PAF attains Night time attack capability: PAF Chief

June 27, 2010

SHAHBAZ AIR BASE: With the induction of latest version of F-16aircraft, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has achieved the capability to carryout all-weather night time operations, said Chief of Air Staff AirChief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman here on Sunday.

Addressing the formal handing over ceremony of three Block 52 C/Dversion of F-16 aircraft by the US at the newly developed base nearJacobabad, Chief of Air Staff said this technology will not onlyeliminate our existing limitations of precision night operations butalso enable the PAF to meet its mission more effectively.

“The mission of the PAF is to Maintain Peace with Honor in the Region:should this primary effort of maintaining peace fail, we will use ourresources including these aircraft to defend our country against anyinternal or external threats.”

General Norton A Schwartz, Chief of Staff, United States Air Force(USAF), especially visited Pakistan to attend the handing over ceremony.

US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson, Vice Admiral MichaelLeFever, US Defence Representative in Pakistan along with other seniorPAF, USAF, civil and military officials were also present on theoccasion. Lt Gen Hostage of USAF (Centcom) handed over the documents ofthe newly inducted aircraft to Air Marshal Mohammad Hasan, Deputy Chiefof Air Staff (Operations), PAF.

The newly manufactured aircraft by Lokheed Martin had reached Pakistan on Saturday.

Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar termed the handing over of the aircraft toPakistan a happy augury as the deal for supply of these aircraft by theUS was signed back in 2006, but it became controversial at the hands ofcritics on both sides.

However, he said of late it matured following efforts put in by the “good people” living in both the friendly countries.

Later, talking to media-persons, he said other countries in the regionhad already such type of aircraft available with them while acquiringof latest F-16 aircraft by Pakistan has brought back the balance ofpower in the region.

The Chief of Air Staff while addressing the gathering said that PAF menmade round the clock efforts to complete the Shahbaz Base as a fullyfledged air base, which only a year back was being used as a forwardoperation base.

“PAF Base, Shahbaz has been developed into a modern Base capable ofhandling state-of-the-art and most modern fighter aircraft of the worldin less than a year.”

Completion of this task in a record time reflects the spirit of PAF,which is used to working against heavy odds and meeting the assignedtasks within the available limited resources. These new aircraft willbegin a new era of hi-tech environment in the PAF.

As far as the overhauling and up-gradation of existing F-16 aircraft isconcerned, he said initially 14 aircraft from the existing fleet of PAFwould be upgraded with the US assistance as a team of technicians,engineers and experts had already been working to transfer theup-gradation and repair skills to their Pakistani counterparts.

This handing over has formally started the delivery of the fleet of 18F-16 C/D Block 52 fighter aircraft to Pakistan. PAF would receive thesestate-of-the-art aircraft from the US Government in different batches.

The delivery of all the 18 aircraft would complete by the end of thisyear. In addition to delivery of 18 aircraft by US, he said thefriendly country would also help Pakistan in upgrading existing lot ofF-16 aircraft matching to the latest version of the fighting falcons.

The Chief of Air Staff also announced an uplift package for the peopleof Jacobabad according to which PAF would immediately provide threewater filtration plants, besides constructing a hospital and school inthe area.

Source: Associated Press of Pakistan

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