Pakistan air chief says PAF capable of intercepting drones

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Islamabad, Nov 26 (UNI) Despite its limited resources, the Pakistan Air Force is capable of intercepting drones but it is for the government and the political leadership to decide whether to handle the matter diplomatically or militarily.

This was stated by Chief of Air Staff Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed during a visit to the ongoing five-day international defence exhibition in the port city of Karachi yesterday.

Asked why was the PAF not taking measures to counter US drone attacks, he said the air force would act in accordance with the government's decision.

About PAF's plans of inducting new fighter aircraft, he said the first squadron of JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft, which had been developed in collaboration with China, would be formally inducted into the air force in the first quarter of next year.

Marshal Mahmood informed the PAF was also engaged in tactical evaluation of the fourth generation FC-20 high-tech multi-role platform manufactured by China.

The air chief said that the test and evaluation of JF-17 had been far better than the expected parameters. He also referred to the aircraft's weapons system and avionics design parameters.

He claimed the PAF was capable of serial production of about 40 to 45 JF-17 for which it would require between 750 and 800 million dollar and the government had been requested to secure soft credit from China for realising that objective.

The aircraft, placed on static display at the exhibition, is attracting a large number of visitors.

Naval Chief Admiral Noman Bashir said the Pakistan Navy had been vigorously pursuing the policy of self-reliance to offset military sanctions, which Pakistan had faced from time to time.

He said that indigenous manufacturing of Agosta 90 B submarines, gunboats and number of other platforms bore testimony to the fact.

The contract for four F 22 P frigates with China and construction of the last one in Pakistan were also a giant leap in this direction, he added.

''These frigates would form the backbone and main thrust of Pakistan Navy,'' Admiral Bashir said.

The exhibition provided an excellent opportunity to the defence industry to display products and exhibit operational features and interested buyers got multiple options to choose from, the naval chief claimed.

The overall display of the state-of-the-art arsenal shows that local manufacturers are trying to enhance the country's deterrence capabilities and also earning valuable foreign exchange.

UNI XC RJ CS1100

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