as it enters service, the aircraft is obsolete and is probably inferior in many respects to the JF-17. The jet has 57 known deficiencies and will probably get a lot of Indian pilots killed if any type of conflict were ever to break out.
Meanwhile, the one bright spot for the Indian air force is the Sukhoi Su-30MKI. While the Indians have had some issues with the Russians in supporting the Flanker-H, the 220 Su-30s that are currently in service are that country’s first line of defense. India will ultimately buy 272 Flanker-H fighters, but it should give serious consideration to extending that buy until its air force recovers some of its numerical strength. Basically, India should consider scrapping the Tejas and buying 120 or more additional Flankers.
In the future, the Indians are likely to buy a derivative of Russia’s T-50 PAK-FA stealth fighter. But the Indian-Russian co-development effort is a rocky one—and it is unclear how many jets will ultimately be delivered to the Indian air force and when. India is also developing it’s own fifth-generation fighter—but given it’s previous efforts on the Tejas, it’s not likely to fly any time soon.
Indian and Pakistani military doctrines that evolved over the past decade will greatly raise the stakes in any future Indo-Pakistani conflict.
Pakistan will continue to invest in tactical nuclear weapons to use on the battlefield to compensate for India's growing conventional military advantage.
Introducing battlefield nuclear weapons will lower the threshold of nuclear weapons use while raising the possibility of a full nuclear exchange on the Indian subcontinent.
Ever since India adopted a proactive military strategy toward Pakistan in 2004, Islamabad has felt increasingly threatened and has sought to rely more on its nuclear arsenal as a counter, elevating the stakes for conflict in the Indian subcontinent. Despite political constraints to nuclear conflict, New Delhi and Islamabad's evolving doctrines and force postures have lowered the barrier for a nuclear conflict. For instance, on Oct. 19, Pakistani Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry officially confirmed Islamabad's plans to use low-yield nuclear weapons to impede advancing Indian troops under New Delhi's "Cold Start" doctrine.
Cold Start — a rapid military response doctrine — is technically not an official Indian policy. In fact, Indian military leaders deny the existence of Cold Start as a concept, attributing the terminology to off-the-cuff remarks by Indian officers. Nevertheless, during the past decade India has adopted a strategy that has greatly alarmed Pakistan, driving Islamabad to invest in tactical nuclear weapons and alter its own nuclear posture.
Changes in India's Strategy
From Indian independence in 1947 until 2004, the Indian military had maintained a largely defensive military strategy on the border with Pakistan, relying on deployed border units until it mobilized forces for a counteroffensive. For example, the Sundarji Doctrine set up by former Indian Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Krishnaswamy Sundarji in the early 1980s called for a largely static defense along the Pakistani border with seven infantry-heavy "holding corps" backed by a few mobile units that would respond to any enemy penetrations of the Indian lines. As the Indian holding corps weakened attacking Pakistani units, India would then mobilize its own offensive forces in central India, consisting of three heavily armored "strike corps" that would counterattack deep into Pakistan under the protection of the Indian air force, which would be expected to have gained air superiority by this time.
Islamabad is aware of the widening gap in conventional military capabilities between itself and India and is further troubled by more frequent fighting with insurgents on its frontier with Afghanistan that could create a two-front commitment. Unable to match India's growing military investments, Pakistan has taken an asymmetric approach to the new threat, building up and relying on an arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons.
Understanding India's rapid response doctrine (Cold Start) could also galvanize terrorists into attempting to trigger India's Cold Start, as was apparently the case with Lashkar-e-Taiba's 2008 Mumbai attacks. Pakistan's dependence on tactical nuclear weapons greatly expands the risk of a disastrous nuclear confrontation in the subcontinent as well, enhancing the potential for the use of nuclear weapons in either a real or perceived Cold Start offensive. The stakes are now much higher in any potential Indo-Pakistani conflict.
The U.S. government said on Friday it had approved the sale to Pakistan of up to eight F-16 fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp, radar and other equipment in a deal valued at $699 million.
The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees foreign arms sales, said it had notified lawmakers about the possible deal.
The agency said the F-16s would allow Pakistan's Air Force to operate in all-weather environments and at night, while improving its self-defense capability and bolstering its ability to conduct counter-insurgency and counter terrorism operations.
Lawmakers now have 30 days to block the sale, although such action is rare since deals are well-vetted before any formal notification.
Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, notified the Obama administration that he would not approve using U.S. funds to pay for the planes through the foreign military financing (FMF) program. That means Pakistan must fund the purchase itself, instead of relying on U.S. funds to cover about 46 percent of the cost.
Given the funds it has available, Pakistan may only be able to buy four of the F-16 Block 52 models, and the associated radar and electronic warfare equipment, said one U.S. source familiar with the situation.
Corker told Secretary of State John Kerry in a letter that he was concerned about Pakistan's ties to the Haqqani network, a militant group that U.S. officials have said is behind bombings and attacks in Afghanistan.
"I may reconsider my blanket hold on U.S. FMF assistance should the Pakistanis make progress on addressing my significant concerns about their support for the Haqqani network, but for now, if they wish to purchase this military equipment, they will do so without a subsidy from the American taxpayer," he wrote.
One U.S. official said the administration was convinced that F-16s were the right platform to support Pakistan’s counter terrorism and counterinsurgency operations.
"These operations reduce the ability of militants to use Pakistani territory as a safe haven for terrorism and a base of support for the insurgency in Afghanistan, which is in the national interests of both Pakistan and the United States, and in the interest of the region more broadly," the official said.
Lockheed referred questions about the deal to the U.S. government.
Pakistan wants to upgrade its aging fleet of fighter jets in anticipation of a prolonged battle against Islamist militants, although the purchase of fifth-generation planes would only be a last resort, a senior air force official said.
In 2014, the military launched a crackdown in the northwestern areas of North and South Waziristan and has managed to push back militants into a few pockets.
But its air force, which will need to retire dozens of jets over the coming years, lacks the latest technology and relies heavily on a fleet of about 70 U.S.-made Lockheed Martin F-16s, which are solely capable of carrying out precision targeting.
"Our concern is that we don't know how long these anti-terrorist operations will continue," Pakistan Air Force second-in-command Muhammad Ashfaque Arain told Reuters in an interview late on Wednesday.
"We have weakened them (militants) to a great extent, but I don't see an end in the very near future, so all the burden is being shared by the F-16s and its pilots."
Pakistan's fleet also includes hundreds of Dassault Aviation French-made Mirage jets that are over 40 years old and F7 Chinese warplanes that are over 25 years old, both of which the air force plans to retire over the next few years.
To fill the void, Islamabad has decided to bet on the JF-17 fighter, jointly developed by China and Pakistan, rather than spending billions on fifth-generation multi-role aircraft like Dassault's Rafale, which rival India is buying, or the Russian Su-35.
That option, Arain said, had almost been ruled out for being too expensive and because Pakistan did not want to mix technologies and resources. It would only be reconsidered if "it was pushed against a wall".
Instead, 16 JF-17s will be produced this year with a further 20 in 2017, but Arain acknowledged that the jets' usefulness in current operations was limited because it lacks precision targeting.
"Operationally, the aircraft are working pretty well so we if we had a targeting pod on the JF-17, the burden would be shared," Arain said.
He said his visit to Paris was in part aimed at assessing from French officials the prospects of supplying the Thales-made Damocles, a third-generation targeting pod. He said that was Islamabad's priority for now.
Previous negotiations in 2010 for a deal worth 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion) worth of electronics and missiles collapsed under pressure from India, uncertainty over Pakistan's finances and fears of the transfer of technology given Chinese involvement in the JF-17.
