Saturday, April 9, 2016

Does Pakistan Really Need F-16s to Fight Terror?

Pakistan is looking to buy more F-16s from the United States. There's mounting opposition to such sales as witnessed recently when President Barack Obama approved the sale of just 8 F-16s to the country.

India Lobby:

This decision by the Obama administration's decision triggered the Indian spin machine to go into high gear. The campaign orchestrated by the Indian government included placement of favorable news stories, TV analysts' commentaries, newspaper columns and magazine Op-Eds (including one by Husain Haqqani), think tank reports and speeches by the members of the India Caucus in the US Congress.  They all blatantly toed the Indian line that these 8 F-16s would be used against India, not in Pakistan's ongoing counter-insurgency operations. The biased nature of all of these efforts can be gauged by the following facts that were completely ignored by them:

Damocles Multi-Function Targeting Pod Source: Defense News
1. Pakistan, like the United States elsewhere, has been using F-16s in Operation Zarb e Azb against militants hiding out in Pakistan tribal belt along the border with Afghanistan. The key reason for the choice of F-16s is its sophisticated precision targeting pod that is not available on China-Pakistan jointly developed JF-17 fighter aircraft.

2. There is a huge imbalance in the conventional defense capabilities between India and Pakistan as laid out by GlobalFirePower.com.  It ranks India at number 4 in the world while Pakistan is way down at number 17 in 2016. India's defense spending of $51.1 billion is higher than the defense budgets of much richer nations like France ($50.9 billion), Germany ($47 billion) and Japan ($46 billion), and about 6 times higher than Pakistan's $9 billion, according to SIPRI as reported by the media.

3. India is world's largest importer of sophisticated weapons, including fighter aircraft, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Here's what it says about the import of weapons between 2011 and 2015: India (14 per cent of global arms imports), China (4.7 per cent), Australia (3.6 per cent), Pakistan (3.3 per cent), Viet Nam (2.9 per cent) and South Korea (2.6 per cent).

I did not see a single piece in the US media supporting Pakistani position in this battle.  It was completely one-sided. They succeeded in forcing a US Senate vote to block the sale. Luckily for Pakistan, Obama administration barely succeeded in overcoming this Indian campaign to do something as trivial as selling just a few F-16s to Pakistan this time.

Precision Targeting Pod:

PAF currently relies heavily on a fleet of about 70 US-made Lockheed Martin F-16s with its Sniper Targeting Pods, which are solely capable of carrying out precision targeting to hit militants while minimizing civilian deaths. However, Pakistan's continuous use of F-16s for precision targeting in FATA is reducing their effective lives as air to air combat aircraft.

The latest version of precision targeting pod being used with F-16s is Sniper XR. In addition Northrup Grumman also supplies an Israeli designed LITENING Pod to some of its customers.

While Pakistan is still pursuing purchase of additional F-16s, the nation is also looking to enhance precision targeting capability of JF-17. Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is assessing the French Thales-made Damocles targeting pod for mounting on its JF-17 aircraft, according to Defense News.

Thales has a newer Talios targeting. These systems are being continuously improved with day/night targeting with FLIR sensors, CCD cameras, weapon delivery, target updates, target tracking at altitudes, air speeds and slant ranges consistent with tactical weapon delivery maneuvers.

Pakistan Air Force deputy chief Muhammad Ashfaque Arain is currently visiting France to discuss the acquisition of the Damocles pod. He has been quoted by Reuters as saying, “the Damocles is a battle- proven system and the other options are not. If we do not get the Damocles pod for example, then we will need to look for alternate options that may not be proven.”

The addition of a precision targeting pod on JF-17 will improve its mission capabilities as well as reduce the burden on F-16. Another reason why Pakistan is seeking these pods is that they are already being integrated to Russian aircraft(s) and will be produced under license in Russia. So there is a path there for JF-17 aircraft integration.

Pakistan is in the process of retiring hundreds of aging fighter aircraft in its fleet, mainly 40-year-old French-made Mirage jet and 25-year-old Chinese-made F-7s, over the next few years. 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.

India's Opposition:

If Pakistan's efforts to acquire French precision target pods make any headway, I fully expect India to mobilize opposition to any deal. India may use its purchase of additional Rafale jet as a lever to get France to end any further discussion of Damocles sale to Pakistan.

Summary:

Pakistan is currently engaged in Operation Zarb-e-Azb, the world's largest anti-terror military campaign with over 180,000 ground troops and dozens of aircraft involved in it.  Pakistan's need for F-16s to fight terror is genuine, as is its desire to acquire precision targeting enhancement for JF-17s. Failure to meet Pakistan's need for precision targeting and other related equipment would hamper its ability to win the war against terror along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

India's Spin Machine

Has Modi Stepped Up Proxy War in Pakistan?

India's Israel Envy: What if Modi Attacks Pakistan?

Pakistan Army at the Gates of Delhi

India's War Myths

India-Pakistan Military Balance

Pakistan Army Capabilities

Modi's Pakistan Policy

India's Israel Envy

Can India Do a Lebanon in Pakistan?



41 comments:

Anonymous said...

If Pakistan's efforts to acquire French precision target pods make any headway, I fully expect India to mobilize opposition to any deal. India may use its purchase of additional Rafale jet as a lever to get France to end any further discussion of Damocles sale to Pakistan.

Not just Rafale. There is also follow on Scorpene class,Aircraft carrier consultancy(Super carrier INS Vishal),Naval ships,Patrol aircraft(via Airbus) and much more .Many billions of USD in potential contracts in recession hit times.

Damoclese pods cost 2 million a pop so assuming a demand for 100 of these potentially 200 million vs many billions from India.

