Pakistan's 5th generation aircrat

IAF recently announced that it will start inducting 5th GenerationIndo-Russian stealth fighters also know as PAK-FA or the FGFA into itsinventory by 2018. This means IAF is the only Air force in theSub-continent which has concrete plans to go 5th Generation and alsoprobably in Asia. This news has sent jitters across the borders inPakistan and as of now they don't have a suitable answer for this.

PAF is past few years has painstakingly closed the technological andquantitative gap it has with its longstanding rival the IAF. PAF hasordered 8 new AWACS from Sweden and China, more F-16's from USA, BVRmissiles, new SAM's, upgraded its existing fleet of F-16s, its waitingfor J-10B's and ofcourse its crown jewel and supposedly indigenousJF-17 "Thunder". However all these fighters are still nowhere nearIAF's Su-30MKI which is technologically far superior. Also IAF'sPhalcon system is considered to be second to none. However the PAF'smodernization drive has certainly given it a edge which IAF must beclosely observing.
Talking about the future, PAF's has far less scope of improving thanthe IAF. IAF in next 15 years will induct two different types 5thgeneration fighters where as PAF will induct none. However manyPakistani will respond to my above sentence as absurd because theybelieve they will get the F-35 from US, J-XX from China and new 5thGeneration version of JF-17 soon. I can't help but laugh at this claimsbecause I have very strong notions that all this will not happenbecause of very obvious reasons.
First lets talk about the Americans, the F-35 JSF is facing delayswhich is not financially good for the project. It has ordered some 2500units and many more by partner countries. This means the productionsline will be very busy until 2025 atleast. Each F-35 will cost wellabove 150million $ through out its life which Pakistan is not havingand with current states of affair it will not have for atleast10-15years to come. USA is also talking about exit plans fromAfghanistan which would mean that Pakistan would be of lesserimportance. Plus it would be hard to justify gifting the F-35 as theTaliban doesn't have a radar and the F-35 won't add to PAF's capabilityto fight the militants. So for now its a no for the F-35.
Second comes the the Chinese J-XX project. Well this is PAF only hopeand in my opinion this will be the Pakistan's fifth generation fighterhowever doubts over it still remain. China's J-10 fighter is alreadyhaving trouble with 4 confirmed crashes of which two were in-servicefighters. According to a article published on the aircrafthasn't turned out to be as planned and has some serious flaws. Alsoaccording to CIA reports China is not technologically advance enough tobuilt a 5th Generation fighter on its own. This is no surprise becauseChina to this day hasn't built anything on its own. Reverse engineeringonly gives knowledge to build copies of the original product and theChinese are paying its price now. But they should be able to starttesting a fifth generation fighter by 2025 by hook or crook.
Last and the most hilarious of them all is the 5th Gen version of theirJF-17 fighter aircraft. This aircraft is barely 4th generation and forits time is very much technologically old. However it still is verydecent fighter for the PAF. The only problem with it is that it couldnot be made stealthy because the current airframe is far from stealthy.Making JF-17 stealthy would mean completely redesigning the aircraftwhich in itself means building a entirely new aircraft which Pakistanis not capable of doing.
The above reasons should make any neutral minded person if not me tobelieve that PAF will not get a fifth generation fighter atleast till2030. So IAF should be able to maintain air dominance oversub-continental skies which it has held since.


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