"We're looking at the best option. The Damocles is a battle- proven system and the other options are not," Arain said. "If we do not get the Damocles pod for example, then we will need to look for alternate options that may not be proven."
He said that in the long run, the air force was thinking about its needs beyond 2030 when F-16s and JF-17s would start to be replaced.
The United States in February approved the sale to Pakistan of up to eight F-16 fighter jets for the short term, but Arain said even that was proving complicated.
"It's a much cheaper fighter jet, but buying more F-16s is economically not feasible for us and then there is a lot of human outcry," he said.
Arain countered any suggestion that Pakistan might want greater air power to target India by saying that New Delhi itself was expanding its fleet.
"We get eight aircraft and there are people who start to say that it will tilt the balance of power in South Asia. But when somebody across the border buys 36 aircraft and has plans to buy 126, that doesn't change the balance of power," he said, referring to India.
#Pakistan enhancing its #military capability to combat #terrorism. Buying more new equipment. #RaddulFasaad
Pakistan has speeded up its efforts to fight terrorists as it is silently enhancing its military capability by acquiring equipment and weapons required to combat terrorism.
This move comes after a recent wave of terror attacks in Pakistan which have claimed more than 100 lives.
Three such deals involving helicopters and military vehicles have been reported by the U.S. media.
Pakistan had earlier this week, concluded a deal for purchasing an unspecified number of AW139 helicopters with an Italian aerospace and defence firm, Leonardo S.p.A, reports Dawn.
Pakistan is also acquiring weapons from the United States (U.S.) despite uncertainty about bilateral relations with the latter under the Trump administration.
The sale of eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan was stopped by the U.S. Congress last year but this did not affect Pakistan's move to acquire weapons needed to fight terrorism.
According to U.S. media reports, three Bell AH-1Z Viper twin-engine attack helicopters would be delivered to Pakistan by an American aerospace manufacturer Bell Helicopter in 2017.
Four Russian-made Mi-35M attack helicopters would also be received by Pakistan this year.
In an another deal, Pakistan signed USD 35million contract with a US firm, Navistar Defence, for manufacturing 40 mine-resistant ambush-protected MaxxPro Dash DXM vehicles.
The manufacturing of 40 mine-resistant ambush-protected MaxxPro Dash DXM vehicles will be completed by October 31 next year and will be manufactured in in West Point, Mississippi.
The vehicles will be used by Pakistan to protect troops against attacks from jihadist militants and other insurgents in the country, said a press release announcing the deal.
Leonardo of Italy reports that Pakistan has signed a new order for additional AgustaWestland AW139 twin-engine helicopters.
The aircraft will be used for utility, search-and-rescue, and emergency medical operations.
The exact number of the medium-lift helicopters to be delivered beginning next year and the value of the contract was not disclosed.
AgustaWestland, maker of the helicopter, is now part of Leonardo
"The contract is a further step towards the completion of fleet renewal programs spread over several batches plus logistic support and training," the company said in a press release. "This event is a major achievement for Leonardo expanding the already successful presence of the AW139 model in the country.
"A fast growing fleet of AW139s is already in service in Pakistan, with several units operated by the Pakistan Government for relief and transport duties."
Overall, though, it seems likely, given important studies by various experts on Indian military, that the civil-military constraints that have helped prevent a coup have hurt military effectiveness and preparedness in at least three important ways: (1) the weakening of the army before the 1962 China war; (2) the problems caused for defense coordination and preparation by unwieldy defense bureaucracy, duplication of functions among different branches and lack of sharing of information across branches and (3) the general downgrading of pay and perks since independence which has left the army with huge shortage of officers that affected the force's discipline capabilities (Cohen and Dasgupta 2010; Menon 2009; Mukherjee 2011).
The February 2000 Kargil Review Committee, for instance, pointed out that India's strategy of developing and controlling nuclear weapons outside of the army while it may make sense from the perspective of civil-military relations, "puts the Indian Army at a disadvantage vis-a-vis its Pakistani counterpart. While the former was in the dark about India's nuclear capability, the latter as the custodian of Pakistani nuclear weaponry as fully aware of its own capability. Three former Indian Army Chiefs of Staff expressed unhappiness about this asymmetric situation" (Menon 2009, 114-115, 117)
Pakistan’s actions have always been in Kashmir, which it believes is an occupation, and legitimate theater for action.
India twice attacked Pakistan across the International Border in 1965 and 1971.
No country other than #India recognizes #Kashmir to be part of India. The international community rejects India's claim on Kashmir.
Listen to this #JNU Professor Nevidita Menon explain why Kashmir is not and has never been part of India.
Ukraine's state-owned defense concern Ukroboronprom, within the IDEX-2021 exhibition, has signed a contract worth US$85.6 million with Pakistan to repair the country's T-80UD tank fleet.
That is according to a statement by the Ukroboronprom press service published on its website on February 22.
"Our armored vehicle manufacturers are constantly upgrading their production facilities, improving technology, which ensures high quality of their works and products. We also discussed with the Pakistani side new orders for the supplies of 6TD1 and 6TD2 engines to this country," the press service quoted Ukroboronprom CEO Yuriy Husyev as saying.
In 2020, Ukraine and Pakistan more than doubled bilateral trade, bringing turnover to US$238 million.
Ukraine's state-run Ukroboronprom Concern was founded in 2010 to ensure the effective operation and management of state-run economic entities involved in the development, manufacture, sale, repair, upgrade, and disposal of weapons, military and special equipment, and ammunition. Ukroboronprom's enterprises also participate in military and technical cooperation.
“Imagery revealed during the commissioning of Tughril confirms that the ‘P282′ is the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) CM-401 hypersonic-speed capable anti-ship ballistic missile,” Fisher said. The CM-401 is a short-range ballistic missile that can maneuver to avoid interception and can allegedly travel at Mach 6.
Highlighting the flexibility of the Type 054A/P, Fisher said the Tughril is the “first Chinese export warship to feature a 32-cell vertical launch system that can be armed with an array of anti-aircraft missiles, ship and land-attack cruise missiles and anti-submarine missiles, as they are on PLA Navy Type 054A frigates.”
The Type 054A/P also carries HHQ-16 medium-range air defense missiles that provide an area defense capability. Pakistan has experienced a capability gap since its lease ran out with the United States for four American Brooke-class frigates in 1994.
Pakistan’s four F-22P Zulfiquar (Type 053H3-derivative) frigates are incapable of dealing with modern missile threats, but might receive upgrades with the fielding of the Type-054A/Ps.
Tom Waldwyn, a naval expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the Type 054A/P ships “will be a considerable improvement … particularly in terms of [anti-submarine warfare] capability” over the 1970s-era ex-British Type 21 frigates that Pakistan acquired in the 1990s. The Type 21s will now undergo decommissioning.
However, he added, India’s Navy “maintains a significant numbers and capability advantage over Pakistan” despite its own programs having suffered “significant delays” and the service’s spread-out deployment among several coastal areas.
Furthermore, the “potentially more lucrative Indian market” had lured European, Russian and American firms away from supplying Pakistan, essentially forcing Islamabad to rely on Beijing for defense equipment, he said.
Though this may have hampered Pakistan’s ability to acquire cutting-edge defense equipment, Waldwyn said the delivery of eight Type 039B Yuan/Hangor II-class submarines will “enlarge the fleet and be a significant capability improvement, particularly if they are fitted with long-range cruise missiles.”
Citing Pakistan’s tests of the submarine-launched Harbah nuclear-capable cruise missile, he said their service entry “would be far more significant to the strategic balance than a handful of new frigates.”