Good luck!

Ahmet said...

India's redemption lies in Pak's total destruction. India is hell bent to block all the paths for the Paks.

Momin said...

آج کے دن تک ایف سولہ سے بہتر فائٹر جہاز نہیں بن سکا ،اسرائیل نے شام کے ایٹمی پلانٹ کو تباہ کرنا ہو یا ایران کے ایٹمی پلانٹ پر حملے کی پلاننگ ایف سولہ ہی استمعال ہورہا ہے ،عراق و شام اور لیبیا کی جنگ میں بھی یہی جہاز ہے جس نے جنگوں کے پانسے پلٹ دیے

Adam said...

There is a simple answer to your question

PAF has 180-200 F-7 and Mirage 3/5
Which are in need of replacement
They can replace all of them with JF17

But they know its strength and weekness
Hence a much more capable aircraft is required to match an Indian fleet of 270 MKI, 50 Mirage 2000 and 100+ Mig29S/K

I won't be surprised if PAF tries to acquire as much as 80 second hand F16s

Tipu said...

Why Pakistan need More F16s?

1: Block 50-52 is most advance Bird in PAF arsenal. Already operational and its experts are trained and available. Easy to absorb and operate in PAF. PAF can buy 18 of them more to create two top edge Squadrons.

2: Due to advance munition and targeting pods, These F16s are impressive in performance in COIN operations. The targeting pod and Loading weight of Jf17 for Precise ground targeting is still not satisfactory enough. Producing the dire need of upgrading them.

3: Second hand F16 is cheapest and quickest measure to replace older F7 and Mirages. As production of Jf17 is not fast enough, we can easily replace legacy fighter from Surplus F16s from United States and Europe.

4: These F16s can be upgraded with AMLU package (same we did in Turkey) and they will be capable enough to deal with any sort of threat from Eastern as well as Western borders.

5: There is need of Aim9X in PAF arsenal and if possible Aim120D. These two missiles can make our F16s even more deadly. Aim9X is HOBS missile and very deadly in close air combat, and Aim120D is most advance American BVR missile. We should peruse both of them as we already operate older Aim9 series and Aim120C in our Falcon fleet.

6: Only thing in which our F16s lags is absence of Passive tracking as it lack infra red search and track (IRST). Our F16s can carry it on external hard point as pod along with targeting pod on single hard point like that

(An IRST pod with Targeting pod) This combo is called Tiger eye system.

Indian Muslim said...

Failure to meet Pakistan's need for precision targeting and other related equipment would hamper its ability to win the war against terror along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. -@riaz

Interesting how you shifted the burden of terrorism, which Pakistan created over the years from the birth of Taliban to the hiding of Bin Laden to the LeT, Haqqani Network and Jamaat Islami, towards US or France.

Riaz Haq said...

IM: "Interesting how you shifted the burden of terrorism, which Pakistan created over the years from the birth of Taliban to the hiding of Bin Laden to the LeT, Haqqani Network and Jamaat Islami, towards US or France. "

Yeah, Sure. Clearly, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama disagree with your brainwashed response.

Former US Sec of State and current presidential candidate Hilary Clinton has said that the US is now fighting the groups we created and funded during the Cold War.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dqn0bm4E9yw


Similarly, Barack Obama has placed the blame for the swift rise of Isis at George W. Bush's feet by suggesting its growth was an unintended consequence of the US invasion of Iraq.

Mr Obama said: "Two things: one is, Isis is a direct outgrowth of al-Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion. Which is an example of unintended consequences. Which is why we should generally aim before we shoot"

Explaining reasons people in those regions may have for joining militant groups such as ISIS, Mr Obama said: “Where a young man who is growing up has no education and no prospects for the future, is looking around, and the one way that he can get validation, power, respect is if he’s a fighter. And this looks like the toughest gang around, so let me affiliate with them.

“And now you’re giving me a religious rationale for doing this.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/president-obama-claims-rise-of-isis-is-unintended-consequence-of-george-w-bush-s-invasion-in-iraq-10115243.html


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a01Rg2g2Z8

Haseeb R. said...

Now India has two reasons to oppose this deal
1. India does not Pakistan to have advanced technologies
2. Those terrorists are Indian RAW agents.

Amir said...

This is the Falcon STAR (STructural Augmentation Roadmap) program that enables the F-16 to achieve 8000 flying hours and is done on MLU aircraft too..

The entire program involves modifying 13 different structural components, including wing fittings, and reworking skin areas. Falcon STAR modifications are applied to existing aircraft and added to all new F-16's to compensate for aircraft stress increased usage rates and heavier gross weights cause. This program reduces inspection and maint. runs on the aircraft.

Rks said...

"Does Pakistan Really Need F-16s to Fight Terror?"

The answer is YES. Pakistan army is "terrified" of India. So they need them to fight their terror. Ask the PAK army of 1971.

Anonymous said...

19640909rk.

Regarding 1971, please ignore the fact that Pakistan is 1/8th the size of India. I mean a candy tastes the same weather stolen from a wrestler or from a kindergarten kid. But only a coward would be proud of stealing from a kid and only an idiot would bring it up. On the other hand you are probably a Brahmin, self respect is not really high on your guys's priority list.

G. Ali

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "But only a coward would be proud of stealing from a kid and only an idiot would bring it up."

The kid now has candy in one hand and an atom bomb in the other hand.

So the coward can no longer dare challenge the kid from the front.

Instead, the coward now has to approach the kid from behind and use proxy way by supporting various militant groups including TTP, BLA and MQM militant wing to stab the kid in the back.

Nigel said...

