پاکستاان لیجر | PAKISTAN LEDGER | پاکستاني کھاتا |Sept. 21, 08 | Moin Ansari | معین آنصآرّی |
'New aircraft can make Pak airpower stronger' 23 Sep 2008, 0502 hrs IST, Anand McNair ,TNN
GANDHINAGAR: Emergence of new warfare technologies have not been able to diminish the crucial role of airpower to achieve national objectives of any country. When nuclear thresholds of countries keep changing, it is superior airpower that becomes a matter of choice for nations to protect their respective national interests. Hence when Pakistan recently bought US and Chinese multi-role aircraft, Indian Air Force's (IAF) south western air command, the frontline of defence against Pakistan, was quick to assess its long-term implications for India.
Air Marshal Kanwar Dalinderjit Singh, air officer commanding-in-chief, SWAC, told TOI that Pakistan has outlined a big plan to replenish its aircraft fleet and upgrade existing fighters. Till June 2008, US had delivered Pakistan eight second-hand F-16 s even as plans were afoot to upgrade its ageing fleet of the same variant. Besides, neighbouring country has bought eight JF-17 multi-role aircraft from China and proposes to buy 150 more in the coming years. It has also ordered for 36 J-10 fourth generation multi-role aircraft from China, he said.
According to Air Marshal Singh, a veteran fighter pilot who has flown Hawker Hunter and MiG-21 variants among other fighters and trainers, [Pakistani] aircraft are quick in response and can cause a lot of destruction, so the ongoing development by Pakistan to strengthen its airpower cannot be ignored.
He, however, added that the only comfort could be the fact that upgradation of F-16 s would not add new capabilities to the aircraft and the Chinese fighters have not proved their claims. The SWAC AOC-in-C refused to divulge any information on plans to counter airpower imbalance in immediate neighbourhood in the coming years. But he added that work was on to set up a new airbase and strengthen the existing ones under the south western air command.
IAF has been building a new airbase at Phalodi near Jodhpur. The base which will become operational by 2009-end. It will have transport and attack helicopters, MiG-29 Bison and air defence aircraft. Jamnagar airbase is being upgraded and those in Naliya and Bhuj strengthened, he said. Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra, three states that SWAC has to defend, have different characteristics in terms of economy and others, thus delineating a varied role for IAF. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Ahmedabad/New_aircraft_can_make_Pak_airpower_stronger_/articleshow/3515786.cms