While there is no official confirmation from Islamabad, Ejaz Haider, a Pakistani military analyst, also says that “the purchase has been made and the first batch will fly on 23rd March, which is Pakistan's Republic Day,” according to multiple reports.
The primary threat against Pakistan comes from India, resulting in wars and conflicts, says Haider, reminding us that the most recent escalation happened in Feb 2019 “when India aggressed against Pakistan.”
“India operates the French Rafale and the capability is boosted by the Russian S-400 A2-AD system. As a result, that threat has to be tackled not just in relation to intentions but also capabilities. Pakistan cannot afford to allow major asymmetries in relation to its adversary,” Haider tells TRT World, explaining why Pakistan is making the purchase.
In July, the Indian defence ministry announced its purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France. Interestingly, Pakistan will also procure 36 warplanes from China, suggesting it’s a direct retaliation against New Delhi’s move.
“Pakistan’s F-16 fighters are aging already and Pakistan’s own JF-17 Thunder is in the making. We actually needed to create a deterrent to face India’s purchase of Dassault Rafale,” Javed tells TRT World.
Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighter jet F-16 performs to commemorate the country's 'Operation Swift Retort', following the shot down of Indian military aircrafts on February 27, 2019 in Kashmir, during an air show in Karachi, February 27, 2020.
Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighter jet F-16 performs to commemorate the country's 'Operation Swift Retort', following the shot down of Indian military aircrafts on February 27, 2019 in Kashmir, during an air show in Karachi, February 27, 2020. (Akhtar Soomro / Reuters Archive)
While Pakistanis cannot create a direct symmetry with the Indians considering the size of New Delhi’s military, Islamabad wants to ensure with the purchase of Chinese jets that it can compete in near-equal terms, according to Javed.
“The Pakistan air force is one of the top air forces in the world,” he says.
Haider agrees with that assessment.
“PAF is a professional air force which, despite constrained resources, has performed brilliantly against the Indian Air Force. The February conflict proved that once again. That said, even top-shelf human resource and training requires state-of-the-art platforms,” he says.
Why Chinese jets?
China is a close ally of Pakistan due to various clashing points between Beijing and New Delhi across South Asia as Asia’s two major powers compete with each other to secure their political and economic interests in the strategically vital region.
This equation means Pakistan and China share plenty of common ground on a number of issues, developing strategic ties and increasing military cooperation. But there are also other reasons for Pakistan’s purchase of Chinese jets.
“Pakistan Air Force needs a 4.5 generation multirole fighter. European fighters are very expensive and the US is not an option because of suspension of security assistance with Islamabad, despite Pakistan being nominally a Non-Nato Ally,” Haider says.
“Pakistan faces remarkable sanctions from the US despite its purchase of F-16s,” Javed says. As a result, like Turkiye, Pakistan has moved to create indigenous solutions to develop its military hardware in the face of US opposition, he says.
Even operating F-16s is problematic for Pakistan because Washington places restrictive conditions on their use, Javed says. There are also problems related to its repair process, he adds. China does not usually place conditions on the weapons it sells to other countries.
“Pakistan’s missile tests over the past several years appear to demonstrate enhanced accuracy and penetration capability in view of India’s growing investment in missile defenses. It has also introduced the [multiple independent reentry vehicle]-capable Ababeel ballistic missile system, designed to defeat any dedicated Indian anti-missile system,” he said. “While the S-400 remains a highly capable air defense system at best, its utility against missiles has yet to be proven in real-time conditions.”
Nevertheless, the S-400 does pose a considerable threat to Pakistan’s conventional deterrent.
“Suppression or destruction of enemy air defense (SEAD/DEAD) will likely have taken greater priority for the Pakistani Air Force in response to the S-400 acquisition,” Barrie said. “Options include acquiring more capable anti-radiation missiles, improved electronic countermeasures and aircraft self-protection.”
Overconfidence in its newly acquired S-400 air defense system may give India a false sense of invulnerability and increase the likelihood of a military miscalculation involving archrival Pakistan, analysts warn.
“Indian rhetoric appears to suggest a belief that the S-400 effectively makes its airspace impenetrable and its forces invulnerable,” Mansoor Ahmed, a senior fellow at the Pakistan-based think tank Center for International Strategic Studies who studies the country’s nuclear program and delivery systems, told Defense News.
Consequently, there are concerns “India may be emboldened to resort to military adventurism, believing its ‘Cold Start’ doctrine for punishing strikes and destabilizing incursions into Pakistan” is an assured success, he said.
Deliveries of India’s five S-400 regiments began in December 2021, with initial deployments along the Indo-Pakistan border.
On paper, the defensive — and potentially offensive — anti-access, area denial capabilities of the S-400 appear formidable. The system is reportedly effective against aircraft, UAVs, and ballistic and cruise missiles, with the latter capability potentially neutralizing Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent.
Its layered coverage is provided by a combination of the 40-kilometer-range 9M96E, 120-kilometer-range 9M96E2, 250-kilometer-range 48N6, and 400-kilometer-range 40N6E missiles, enabling it to protect large areas, high-value targets and itself from attack.
It is also highly mobile, can be made operational 5 minutes after arriving at a new location and therefore can be regularly relocated to avoid detection.
However, aerospace expert Douglas Barrie at the International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank, told Defense News the S-400 “should not be underestimated, neither should it be over-estimated.”
A notable claimed feature of the S-400 is its potential offensive capability that would restrict an adversary’s use of its own airspace. For Pakistan, due to its geography and the long border it shares with India, the weapon system would cover most of the country.
However, Barrie is unconvinced. “Its much-touted maximum engagement range is dependent on the variant of surface-to-air missile deployed, the acquisition ranges of the associated radars in the operational area, the capacity of the personnel to effectively exploit the system, and also the steps and countermeasures any opponent might take.”
India plans to integrate the S-400 into its existing air defense network, which consists of indigenous and Indo-Israeli systems.
This begs the question- what strategies and weapons does Pakistan have in its arsenal to counter the S-400s?
Peshawar-based journalist and editor of Global Conflict Watch, Farzana Shah told The EurAsian Times that the “S-400 acquisition by India is a continuation of Delhi’s drive to project her military power in the region. This system will boost Indian air defense capabilities. However, this acquisition was planned and so Pakistan was aware of it.”
Shah said that as an answer to India’s acquisition of this system, Pakistan has inducted a system of similar capability in the form of HQ-9B. “Pakistan Air Force is also evaluating another high-altitude long-range SAM system. S-400 is an expensive ABM system so using it as SAM will be expensive and counterproductive,” she opined.
Mid-October last year, Janes had reported that the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistani military, had issued a press release stating that the Pakistan Army’s (PA) Air Defence forces had inducted a variant of the Chinese-made HQ-9 SAM system in their service.
The HQ-9/P is capable of operating as part of an integrated air and missile defense network. The ISPR noted that the system would be used to “significantly enhance” the ‘Comprehensive Layered Integrated Air Defence (CLIAD)’ along the frontiers of Pakistan.
This system’s engagement range against cruise missiles and aircraft is over 100 kilometers with a claimed high “single-shot kill probability.” However, it is believed that this range actually applies only to aircraft. Engagement ranges against cruise missiles and other such targets are thought to be close to 25 km.
Pakistani journalist Syed Ali Abbas, Managing Editor of Global Defense Insight, said that while Pakistan cannot afford to buy a costly missile defense system like S-400 due to economic constraints, the country already has the tools to counter India’s S-400 acquisition in its inventory.
“For instance, Pakistan’s missiles have the capability to penetrate the S-400; MIRV technology can have a substantial impact on S-400. Moreover, with drones coming to assist on the battlefield, and proving to be notably effective in neutralizing various air defense systems, Pakistan also has the option of the Pakistan Air Force acquiring Turkish Bayraktar drones, coupled with its indigenous armed drone inventory,” he explained.