When it comes to India & Pakistan most economists and pundits agree that have suffered economically due to their rivalry. Pakistan estimated loss is about 2.5% GDP per annum whereas India loses about 0.5%.
I would imagine the damage to the social fabric of Pakistan is also greater

Riaz Haq said...

#US, #India Agree On Small UAVs, High Powered Lasers And Target Detection Technology, Other Joint #Defense Projects

http://www.defenseworld.net/news/15800/US__India_Finalize_Mini_UAVs__Other_Defense_Projects#.Vw5vbW8rj-k.twitter …

India and US have finalized four government-to-government projects that include small UAVs, high powered lasers and target detection technology.

“US Secretary for Defense Ashton Carter and Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parriakr have welcomed finalization of four government-to-government project agreements in the area of science and technology cooperation. Atmospheric sciences for high energy lasers, cognitive tools for Target Detection, Small intelligent UAVs and blast and blunt traumatic brain injury,” the Indo-US joint statement said Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

So Indian diplomacy has yet again run circles around Pakistan.

What did you expect with nawaz taking personal charge of foreign policy?

Now enjoy the fireworks.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry!

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "So Indian diplomacy has yet again run circles around Pakistan.... I don't know whether to laugh or cry!"


US ex Sec of State Henry Kissinger is reported to have said that there's only one thing more dangerous than being a US adversary; it's being a US ally!

The US is playing the India card against China, not against Pakistan.

In response to a question about India's concerns about the sale of US F-16s to Pakistan, Carter made it clear that the US does not want conflict between India and Pakistan. He further said that "India also has relations with other countries like Russia. We respect that."

As to whether you laugh or cry will soon be evident to you as the bill for being a US ally comes due.

The first most likely US demand to India is already on the table: US "invitation" to India to join US Navy Patrols in the hostile waters of South China Sea where China asserts its sovereignty.

Will India agree to becoming the sacrificial lamb for US ambition to check China's rise? Let's wait and see!!

http://www.riazhaq.com/2009/05/godfathers-vito-corleone-metaphor-for.html

Riaz Haq said...

#US #F16 jets are to fight #terrorism in #Pakistan: Ashton Carter assures #India via @firstpost

http://www.firstpost.com/world/us-takes-terror-from-pakistan-seriously-carter-on-indias-concerns-over-f-16-sale-2725994.html

India has expressed concern over the US decision to sell eight F-16s to Pakistan, with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar conveying the government's concerns to Carter, who is presently visiting India.
At a joint press conference with Parrikar, on being asked if the US was trying to be a trusted ally of India while supplying the F-16 fighters to Pakistan, Carter said, "We do try to be trusted partner of India."

He said the US has given some unique technologies to India. "We don't have an agreement like that with other countries."
Asked about the same issue, Parrikar said he did express his concerns to Carter and the US defence secretary assured him the fighter jets would be used to fight terrorism.
Drawing a parallel with India's relations with Russia, Carter said the US values its relations with Pakistan.
"India also has relations with other countries like Russia. We respect that," he said.
"What we do in Pakistan is directed towards counter terrorism. We too have suffered from terrorism emanating from the territory, more specifically Afghanistan," Carter said.
"Pakistan has used F-16 in operations in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas). We have approved it. We take terrorism emanating from Pakistan very seriously," Carter added.
He also said the US did not want any conflict between India and Pakistan.
The US confirmed in mid-February the supply to Pakistan of eight F-16 fighter aircraft worth $699.04 million despite protests from India.

Anonymous said...

India has already said NO to any joint patrolling in the south china sea as India has no interest.

Many countries like taiwan, south korea and japan benefited in education, technology from being an US ally. Pak did not from 1947-91 because their priorities were to get arms.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "India has already said NO to any joint patrolling in the south china sea as India has no interest."

Progress on US-India defense collaboration will depend entirely on India agreeing to help US check China's rise. US expects "compliance", not just an alliance with its "allies".

Besides, India needs US more than US needs India. Indian economy would collapse without western money inflows:

http://www.riazhaq.com/2015/04/can-indian-economy-survive-without.html

Anon: " Many countries like taiwan, south korea and japan benefited in education, technology from being an US ally. Pak did not from 1947-91 because their priorities were to get arms."

South Korea and Japan have security guarantees from the United States. There are still tens of thousands of US troops stationed there to protect them. They don't have to spend much on arms and defense as long as they are under US security umbrella. Pakistan never had such a security guarantee from the US.

Please note that Pakistan's arms purchases pale in comparison to India's as the largest importers of arms in the world and planning to buy even more in spite of being home to the world's largest population of poor, hungry and illiterate most of whim still defecate in the open in this day and age.

Riaz Haq said...

From Popular Mechanics

India has agreed to buy a slew of advanced fighter jets from France. The deal, worth $8.8 billion, will provide India with 36 Rafale multi-role fighters for a staggering average cost of $244 million each.

The Dassault Rafale was conceived in the early 1980s to be one multi-role fighter that could replace six different fighter and attack aircraft. The plane is almost completely French, with fuselage, avionics, engines and weapons all made in that country. Rafales have flown in combat in Afghanistan, Libya, Mail and Iraq. France operates 140 Rafales including the Rafale M, a navy version of the fighter featuring strengthened landing gear and a tail hook for use on aircraft carriers.

Although relatively small compared to planes like the Eurofighter Typhoon and F-22 Raptor, Rafale packs a powerful punch. Twelve wing-mounted hard points can carry a combination of air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, sensors, and drop tanks. Despite the fact that the Rafale is now a 30-year-old design, upgrades such as the RBE2 AA active electronic scanning array (AESA) radar, Damocles targeting pod, Meteor air-to-air missiles, and SCALP cruise missiles have kept the design competitive with other so-called "4+ generation" fighters.

Still, $244 million per aircraft is a lot of money. Why does Rafale cost so much? Exchange rates almost certainly play a role. And in addition to the plane itself, there's also a need for support and maintenance equipment and munitions. Part of the problem with Rafale is that aside from Paveway laser-guided bombs, it uses mostly French weapons that are incompatible with the rest of India's stockpile.

India is only the third international customer for Rafale. While the fighter has been on the market for decades, Rafale's first overseas sale happened just recently when Qatar bought 24 planes and Egypt followed shortly thereafter. Rafale will be a strong candidate to replace Canada's aging F/A-18 Hornet fighters when those need to retire.

https://www.yahoo.com/autos/india-buying-expensive-french-fighter-152735744.html

Riaz Haq said...

#US shoots itself in foot in #Pakistan jet deal. Reignites #Pressler memories of 1990s #F16 #sanctions #Afghanistan http://bit.ly/1Tp7aMA

In 1990, the US blocked sales of new F-16 fighter planes on the grounds that Pakistan was making progress towards producing nuclear weapons. In time, the move became controversial as Pakistan simply turned towards its old friend China and ended up producing a home-built fighter plane, the JF-17 Thunder.

More importantly, in strategic terms, Pakistan became a nuclear power just eight years later when it carried out its first nuclear tests in 1998 in response to a series of nuclear tests by India. Even though the US at the time sought to restrain Pakistan from adopting the nuclear route, Washington’s ability was found to be limited. With US sanctions in place, the US was left with few tools to usefully apply on the ruling structure in Islamabad.

----
Issues such as the case of Dr Afridi clearly fly in the face of reason. The US has itself been faced with situations where individuals caught on its turf spying for foreign governments were promptly prosecuted and sentenced, notably Jonathan Pollard, an American intelligence analyst who was caught spying for Israel.


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On other matters too, notably the case of tackling the Haqqani network, Pakistan at best cannot be held entirely responsible for events on foreign soil. But, if indeed, Pakistan has not taken actions that it could have to tackle this issue, US pressure should have best been applied discreetly and in private.

Meanwhile, Washington’s own history in Afghanistan is worth recalling. Tens of thousands of American troops, backed by the most expensive war in history, failed to curb an insurgency that continues to flourish to this day. Holding Pakistan accountable now for a conflict heading southwards flies not only in the face of reason but also fair play.

Ill-advised action

And finally, if indeed the advancement of Pakistan’s nuclear assets partly provoked the US response, Washington’s action is clearly ill-advised. Pakistan lives in a volatile region with a nuclear-armed neighbour — India.

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Going forward, Afghanistan will indeed remain a trouble spot not just for itself but the surrounding region too. The thought of a fragmented state, where non-governmental militant groups hold sway on portions of its territory, must be disconcerting for any knowledgeable observer. Afghanistan indeed remains the country from where Osama Bin Laden planned the 9/11 attacks.

Today, the threat of Daesh (the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) making advances in Afghanistan presents an acute challenge for the country itself and the surrounding region.

Going forward, in spite of the best efforts by the US, Pakistan and other key foreign players, Afghanistan will likely remain a trouble spot for the foreseeable future. A large-scale protest this month — by ethnic Hazara tribesmen over a planned route for an ambitious new electricity project — provided a glimpse of internal divisions fuelling Afghanistan’s discord in years to come, in addition to the militancy-related challenge.

Such trends make it clear that Pakistan will need to remain a part of any regional security arrangement to stabilise Afghanistan. Within itself, Pakistan’s stability remains of global interest, especially given that the country has emerged as the Islamic world’s only state armed with nuclear weapons.

For the US, as before, it appears that spoiling the relationship with Pakistan is easier than rebuilding it. American officials in the past have clearly been baffled by continued anti-US trends on the streets of Pakistan in spite of periods of generous military and economic assistance.

It would be worthwhile for US decision makers to ask themselves if indeed they can realistically expect the popular mood to swing in their favour on the streets of Pakistan, where many are convinced that America remains an unreliable partner.

Riaz Haq said...

Former envoy (Husain Haqqani) lobbying against #Pakistan in #Washington: Aziz

http://tribune.com.pk/story/1127824/former-envoy-lobbying-pakistan-aziz/

A former Pakistani ambassador in Washington has been lobbying against his own country and creating problems for the government in Islamabad, says foreign policy wizard. Though Sartaj Aziz didn’t name anyone, it was obvious that he was referring to Hussain Haqqani.

“He is trying to circumvent all our diplomatic efforts aimed at boosting bilateral ties between Pakistan and the United States,” Aziz said. “The Foreign Office has serious reservations about his activities in the US.”

Indian PM’s visit to US: International lobby ‘active against Pakistan’

Aziz made the statement in the lower house of parliament after opposition MPs criticized the government over recent foreign policy fiascos. Aziz downplayed the opposition’s criticism, saying Pakistan had the lowest budget for the Foreign Office — Rs15 billion — while Turkey had a Rs82 billion budget and Iran Rs40 billion. “The Foreign Office budget has been increased by 14% over the last three years,” he said.

Foreign policy

According to Aziz, Pakistan was pursuing a ‘balanced policy’ based on non-interference and protection of national interests and nuclear assets and its sovereignty.

“Indian Prime Minister Narandra Modi’s recent trip to Muslim countries should not be construed as a failure of Pakistan’s foreign policy,” he said. Pakistan enjoys historical relations with the Muslim world based on common religion, Aziz said. “Modi’s visit will not affect our ties.”