In July last year, it was reported that Pakistan was looking to acquire armed drones from Turkey, while simultaneously seeking to deepen the already strong bilateral cooperation with Ankara.
Shah highlighted other strategies that the PAF has to deal with the S-400. “Options range from suppressing S-400 radar using stand-off jamming capabilities to taking it out using saturated drone attacks. The system’s radar can pick hundreds of targets but each regiment has only a limited number of interceptor missiles.“
Another weapon that Pakistan could potentially use to deal with the S-400 is the ZF-1 stealth drone. This drone was made specifically to attack heavily defended targets. The drone was promoted at Pakistan’s biennial arms exhibition IDEAS in 2018 by UAS Global.
According to some experts, Pakistan might also benefit indirectly by holding joint military exercises with friendly countries, which already possess the S-400, such as China and Turkey. Such drills might assist in helping Pakistan identify the system’s strengths and weaknesses.
Pakistan and China have come up with a new strategy in wake of India flexing its military muscle. Experts suggest that China is likely to equip Pakistan with its DF-17 hypersonic missile system in a bid to counter India's S-400 air defence system. Richard D. Fisher, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center in an interview has claimed that China is likely to sell the DF-17 or assist Pakistani HGV like it has supported North Korea’s new hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) missile warhead. Hypersonic weapons, which travel at Mach 5 speeds (five times the speed of sound), are difficult to track and engage for air defence systems like S-400, that both India and China possess. Pakistan sees India's acquisition of the S-400 as a threat because of the system's versatility, which allows it to shoot down planes even in Pakistani airspace. A notable element of the S-400 is its potential offensive capabilities, which would limit an adversary's usage of its own airspace. The defensive system can cover a huge portion of Pakistan because of the country's terrain and lengthy border with India.
Richard D. Fisher, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, testified before the US Congress about China’s military advances and has written extensively about the People’s Liberation Army.
“To the extent that China has supported North Korea’s new hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) missile warhead, it has or will similarly assist a Pakistani HGV, or just sell the DF-17,” he told Defense News.
Given the air defense system’s superior sensors and the array of missiles, the Indian Media has referred to the S-400 as a “game-changer.” The S-400 employs four different types of surface-to-air missiles having a range from 40 to 400 kilometers.
India in a statement said a technical malfunction led to the missile being fired into neighbouring Pakistan.
“On 9 March 2022, in the course of a routine maintenance, a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile,” the Indian ministry of defence said in a statement on Friday.
“It is learnt that the missile landed in an area of Pakistan. While the incident is deeply regrettable, it is also a matter of relief that there has been no loss of life due to the accident.”
The ministry said the government had “taken a serious view and ordered a high-level Court of Enquiry” into the incident.
The statement came hours after Islamabad’s foreign ministry condemned what it called an “unprovoked violation of its airspace by an Indian origin ‘super-sonic flying object'”.
India’s charge d’affaires in Islamabad had been summoned to the foreign office for a “strong protest”, it added.
The “imprudent launch” had damaged property on the ground and put at risk civilian lives and aircraft in Pakistani airspace, it said, accusing India of “callousness towards regional peace and stability”.
Military experts have in the past warned of the risk of accidents or miscalculations by the neighbours, which have fought three wars and have engaged in numerous military clashes, most recently in 2019 which saw the air forces of the two engage in combat.
Both nations have nuclear weapons.
Pakistani military spokesman Major-General Babar Iftikhar said in a late evening news conference on Thursday that a “high-speed flying object” crashed near the eastern city of Mian Channu and originated from the northern Indian city of Sirsa, in Haryana state near New Delhi.
“The flight path of this object endangered many national and international passenger flights both in Indian and Pakistani airspace as well as human life and property of ground,” he said.
A Pakistan air force official said the object travelled at an altitude of 12,200 metres (40,000 feet), at Mach 3, and flew 124km (77 miles) in Pakistani airsp
On 13 January 2022, the Pakistan Army (PA) started taking delivery of SH-15 self-propelled howitzers (SPH) from China’s Norinco Group. Publicly accessible export-import records show that Pakistan got 76 packages comprising of both vehicles and transfer-of-technology (ToT) equipment for its ammunition.
The SH-15 is a 155 mm/52-caliber SPH capable of firing extended range and guided artillery shells. These include HE ERFB-BB-RA (High-Explosive Extended-Range Full Bore Base-Bleed Rocket-Assisted)/VLAP (very long-range artillery projectile) rounds. VLAP rounds can offer a range of around 50 km. In terms of guided shells, the SH-15 can fire laser-homing, satellite-guided, and top-attack projectiles.
Not only does the SH-15 extend the range of Pakistan’s artillery coverages, but it also offers a vehicle with which the PA can undertake targeted strikes at a high volume. Guided shells are much more cost-effective than guided rockets (such as the 140 km-range Fatah-1), for example. Moreover, the SH-15 sets the stage for the PA to look at more advanced artillery shells, such as ramjet-powered projectiles.
However, the SH-15 is just one piece of the Army’s efforts to build its precision, stand-off range capability. Rather, Pakistan is building a family of assets through guided shells, guided rockets, and drones to build a varied and versatile strike capability from land.
SH-15: A Refocus on Artillery
The induction of the SH-15 marks the start of Pakistan’s refocus on modernizing artillery. The SH-15 itself is the Army’s first 155 mm/52-caliber gun, but, as noted above, it also supports an array of new capabilities such as VLAP shells and guided projectiles. In 2017, officials Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) were quoted saying that the Army could acquire 500 wheeled SPHs. The fact that Pakistan will manufacture the VLAP shells under license indicates that a large 155 mm/52-caliber howitzer requirement is abound…
Pakistan buys SH-15 howitzers to compete with India
This howitzer can attack up to a distance of 53 km
Pakistan is buying 236 howitzers from China, delivery has started
Islamabad: Pakistan has bought Pakistan SH-15 Howitzer from China to counter India. This howitzer will be mainly deployed in mountainous areas along the border with India. Made in China, this weapon can fire 155 mm shells. This Howitzer (SH-15 Howitzer) is fitted on the chassis of the truck. In such a situation, it can be easily deployed from one place to another in a short time. It is reported that Pakistan had signed a deal to buy 236 SH-15 155 mm howitzers from China in 2019. Some of these units have been handed over to Pakistan this year. In 2018 also this howitzer appeared at a Defense Expo in Karachi. It was also told that Pakistan had also tested this howitzer in the hilly areas near Karachi.
This new 155mm truck-mounted howitzer from China first appeared in 2017. The SH-15 howitzer is based on the design of the older SH-1 gun from China. It was made primarily for export. Now China has made many improvements to the new SH-15 howitzer. The SH-15 was inducted into its army by the Chinese Army in 2018 or 2019 under the name PCL-181 (PCL-181 China). This howitzer was deployed in place of China’s old PL-66 field howitzer. China first publicly displayed this operational howitzer during a military parade in 2019.
This howitzer can hit up to 53 km
The range of the PCL-181 howitzer is said to be 53 km. This howitzer is capable of firing 155 mm NATO ammunition as well as indigenous ammunition. A total of five crew members are required to operate it. The weapon is fitted on the chassis of a Shaanxi truck with 6×6 wheels. The cabin of this truck has been made bulletproof. The windows and windshield in the cabin are bulletproof. One of its trucks is fitted with four boxes to carry 60 rounds of ammunition.
This approach is known as statistical armour, because the protection it offers is all or nothing. It is typically quoted as having a 50% chance of disrupting an incoming rpg. But Dr Appleby-Thomas notes that it works only against munitions with a nose fuse, which Javelins, nlaws and mam-ls do not have.