Aziz also said that Pakistan was ‘making successful efforts’ against India’s attempt to seek a membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. About the new border management plan with Afghanistan, the de facto foreign minister said: “The war against terror cannot be won without effective border management.”

All is not bad

Aziz said criticism for criticism’s sake would not go down well as the CPEC, Central Asia-South Asia-1000 and besides Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline were the projects for regional connectivity. “Pakistan’s political role will enhance after becoming a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.”

About Afghanistan, the foreign policy wizard said Pakistan was pursuing a ‘no-favourite policy’ and making efforts to restore peace in the war-ravaged country through the Quadrilateral Coordination Group.

Meanwhile, NA approved 19 demands for grants of four ministries, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Food Security and Water and Power. The opposition had moved over 700 cut motions but they were rejected in a voice vote.

Riaz Haq said...

THE JF-17 II: INTRODUCING BVR & PRECISION STRIKE (UPDATED)
http://quwa.org/2016/07/11/jf-17-ii-introducing-bvr-precision-strike-updated/

It is a modern platform with the room to carry current as well as future subsystems. Yes, it is not a high-performance platform like the Dassault Rafale, but it is a platform capable of using most (if not potentially all) of the very same munitions and subsystems found on pricier alternatives. The only real bottleneck would be Pakistan’s financial capacities.

The JF-17 is equipped with the KLJ-7 mechanically-steered pulse-Doppler radar (developed by the Nanjing Research Institute of Electronic Technology or NRIET). The KLJ-7 can track targets from 75km (at 3m2 RCS – i.e. radar cross-section, an object’s detectability on radar) to 85km (at 5m2 RCS). The KLJ-7 can track up to 10 targets at beyond visual range, and simultaneously engage two with active-radar air-to-air missiles, such as the SD-10.

The SD-10 is an active radar-guided BVRAAM with an approximate range of at least 70km. It functions in a similar manner to the AIM-120C5 (in use with the PAF’s F-16 Block-52+ and MLUs). The SD-10 is equipped with an active radar-guidance seeker as well as data-link supported inertial guidance system. The latter enables the SD-10 to be deployed mid-way to its prospective target, and in a later stage (i.e. the terminal or final stage) the active radar-guidance seeker can kick in to engage the target. Specific performance parameters are difficult to come by, but some have been willing to compare it to the AIM-120, such as Australian defence analyst Dr. Carlo Kopp.

The PL-5EII is the JF-17’s core within visual range air-to-air missile. Although derived from an older platform, the PL-5EII is rated by its chief vendor the China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC) as “an improved 3rd generation short-range IR air-to-air missile, which features good anti-jamming capability and all-aspect attack capability.” Dr. Carlo Kopp put the PL-5EII in the same general category as the AIM-9M (which is also used by the PAF’s Block-52+ and MLU F-16s).

In looking at the JF-17’s air-to-surface munitions suite, one must recognize that the PAF has yet to disclose exactly how it intends to arm the platform. However, CATIC is marketing the JF-17 with a whole host of precision-strike weapons in the form of the LT-2, LS-3, LS-6, C-802A and CM-400AKG.

The LT-2 is a laser-guided bomb kit designed for standard general purpose bombs (GPB). It is basically used to equip a GPB (such as potentially the Mk.82) with a laser-based guidance kit. Unlike satellite-aided PGBs, laser guided bombs (LGBs) can be used on a standalone basis, i.e. without the support of a satellite-network. The effectiveness of LGBs can suffer however from poor weather conditions, though the WMD-7 targeting pod could compensate for this to an extent.

The LS-3 and LS-6 are satellite-based PGB kits for 250kg and 500kg GPBs, respectively, and are similar to the Boeing Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) kit for Mk-82 and Mk-83 GPBs. Like the JDAM, the LS-3/6 is meant to augment an existing GPB with a guidance-system and glide-system, enabling the bomb to not only be more precise, but exhibit more range. In fact, the more apt comparison for the LS-3/6 would be the JDAM-ER (short for ‘Extended Range’), a stand-off munition.

The C-802A and CM-400AKG are anti-ship missiles (AShM). The C-802A is in line with emulating the Harpoon and Exocet-series of AShM, but the CM-400AKG is marketed as a high-speed missile designed to engage large ships such as aircraft carriers.

Riaz Haq said...

JF-17 BLOCK-2 AND BLOCK-3 DETAILS CONFIRMED
http://quwa.org/2015/10/17/jf-17-block-2-and-block-3-details-confirmed/

JF-17s have been used in combat

AC Mahmood confirmed to DIB that the JF-17 had seen use in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where “it has employed both guided and unguided munitions.” In other words, the JF-17’s precision-strike capabilities have been tested and put to use. I imagine the JF-17s were primarily using laser-guided bombs, likely LT-2, but I would not discount satellite-aided LS-3 and LS-6 munitions either (see this piece for an overview of the JF-17’s munitions inventory). It is likely that the JF-17’s LGBs have been paired with the Chinese WMD-7 targeting pod (Defense News).

Indigenous data-link network in use?

Although an ancillary comment, AC Mahmood stated that “a national solution” was being used to connect the JF-17 to “on and off-board sensors.”

If you are not familiar with the concept, a data-link network basically enables various assets to communicate and exchange information from their sensors in near real-time. For example, an Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft could pick up incoming enemy aircraft and, nearly instantly, pass that exact information (with continuous updates) to friendly fighters. The network environment gives your side a live “picture” of the battlefield situation, enabling every friendly actor on the field to have an accurate and constantly up-to-date understanding of the situation.

The PAF uses the American Link-16 system with its F-16s, though it is not entirely clear if the Erieye AEW&C is equipped with Link-16. That said, it should be noted that Saab listed Link-16 (along with Link-11 and an “in-house data link”) as an option.

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Although the JF-17 Block-3 has been discussed in detail, including on this very website, it helps to know exactly what has been confirmed and what has not.

AC Mahmood has confirmed that an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar is being pursued, with the Chinese vendor Nanjing Research of Electronic Technology (NRIET) among the options being studied. The inclusion of an AESA radar would be a significant jump for the JF-17 (see here as to how and why), but a few important assumptions need to be made about the JF-17 Block-3, especially if the PAF intends to make it a substantive improvement over Block-2.

One of the general challenges with AESA radars is the impact these radars can have on weight and power consumption in the fighter. If the PAF intends to include AESA radars with the intention of maintaining or even improving the radar detection and engagement range of the Block-2, it will need a lighter airframe and more powerful engine.

While AC Mahmood did not confirm that a new engine will be used on JF-17, he did confirm that the PAF was studying its options, and that “the best equipment will find its way into the aircraft.” I think in the end the PAF would choose either the Russian RD-93MA or Chinese WS-13.

In any case, I firmly hope the Block-3 makes much greater use of composite materials and a new engine, these essentials would set up the Thunder to be up to task for most of the aerial threats facing the PAF. A larger and more powerful aircraft might also open up the doors to special warfare variants, such as strike and electronic warfare.

The PAF is also looking at its Helmet Mounted Display/Sight (HMD/S) and Infrared Search and Track (IRST) options. Again, specific details are non-existent, but I did discuss what might be the case in regards to the HMD/S. As for the IRST, this would be an interesting route for the PAF, I will direct you to Tyler Rogoway of Foxtrot Alpha for a clear and succinct explanation of IRST systems (note I have gone on a pretty big tangent here, if you are just interested in knowing what Air Commodore Khalid Mahmood said, then you can skip this section):

Riaz Haq said...


Foreign firms trying to Make in India also eyeing arms sales to Pakistan
By ABHINANDAN MISHRA | NEW DELHI | 3 December, 2016

Sources said that Thales, which is one of the major contributors to India’s demand for arms and related technologies, showcased its equipment related to air defence systems, naval ships and submarines and naval equipment.

Sources also stated that an “in-principle” deal was also approved between the Pakistan government and Thales to provide air defence system to Pakistan, which will be designed keeping the “India threat” in mind. Interestingly, Thales had entered into a joint venture with Navratna defence public sector undertaking Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) to form BEL-THALES Systems Limited, in 2014 to focus on the design, development, marketing, supply and support of civilian and select defence radars for India and the global markets

http://www.sundayguardianlive.com/news/7529-foreign-firms-trying-make-india-also-eyeing-arms-sales-pakistan

Riaz Haq said...

THE OCTOPUS
How a US arms lobby group played both India and Pakistan on the F-16 aircraft

by Ex Sen Larry Pressler

https://qz.com/1092790/how-a-us-lobby-group-played-both-india-and-pakistan-on-the-f-16-aircraft/

The manufacturer of the F-16—the massive defence corporation Lockheed Martin—with $47 billion in annual revenue in 2016, also has a labyrinthine lobbying operation. According to the Center for Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets database, the company has been spending more than $10 million on it annually since 2006. In addition to their in-house lobbyists, they have amassed an army of outside companies to assist them with their lobbying efforts: law firms, public relations agencies, consultants.
By far the largest amount of Lockheed Martin’s lobbying budget is paid out to the Podesta Group, the powerful firm headed by the super-lobbyist, Tony Podesta. Lockheed Martin paid the group $550,000 in the years 2014, 2015, and 2016. Most of the issues the Podesta Group advocated for on behalf of Lockheed Martin were defence and aerospace issues. It is highly likely that they assisted in the overall effort to push through the sale of F-16s to Pakistan!
In February 2016, the state department and the department of defense announced that they were approving a sale of eight more F-16s to Pakistan, clearly a victory for Lockheed Martin. Under the terms of this new deal, however, the sale of these additional F-16s was to be subsidised by the US government. In a move to make these deals even sweeter, the government sometimes uses what is called Foreign Military Funds (FMFs). FMF is a bucket of taxpayer money that is used to subsidise sales of military equipment to foreign countries.

The Indian government immediately and publicly protested both the sale and the subsidy, causing quite a hiccup for the US government. India’s leaders recognised the jets for what they were: a nuclear-capable force projection that could be used against them. The Indian foreign secretary, S Jaishankar, immediately summoned Richard Verma, the US ambassador to New Delhi, to express his displeasure. And then the Pakistani government publicly feigned surprise over the Indians’ complaints.
The Indian embassy in Washington summarily deployed their army of lobbyists to block the deal. So, who has been lobbying on their behalf since 2010? Once again, the Podesta Group.
According to their FARA filings, the Podesta Group was paid $700,000 by the government of India for work they performed in 2016. Conventional wisdom says that a firm that is representing India cannot very well represent Pakistan at the same time. But in the world of the Octopus, the same firm represents competing interests and it is all legal.

The power and pressure of the Indian embassy’s lobbying firm produced results. A week after the state department’s announcement of the planned subsidised F-16 sale to Pakistan, Kentucky Republican senator Rand Paul introduced a joint resolution to halt the sale.

Senator Paul’s resolution was debated on the floor of the senate and a vote was called, but the resolution was scuttled in what is called a “tabling motion.” In a 71 to 24 vote, the Senate voted to “table” the resolution, which effectively killed the effort. Senator Paul received some bipartisan support for this resolution, but not enough.

Riaz Haq said...