Russia has been fitting slat armour to vehicles since 2016, but the design of the new cages, seemingly improvised from locally available materials, is baffling. They appear to be oriented in a way that protects only against attacks from above. In principle, that might help against Javelins, which have a “top attack” mode in which they first veer upwards and then dive to punch through a tank’s thin top armour. But, as Nick Reynolds, a land-warfare research analyst at rusi, a British defence think-tank, notes, even if the cage sets off a Javelin’s precursor warhead, the main charge is still more than powerful enough to punch through the top armour and destroy the tank—as the Ukrainian army itself proved in December, when it tested one against a vehicle protected by add-on armour replicating the Russian design. As expected, the Javelin destroyed the target easily.
Notable purchases made with national funds since 2001 include: 18 new F-16 combat aircraft, 500 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles, 500 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, 100 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and six Phalanx Close-In Weapons System naval guns. Also, using U.S. military aid, Pakistan has purchased about 5,250 TOW anti-armor (anti-tank) missiles, five refurbished SH-2I Super Seasprite maritime helicopters, and one ex-Oliver Hazard Perry class missile frigate.
Oryx, a project that logs independently verified losses during the conflict, has so far counted six of Russia’s most advanced, T-90 tanks among the 76 destroyed by Ukraine’s military. In total, Russia has lost 214 tanks to attack, capture, or abandonment, and 1,292 vehicles in total, according to Oryx’s tally.
Ukraine claims higher Russian tank losses, while the Russian Defense Ministry does not release figures. Ukraine has lost 65 tanks, 22 of them destroyed, among 343 vehicles in total, according to Oryx.
In addition to supplies from abroad, the Ukrainian military already had Soviet-era and, more recently, domestically produced anti-tank weapons. Though less sophisticated than Javelins and NLAWs, these remain effective against most other armored vehicles.
What that all implies is evident from several Ukrainian videos widely shared on social media, including one of an attempted drive into the Kyiv suburb of Brovary last week by dozens of Russian tanks and other armored vehicles. Ukrainian troops destroyed several before the column retreated.
A flood of anti-tank missiles sent to Ukraine has potentially changed the course of the war, putting pressure on Russia to find enough capable troops for the grueling urban combat that is now more likely.
For some military analysts, the number of latest generation anti-tank missiles shipped to Ukraine in recent weeks is breathtaking, giving Ukraine’s soldiers an arsenal of these weapons that may be unprecedented in a major modern war.
The U.K. alone says it has sent 3,615 of its short range Next generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW) missiles, with launchers; Germany said it was sending 1,000 anti-tank weapons from its inventory; Norway 2,000; Sweden 5,000 and the U.S. an unpublicized number of Javelin missile systems. Others have also sent the weapons. Many are not the latest technology, but the threat they represent is considerable.
Javelins feature among the $3.5 billion the U.S. administration just secured from Congress to replenish stocks as they are sent to Ukraine. According to the Pentagon’s annual budget request, the 10 Javelin launch units and 763 missiles it bought in 2021 cost $190.3 million.
“The armies sending these things would certainly have had fewer per soldier than Ukraine has been promised,” said Phillips O’Brien, professor of strategic studies at Scotland’s St. Andrews University. “Basically people seem to be stripping themselves almost bare to get this stuff to the Ukrainians.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion is not going to plan, largely due to Ukrainian resistance and Russian miscalculations. The latest generation anti-tank weapons pouring into Ukraine are a factor, too.
Even Russia’s most modern tanks have proved vulnerable to “St. Javelin,” as a Ukrainian meme has dubbed the U.S.-made weapons, according to Pavel Felgenhauer, a Moscow-based expert on the Russian military for the Jamestown Foundation, an American think tank. Russia doesn’t make a third generation anti-tank weapon itself, he added.
Both Javelins and NLAWs hit a tank from above, where its armor is weakest. They are also so-called fire and forget missiles, allowing the attackers to move away as soon as a shot is taken. That reduces the risk they’ll be hit by a counterattack with their position revealed.
#Pakistan has inducted state-of-the-art, “game changer” EW systems from a friendly strategic partner and has already successfully built an integrated offensive+defensive ECM and electronic warfare force by early 2022.
The capability is simply unrivalled in the region and beyond.
AEROSINT Division PSF
These systems are mostly ground based & were inducted in 2021. They represent the Pakistan Air Force’s renewed focus on smart inductions, with EW playing a big role meant to significantly erode the adversary’s capability to operate near Pakistan’s borders and deny tactical space.
AEROSINT Division PSF
These systems are highly mobile, and rapidly deployable to the front lines and consist of multiple jammers for different bandwidths, comprising an integrated electronic air defence system.
The possession of an aircraft carrier is of significant value for any navy. The idea behind the development of an aircraft carrier is to project power at a long distance in peacetime and achieve air dominance at sea during a war. It restricts the adversary warships outside of a designated area, acts as a coercive tool, protects interests at sea, and exercises influence over an area. All major powers having interests outside of their territories have developed them, especially after World War II when the potential of carriers to strike targets accurately at a long-distance using aircraft was effectively demonstrated. India operates one aircraft carrier; another is under sea trials, and the third one is planned. The possession of these carriers lifts India as a major power in the Indian Ocean Region. However, the possession of carriers may have more utility during peacetime than a full-fledged war due to the growing effectiveness and success of anti-ship capabilities.
Indian Maritime Doctrine and Aircraft Carriers
Indian Maritime Doctrine outlines a large area as an area of interest for the Indian Navy to strengthen its position as a blue water force capable of operating and projecting power beyond its home waters. The doctrine enlists primary, secondary, and “other areas” as areas of interest based on the location of the Indian Diaspora and overseas investments vital for the Indian Navy. It also enlists various enabling concepts to protect interests in these areas like “sea control” and “sea denial.”
The backbone of a blue water navy is the aircraft carrier and the Indian Navy plans to possess three aircraft carriers in total, giving it the flexibility to have two operational carriers all the times. INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier with a displacement of 45,000 tons is the current operational carrier of India. The under-trial carrier is domestically built INS Vikrant and is slated to be commissioned early next year. The construction of follow-on to Vikrant is being debated in India due to the questions on the utility of aircraft carriers in comparison to submarines. It has not been approved by the Indian Government yet. Indian Navy operates two squadrons of MiG 29K carrier-borne multi-role aircraft inducted in 2010. Various operational problems have been observed in the aircraft like engine, airframe, and fly-by-wire system.
Limitations of Indian Aircraft Carriers
While the anti-ship capabilities are becoming common, more advanced, and precise, Indian carriers are not among the most advanced in the world. There are also certain limitations of the Indian carriers to operate and effectively project power against Pakistan. Firstly, Indian carriers have limited displacement and can carry up to 36 mixes of aircraft. The limited displacement also means reduced fuel load and an operational range of aircraft, forcing it to operate near the adversary. Displacement capacity also impacts the weapons load on the aircraft. Secondly, the aircraft on the carriers are allocated defensive and offensive roles. Increasing numbers for one role can have catastrophic implications for the other. Thirdly, take-off and landing on the carrier are totally different from ground-based landing and take-off. Indian carriers use Short Take-off But Assisted Recovery (STOBAR) take-off and landing system, which has a slower take-off rate than the more advanced Catapult Assisted Take-off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) system.
Pakistan’s Counter Options against Aircraft Carriers
Pakistan is beefing up its muscles against the increasing number of Indian warships and capabilities. Part of its efforts is focused on developing anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities. It is developing various anti-ship capabilities to effectively neutralize the Indian advantage of large numbers of warships and aircraft carriers. There are three layers of defence against Indian aircraft if deployed against Pakistan.
Firstly, Pakistan deploys anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCM) on its submarines. Pakistan currently operates two Agosta-70 submarines that can fire Harpoon anti-ship missiles, three Agosta 90B submarines that can carry Exocet anti-ship missiles. Eight submarines are on order from China which will also have anti-ship capabilities. Secondly, it has also developed or acquired several ASCMs such as Harba ASCM launched from the ship and the air-launched CM-400AKG anti-ship missile with supersonic speed. The coastal/land-based Zarb ASCM provides the third line of defence in the coastal waters of Pakistan against the intruding carrier. The Navy is also reportedly developing a supersonic cruise missile and an anti-ship ballistic missile. The development of anti-ship ballistic missiles will create a long buffer zone against the Indian carrier depending on the missile’s range.
Indian Navy will seriously consider the growing effectiveness of Pakistan’s anti-ship capabilities for the deployment of its carriers. These capabilities will force Indian carriers to operate from a safer distance making it less useful against the country. Even if trying to carry out a blockade of Pakistan or achieve air dominance against Pakistan in the Arabian sea, it risks its survival against Pakistan’s potent anti-ship capabilities.
“Pakistan is an important counterterrorism partner, and as part of longstanding policy, the United States provides life cycle maintenance and sustainment packages for US-origin platforms,” said a State Department spokesperson.
“This will sustain Islamabad’s capability to meet current and future counterterrorism threats by maintaining its F-16 fleet as well as support American foreign policy and national security objectives by allowing interoperability in ongoing counterterrorism efforts and in preparation for future contingency operations,” said the Pentagon’sDefense Security Cooperation Agency in a note.
The Government of Pakistan has requested to consolidate prior F-16 sustainment and support cases to support the Pakistan Air Force F-16 fleet by reducing duplicate case activities and adding additional continued support elements. Included are U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics services for follow-on support of Pakistan’s F-16 fleet to include:
Participation in F-16 Aircraft Structural Integrity Program
Electronic Combat International Security Assistance Program
International Engine Management Program
Engine Component Improvement Program, and other technical coordination groups
Aircraft and engine hardware and software modifications and support
Aircraft and engine spare repair/return parts
Accessories and support equipment
Classified and unclassified software and software support
Publications, manuals, and technical documentation
Precision measurement, calibration, lab equipment, and technical support services
Studies and surveys
Other related elements of aircraft maintenance and program support.
The proposed sale does not include any new capabilities, weapons, or munitions.
The estimated total cost is $450 million.
This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by allowing Pakistan to retain interoperability with U.S. and partner forces in ongoing counterterrorism efforts and in preparation for future contingency operations.
The proposed sale will continue the sustainment of Pakistan’s F-16 fleet, which greatly improves Pakistan’s ability to support counterterrorism operations through its robust air-to-ground capability. Pakistan will have no difficulty absorbing these articles and services into its armed forces.
The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin Corporation, Fort Worth, TX. There are no known offsets proposed in conjunction with this sale.
Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Pakistan.
There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.
This notice of a potential sale is required by law. The description and dollar value is for the highest estimated quantity and dollar value based on initial requirements. Actual dollar value will be lower depending on final requirements, budget authority, and signed sales agreement(s), if and when concluded.
All questions regarding this proposed Foreign Military Sale should be directed to the State Department's Bureau of Political Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, email@example.com.
According to IAF Veteran Squadron Leader (retd) Vijainder Thakur, “It is likely that the maintenance support package provided by the US will include upgrades that allow PAF F-16s to carry more advanced weapons and sensors. While I do not believe that the package would significantly alter the balance of power, it will most certainly allow the PAF to maintain its deterrence capability against the IAF.”
There has also been an overarching debate regarding F-16s vs. Rafales in the region. The acquisition of Rafales was seen in Pakistan as an attempt to challenge the F-16’s might and deter the PAF.
General Kizer Tufar, a Pakistani veteran, had said, “IAF aircraft cannot be compared with the combination used by the Pakistani Air Force: F-16 and AIM-120 missiles. The Indian Air Force is aware of these restrictions, so they decided to place an order to buy the Rafale from France.”
Indian Air Force Rafale Fighter Jet
Rafale fighter jet is a twin-engine, 4.5th generation fighter aircraft that can operate from ground bases and aircraft carriers. On the other hand, the US-based Lockheed Martin developed F-16, a fourth-generation, single-engine supersonic multirole fighter aircraft. The two aircraft are almost similar regarding the dimension of length.
Given that they can carry more armaments than the F-16s, the Rafales would have an advantage in an encounter between the two. However, the F-16s have a slight advantage over the Rafales regarding striking power. Rafales only have a range of 3700 kilometers compared to the F-16s’ 4220 kilometers.
“The US has always relied on Pakistan due to its strategic location as it is the gateway to Afghanistan or the Middle East and Central Asian republics. Its importance as a launch pad can’t be reduced – which Pakistan also is equally aware of. And, in the US, a strong pro-Pakistan lobby benefits due to various deals and aid to Pakistan – they get paid – by corrupt Pakistani officials and Generals.
The present F-16 deal is also to be looked at from that angle. Overall it will not have much impact on IAF except for irritant value. Numerically and qualitatively, IAF is much better placed,” Air Vice Marshal Pranay Sinha (retd) told EurAsian Times.
The US decision comes when arms sales worldwide are booming owing to newer threat perceptions. Western officials have debated how to wean India off its dependence on Russian armament. However, India has refused to join the West in isolating Russia.
Some experts contend that the US decision is based on a business requirement. According to Group Captain Johnson Chacko, KC (retd), “Arms transactions worldwide are business oriented. Money matters. The US has supplied F-16s to Pakistan, so it is honor bound to maintain them.
In addition, the arms industry gets money while Pakistan holds the debt. We cannot reduce it to the F16 vs. Rafale debate, as the men behind the machines matter.
We demonstrated that against USAF in the first COPE India exercise held at Gwalior, where USAF F-15s were overwhelmed by what they felt was inferior Russian aircraft flown by IAF.”
It is pertinent to mention that the Indian Air Force has been undertaking a rapid modernization drive. It is dominated by Russian heavy-duty fighters like the Su-30MKI and MiG-29s, combat-hardened Mirage 2000s and Jaguars, and Light Aircraft like the Tejas, besides the cutting-edge Rafale fighters.
A Chinese J-10C. (via Twitter)
The Pakistan Air Force, on the other hand, is dominated by the F-16s, the brand-new J-10Cs, the JF-17, and Mirages, among others.
Before the J-10C fighters were transferred to Pakistan by China earlier this year, military analysts asserted that the purchase underlined the need to counter India’s Rafale aircraft and provide a strong deterrent against the Indian Air Force.
US's F-16 package to Pakistan "predicated on US interest associated with our defence partnership with Pak, wch is focused on counter terror or nuclear security as Sec. Austin made it clear to Min. Singh, it doesnt includes any upgrades", says US Asst Sec of Defense Dr. Ely Ratner
US has limited security partnership with Pakistan, says Pentagon official
Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
The Pentagon has said that it has a "limited security partnership" with Pakistan, key comments in the backdrop of the recent Washington announcement of a $450 million package for Islamabad to sustain its F16 fleet. The Biden government's decision, which was announced earlier this month reverses the decision of the previous Trump govt and helps Pakistan sustain its F16 programme.
Speaking to a selected group of reporters, US Asst Sec of Defense Dr Ely S Ratner explained that the US has been engaging with its Indian counterparts on the issue "both in advance of the announcement.." and "during the " mini 2+2 that happened earlier this month in Delhi.