Turkey's Aselsan to supply targeting pods for Pakistan's JF-17 fighters, says report
http://www.janes.com/article/70935/turkey-s-aselsan-to-supply-targeting-pods-for-pakistan-s-jf-17-fighters-says-report

Turkish defence company Aselsan has secured a USD24.9 million contract from an overseas customer for the integration of its Aselpod electro-optical targeting pods into aerial platforms, according to a statement published by the Turkish Public Disclosure Platform (KAP) on 26 May.

Aselsan has secured a USD24.9 million contract to supply its Aselpod targeting pods for Pakistan's JF-17 fighters, according to Turkish media. (Aselsan)

The announcement was followed two days later by a report by Turkish newspaper Daily Sabahidentifying Pakistan as the customer, and pointing out that this is the second order for the system placed by the South Asian country.

"Aselsan realised the first Aselpod exports last June to Pakistan, which has re-ordered a year later. The said system will be used on the JF-17 aircraft that Pakistan has jointly developed with China," the paper said in an article that was republished by Turkey's Directorate General of Press Information.

In its 2015-2016 yearbook Pakistan's Ministry of Defence Production had listed a USD24.9 million purchase of eight Aselpod targeting pods for the country's JF-17 Thunder multirole combat aircraft.

According to Jane's World Air Forces , the Pakistan Air Force currently operates an estimated 86 JF-17s.

The latest deal between Pakistan and Turkey is yet another indication of the growing defence industrial ties between the two countries. Earlier this month Turkey signed a contract with the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra for the procurement of 52 MFI-17 Super Mushshak primary trainers.

At the same time Pakistan's Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works Limited (KSEW) signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Turkish defence engineering firm Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik ve Ticaret (STM) for the local construction of four Ada (MILGEM)-class corvettes for the Pakistan Navy.

Both deals were signed on 10 May at the 2017 IDEF defence exhibition in Istanbul in a ceremony presided over by Turkish defence minister Fikri Isik and Pakistan's minister for defence production, Tanvir Hussain.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan successfully test-fires bvr (beyond visual range) infrared #missile from #JF17 Thunder jet fighter. #PAF #infrared

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1624982/1-pakistan-successfully-test-fires-beyond-visual-range-missile-jf-17-thunder/

It was a landmark occasion for Pakistan Air Force (PAF) as well as the whole nation, when the indigenously produced JF-17 Thunder shot down a slow speed target with BVR (Beyond Visual Range) and IR (Infrared) missile with a pin-point accuracy at Sonmiani firing range on Friday.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman witnessed the live demonstration, displaying PAF’s capability to successfully locate and destroy high/ slow speed moving targets by employing high-tech inventory of aircraft and missiles, said a PAF press release.

Addressing the ceremony, the air chief said, “We are thankful to Allah Almighty who has given us the strength to achieve this extraordinary milestone. The successful testing of these sophisticated weapons is a testimony of JF-17 Thunder’s multirole capabilities.”

He said it was a matter of immense pride that six PAF fighter squadrons had already been equipped with the pride of the nation JF-17 Thunder aircraft, making it the backbone of our aerial defence.

The air chief also lauded the hard work put in by PAF and Chinese personnel in making the event a success.

“The day marked a monumental episode in the glorious history of PAF as a state-of-the-art Weapon Test Range has been made operational to track the complete trajectory of the aircraft and launched missiles,” read the press release.

The facility, developed in collaboration with Chinese authorities, is equipped with real time tracking and measuring equipment to qualify the indigenously developed and procured weapon systems.

Earlier, Air Vice Marshal Haseeb Paracha, Air Officer Commanding, Southern Air Command received the chief guest on his arrival at the venue. High ranking PAF officers along with civil and military officials also witnessed this historic event.


Riaz Haq said...

#India’s #French #Rafale to be ‘outgunned’ by #Pakistan's #JF17 fighter aircraft with longer-ranged #Chinese PL-15 missiles. “The IAF allowed itself to be outgunned by focusing on platform acquisitions, rather than weapon system and sensor upgrades" #Modi http://shr.gs/kID6TzP

INDIA's Air Force chief Rakesh Kumar Bhadauria has issued a strong warning to the political leaders of India, as $7.8billion Rafale jet is insufficient to meet the country's defence requirements. India previously signed a $7.8billion contract with French Dassault Aviation to buy the aircraft in 2019.


However, Indian Air Force (IAF) veteran, Vijainder Thakur, believes it is the best aircraft in the forces’ inventory now. He said: “The IAF allowed itself to be outgunned by focusing on platform acquisitions, rather than weapon system and sensor upgrades. The technical advantage gained by the IAF through the acquisition of the Rafale would be transient because it would be based largely on the weapon systems and sensors of the Rafale.


“With sufficient military foresight, the IAF could have armed its Su-30MKI with longer range air-to-air missiles acquired from Russia rather than continuing to rely on the lesser ranged missile ordered years ago from Ukraine.

“The IAF fulfilled the expectations only after it made an emergency purchase of Laser-Guided Bombs and targeting pods.”

However, a determined nemesis like the Pakistan Air Force, could deploy longer-ranged Chinese PL-15 missiles on an updated version of the JF-17 jet.

The Pakistan Air Force’s single engine multirole fighter, the JF-17 manufactured by the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation, is due for a major upgrade.

The Chinese newspaper, Global Times, reported earlier this year that the upgraded JF-17 fighter jet will have “an infrared search and track system and a radar cross section reducing ‘pseudo-stealthy’ airframe”.

The Indian Air Force’s focus on platforms rather than sensors and weapon systems was evident during the Kargil conflict with Pakistan two decades ago.