Dr Ely Ratner, along with Donald Lu, Assistant Secretary of State (South and Central Asian Affairs) were in Delhi for the India-U.S.A 2+2 Inter-sessional Dialogue with Indian diplomat Vani Rao. Rao is the Additional Secretary (Americas) in the Ministry of External Affairs.
Ratner said, "It is important to be transparent as we could with Indian counterparts both in advance and during the decision and good opportunity for health exchange on both the US rationale for its limited security partnership with Pakistan and good opportunity to hear India's concern about that".
In the aftermath of the US announcement on F16, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and Indian Defence minister Rajnath Singh spoke to each other in which the latter raised New Delhi's concerns. The package doesn't include any upgrades.
In response to the question, the Pentagon official also clarified that the package was not "designed as a message to India, as it relates to its relation to Russia."
He pointed out that the "decision inside US govt around F16 issue was made predicated on US interest associated with our defence partnership with Pakistan which is primarily focused on counter-terrorism and nuclear security". US comments come even as Pakistani PM Shehbaz Sharif is in New York.
India and US defence ties have increased in the past few years significantly. In 2016, the defence relationship was designated as a Major Defence Partnership (MDP). Several defence agreements have been signed in recent years. These include, Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Association (August 2016); Memorandum of Intent between the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and the Indian Defense Innovation Organization – Innovation for Defense Excellence (2018); Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (September 2018); Industrial Security Agreement (December 2019); Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (October 2020).
The U.S. decision to deliver advanced versions of the F-16 as well as targeting and electronic warfare equipment to Pakistan did not come without strings. And this is where the Pakistan model may hold the key to resolving the impasse over Turkey and the F-35. When it approved the sale of advanced F-16s to Pakistan and the upgrade of older models, the United States also insisted on an unprecedented level of oversight of the program. In order to protect the technology it was exporting, Washington required Islamabad to accept and pay for the deployment of a U.S. technical security team at the Shahbaz and Mushaf air force bases — the two locations where the advanced F-16s were to be deployed.
One of the authors of this article served in the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan at the time and was involved in this program, making several visits to Pakistani F-16 bases to ensure the required security upgrades were completed before the aircraft were deployed there. Each technical security team is made up of four to five U.S. Air Force personnel and some 30 contractors who keep a round-the-clock watch on Pakistan’s advanced F-16s. In total, Pakistan has around 85 F-16s, 66 of which are older Block 15 aircraft and 19 of which are the more modern Block 52. Most of the Block 15 aircraft have received the mid-life upgrade, meaning they are also subject to technical security team monitoring. The mission of the teams is to ensure that the Pakistan Air Force uses its F-16s as intended, does not modify them or the weapons they carry, and does not share the technology with unauthorized parties. In Pakistan’s case, the latter issue is especially salient, because the air force also flies the JF-17 fighter, which it jointly manufactures with China. On bases where advanced F-16s are present, the United States requires that Pakistan separate them from other aircraft and strictly limit access to the area where they are located.
Despite its behavior in other areas, Pakistan has been a steady partner in its F-16 program. The Pakistan Air Force uses its F-16s extensively to attack militants in its tribal areas and shares cockpit footage of these operations with the United States (which one of the authors was able to view while stationed in Pakistan). The presence of technical security teams allows the United States to monitor how Pakistan uses these jets, since their weapons load is configured differently for air-to-ground and air-to-air operations. Of course, in a national emergency, even continuous monitoring can’t prevent the Pakistan Air Force from using its F-16s in ways the United States doesn’t like. For example, in February 2019 India claimed a Pakistani F-16 shot down one of its jets in a skirmish over the border between the two. Pakistan denies this, claiming a Pakistan Air Force JF-17 downed the Indian plane. The U.S. State Department has expressed concern about the incident, but did not directly accuse Pakistan of using its F-16s against India. Instead, it admonished Islamabad for moving some of its F-16s to bases not approved by the United States, indicating that both sides would prefer to let the issue rest. This incident highlights a limitation on all U.S. oversight of military equipment it sells to foreign partners, not just Pakistan. When national survival appears to be at stake, U.S. partners will not be deterred by admonitions to use weapons only for certain missions or against certain threats. This needs to be considered early in the process, before an export license is issued.
"It's a relationship that has neither ended up serving Pakistan well nor serving the American interests," S Jaishankar said at an event in Washington
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has raised questions over the "merits" of the US-Pakistan relationship and said that Washington's ties with Islamabad have not served the "American interest".
"It's a relationship that has neither ended up serving Pakistan well nor serving the American interests," Mr Jaishankar said at an event organised by the Indian American community in Washington on Sunday.
The remarks were made when the Indian minister was questioned by the audience on US action on F-16 fighter jets with Pakistan. Just weeks ago, for the first time since 2018, the US State Department approved a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to the Government of Pakistan for the sustainability of the Pakistan Air Force F-16 fleet and equipment at the cost of USD 450 million.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh promptly conveyed to US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin India's concerns over Washington's decision to provide a sustenance package for Pakistan's F-16 fleet.
"It's really for the United States today to reflect on the merits of this relationship and what they get by it," Mr Jaishankar asserted.
"For someone to say I am doing this because it is all counter-terrorism content and so when you are talking of an aircraft like a capability of an F-16 where everybody knows, you know where they are deployed and their use. You are not fooling anybody by saying these things," Mr Jaishankar noted.
"If I were to speak to an American policy-maker, I would really make the case (that) look what you are doing," he asserted.
Mr Jaishankar on Saturday concluded the high-level United Nations General Assembly debate in New York and is scheduled to spend the next three days in Washington.
The minister is scheduled to meet with his American counterpart, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, and other top officials of the Biden administration.
India, Pakistan both partners of U.S. with different points of emphasis: Biden administration
"We look to both as partners, because we do have in many cases shared values...shared interests." Said State dept spokesperson
India and Pakistan are both partners of the U.S. with different points of emphasis, the Biden administration said on September 26, a day after visiting External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar questioned the rationale behind the latest American F-16 security assistance to Islamabad.
Referring to the argument made by the U.S. that F-16 sustenance package is to fight terrorism, Mr. Jaishankar had said everybody knows where and against whom F-16 fighter jets are used. "You're not fooling anybody by saying these things," he said in response to a question during an interaction with Indian-Americans.
"We don't view our relationship with Pakistan, and on the other hand, we don't view our relationship with India as in relation to one another. These are both partners of ours with different points of emphasis in each," State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at his daily news conference.
"We look to both as partners, because we do have in many cases shared values. We do have in many cases shared interests. And the relationship we have with India stands on its own. The relationship we have with Pakistan stands on its own," he said.
Early this month, the Biden administration approved a $450 million F-16 fighter jet fleet sustainment programme to Pakistan, reversing the decision of the previous Trump administration to suspend military aid to Islamabad for providing safe havens for the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.
"We also want to do everything we can to see to it that these neighbours have relations with one another that are as constructive as can be possible. So that's another point of emphasis," Mr. Price said in response to a question.
Responding to another question, Mr. Price said it is "not in Pakistan's interest to see instability and violence in Afghanistan".
"The support for the people of Afghanistan is something we discuss regularly with our Pakistani partners; our efforts to improve the lives and livelihoods and humanitarian conditions of the Afghan people, and to see to it that the Taliban live up to the commitments that they have made," he added.
Pakistan is implicated in many of these same commitments: the counterterrorism commitments, commitments to safe passage, commitments to the citizens of Afghanistan, Mr. Price said. "The unwillingness or the inability on the part of the Taliban to live up to these commitments would have significant implications for Pakistan as well".
"So, for that reason, we do share a number of interests with Pakistan regarding its neighbour," Mr. Price said.
The United States, he noted, has been intently focused on the devastation that has resulted in the loss of life resulting from the torrential floods that have devastated large areas of Pakistan.
"We have provided tens of millions of dollars in relief for these floods. The Secretary today will have additional details on further US assistance for the Pakistani people, in light of this humanitarian emergency that Pakistanis are facing," he added.
Shocking coming from a country that has been on the receiving end of US generosity what with the CAATSA waiver. Can’t believe India thinks it can dictate US foreign policy while selling Washington baloony about is own independence when it comes to Ukraine.
"You're Not Fooling Anybody...": S Jaishankar On US' F-16 Deal With Pak
"It's a relationship that has neither ended up serving Pakistan well nor serving the American interests," S Jaishankar said at an event in Washington
The US government has approved a $450 million sustainment package for Lockheed Martin F-16s operated by the Pakistan air force.
The proposed package lists several items, including the F-16’s structural integrity programme, the international engine management programme, spare parts, and other services and equipment related to the type, according to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by allowing Pakistan to retain interoperability with US and partner forces in ongoing counter-terrorism efforts and in preparation for future contingency operations,” says the DSCA.
“The proposed sale will continue the sustainment of Pakistan’s F-16 fleet, which greatly improves Pakistan’s ability to support counter-terrorism operations through its robust air-to-ground capability. Pakistan will have no difficulty absorbing these articles and services into its armed forces.”
The package does not, however, include new capabilities, weapons, or munitions.
The lack of capability improvements could reflect Washington DC’s increasingly warm ties with Pakistan’s archrival India.
Moreover, Pakistan has become closer to Beijing in recent decades, including the joint development of the Chengdu/Pakistan Aeronautical Complex JF-17. Pakistan is also the first international operator of the Chengdu J-10C, which in Chinese service performs similar missions to the F-16.
Cirium fleets data indicates that Pakistan operates 57 F-16A/Bs and 18 F-16C/Ds, with an average age of 30.8 years.
By M.K. Bhadrakumar
Yet, some national dailies have rushed to eagerly attribute it to the US displeasure over India’s stance on the conflict in Ukraine. One daily rather churlishly advised the government, “As Delhi demonstrates “strategic autonomy” to engage with every side — Quad one week, and Russia and China the next at the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) in Samarkand — and work around Western sanctions to buy oil from Russia, and keep friends in all camps, it may have to come to terms that others in world play the same game.”
In this unseemly hurry to link Ned’s remarks with India’s strategic autonomy, what these commentators overlook is that the US spokesman was speaking on a special day when the Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto was visiting the state department at the invitation of the Secretary of State Antony Blinken — and on top of it, the two countries were commemorating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
Indeed, it is another matter that Jaishankar’s remarks were not only unwarranted — casting aspersions on the US-Pakistan relationship — but untimely, and perhaps, even provocative. The only charitable explanation could be that Jaishankar was grandstanding as a consummate politician before an audience of Indian-Americans, with an eye on his “core constituency” in India. The mitigating factor, of course, is that he has only given back to the Americans in their own coin, who consider it their prerogative to butt into other countries’ external relations with gratuitous comments — India’s with Russia, for instance.
Ned Price’s remarks have all the elements of a policy statement. He said: “We don’t view our relationship with Pakistan, and … our relationship with India as in relation to one another. These are both partners of ours with different points of emphasis in each. We look at both as partners, because we do have in many cases shared values. We do have in many cases shared interests. And the relationship we have with India stands on its own. The relationship we have with Pakistan stands on its own. We also want to do everything we can to see to it that these neighbours have relations with one another that are as constructive as can be possible. And so that’s another point of emphasis.”
What stands out at the most obvious level is that Price reiterated the US policy in the recent decades since the Cold War ended to “de-hyphenate” Washington’s relationships with India and Pakistan while also promoting a normal relationship between the two South Asian rivals who are not on talking terms. Price pointed out that the two relationships have “different points of emphasis in each.”
Interestingly, Price equated India with Pakistan as partner countries with which the US has “in many cases shared values” and “in many cases shared interests.” This needs to be understood properly. Washington has taken note of Pakistan’s objection over the prioritisation of India in the US’ regional policies in South Asia in the past.
This shift removes a major hurdle in the trajectory of US-Pakistan relationship and is necessitated by a variety of factors following the humiliating defeat that the US suffered in Afghanistan. Here, security considerations certainly constitute one key factor.
The killing of the al-Qaeda chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri was only possible due to the help from Pakistan. Equally, Afghan situation remains dangerous and the US cannot turn its back on what’s happening out there. The US’ dependence on Pakistani intelligence has only increased.
In addition to reorganizing the Navy's force structure, he outlined acquisition and development programs, some of which were mentioned for the first time or had new details confirmed. These included:
Expanding the Navy to more than 50 warships (more than doubling major surface combatants to 20, with plans for six additional large offshore patrol vessels).
The apparent free transfer of a Chinese Yuan-class submarine to train Pakistani crews for its eight Hangor subs.
Developing the hypersonic P282 ship-launched anti-ship/land-attack ballistic missile.
Establishing the Naval Research and Development Institute to nurture indigenous design talent (it is presently engaged in programs such as the Jinnah-class frigate, Hangor-class subs, UAV jammers, directed-energy weapons, underwater sonar surveillance coastal defense systems, unmanned underwater vehicles and unmanned combat aerial vehicles).
Replacing of the P-3C Orion patrol aircraft with 10 converted commercial jets, the first of which has been ordered.
Acquiring medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned combat aerial vehicles as well as 20 indigenous gunboats, which are to be commissioned by 2025.
The Navy would not provide more details when asked, though the gunboats were previously confirmed as undergoing design.
However, analysts are divided on whether these programs will prove a sufficient deterrent against Pakistan's archrival India.
Author, analyst and former Australian defense attache to Islamabad, Brian Cloughley, claimed it is “quite impossible for Pakistan to achieve a naval structure that even approaches that of the Indian Navy.”
“It cannot afford it. At best, its deterrence value would be entirely local," he said.
Though he described India's aircraft carriers as “decidedly inferior in effectiveness in international terms, and present no threat to China,” they are a “major threat” to Pakistan's Navy when they are out of range of shore-based air power.
In the event of a conflict involving India's Navy, Pakistan “would deploy all its assets to destroy it, and although the [Indian Navy] would suffer major losses, the attrition factor would be the decider,” he added.
In contrast, expansion of the Pakistan Navy would “effectively neutralize India's growing naval capability,” according to Mansoor Ahmed, a senior research fellow at the Center for International Strategic Studies in Islamabad. He noted that India has “long enjoyed the most decisive numerical advantage; that is potentially destabilizing, as it could encourage belligerency and aggression, and fuel crisis instability.”
However, Pakistan's modernization efforts would “help keep the nuclear threshold high,” “enhance Pakistan's second-strike capability by increasing survivability of its surface and submarine fleet,” and provide considerably increased capacity for attrition, Ahmed added.
Similarly, Tom Waldwyn, a naval expert at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, said there is merit in the expansion program.
“Certainly the ship- and submarine-building plans, once realized, will be a significant boost to Pakistan's conventional maritime capability. By the end of this decade, the frigate fleet will grow by half and the submarine fleet will probably double in size. The planned gunboats could free up the new frigates to perform tasks the Pakistan Navy is currently not able to do as often,” he said.
The Hangor program is probably the most noteworthy because of China's involvement, Waldwyn added. “Although local build of Hangor submarines is planned to be complete before the end of the decade, regenerating that industrial capability will be a big effort, and I expect that Chinese assistance in doing so will be crucial.”