The JF-17 fighter jet has also been equipped with an PL-15 Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missile that has posed serious concern among the US air force.

The former head of the US Air Force, Herbert Carlisle, believes that the missiles’ long range is an ‘exceedingly high priority’.

He said: “The PL-15 and the range of that missile, we’ve got to be able to out-stick that missile.”

Last year, a day after the IAF struck an alleged terror training camp at Balakot, the Pakistani Air Force surprised the IAF with its longest range AMRAAM.

The Indian Air Force ordered a large amount of Russian air-to-air missiles, such as R-27 and R-73’s very shortly after.

Emphasising the importance of air-to-air missiles, the Indian Air Force Chief, Bhadauria, attended a seminar on it in New Delhi on Friday.


He said that when the missile goes on to the SU-30 And MiG-29, that the power of parity and better performance will spread across the air force.

The Indian Air Force will start taking delivery of the Rafale jets in May 2020.

Mr Thakur’s comments come one year after Pakistan’s military accused India’s aircraft of crossing into its territory and carrying out an airstrike.

Pakistani villagers were in the area where Indian jets struck and said they heard four loud bangs at approximately 3am on February 26th 2019, according to Reuters.

A senior government source said 300 militants had been killed in the strikes, but no further details were provided.

However in a conflicting report, Pakistan’s military has said there were no casualties from the air attack.

Riaz Haq said...

#US approves sale of Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATP) System, NDI LANTIRN Fixed Image Navigation Set upgrades, and the NDI IRST system to upgrade #Pakistan F-16s fighter jets. #PAF https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Contracts/Contract/Article/2190758/

Lockheed Martin has received a FMS for Pakistani F16s of Sniper, Infrared Search and Track (IRST); and Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) navigation pod (fixed wing) hardware production.
The total contract is worth $485 million which includes multiple US allies. Work will be performed in Orlando, Florida, and various locations to be identified at the order level. The work is expected to be completed by May 2025.

Lockheed Martin Corp., Orlando, Florida, has been awarded a ceiling $485,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Department of Defense and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Sniper, Infrared Search and Track (IRST); and Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) navigation pod (fixed wing) hardware production. This contract provides the necessary resources required for the management, fabrication, upgrade/retrofit, integration support and testing and shipping of its non-developmental item (NDI) Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATP) System, NDI LANTIRN Fixed Image Navigation Set upgrades, and the NDI IRST system as it relates to the requirements document associated with each specific delivery order placed under this contract. Work will be performed in Orlando, Florida, and various locations to be identified at the order level. The work is expected to be completed by May 2025. This contract involves FMS to (this list is not all inclusive): Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. FMS funds in the amount of $34,900,000 are being obligated at the time of award under delivery order FA8540-20-F-0034 for the country of Morocco. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is the contracting activity (FA8540‐20‐D‐0001).

Riaz Haq said...

#RafalePapers: The 'bogus invoices' used to help #French firm clinch sale of jets to #India. Mediapart to publish false invoices for Dassault to pay at least 7.5 million euros in secret commissions to a middleman for sale of 36 Rafale jets to #NewDelhi https://www.mediapart.fr/en/journal/france/071121/rafale-papers-bogus-invoices-used-help-french-firm-clinch-sale-jets-india?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=Sharing&xtor=CS3-67

It involves offshore companies, dubious contracts and “false” invoices. Mediapart can reveal that detectives from India's federal police force, the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI), and colleagues from the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which fights money laundering, have had proof since October 2018 that French aviation firm Dassault paid at least 7.5 million euros (equivalent to just under 650 million rupees) in secret commissions to middleman Sushen Gupta. This was in the context of the French firm's long and ultimately successful attempt to secure a 7.8 billion-euro-deal in 2016 to sell 36 of its Rafale fighters to India.

Riaz Haq said...

#US State Dept OKs Possible Sale of #F16 Fighter Jet Equipment Worth $450 Million to #Pakistan. The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin Corp, the Pentagon said. #PAF https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-09-07/u-s-state-dept-oks-possible-sale-of-f-16-equipment-to-pakistan-pentagon?src=usn_tw

Riaz Haq said...

US approves $450 million F-16 fleet sustainment programme to Pakistan
World News
Published on Sep 08, 2022 01:43 PM IST
A Congressional notification stated that 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.


https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/us-approves-450-million-f-16-fleet-sustainment-programme-to-pakistan-101662610278368.html

As a notification to the US Congress, the State Department has made a determination approving a possible foreign military sale of F-16 case for sustainment and related equipment for an estimated cost of USD 450 million, arguing that this will sustain Islamabad's capability to meet current and future counterterrorism threats by maintaining its F-16 fleet.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on Wednesday.

First major security assistance to Pakistan after Trump ceased it in 2018
This is the first major security assistance to Pakistan after Trump in 2018 had announced to stop all defense and security assistance to Pakistan alleging that Islamabad was not a partner in its fight against terrorism.

Riaz Haq said...

In a notification to the US Congress, the US State Department has said it has approved a possible foreign military sale of F-16 for sustainment and related equipment for an estimated cost of $ 450 million.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/world/us-argues-f-16-support-package-to-pakistan-not-to-alter-military-balance-india-mum-429805

“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.

Riaz Haq said...

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Pakistan of F-16 Case for Sustainment and related equipment for an estimated cost of $450 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.

https://www.dsca.mil/press-media/major-arms-sales/pakistan-f-16-case-sustainment

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, pm-cpa@state.gov.

Riaz Haq said...

IAF's Balakot Disaster Two Years On

By Kaiser Tufail, ex PAF fighter pilot

http://kaiser-aeronaut.blogspot.com/


Induction of the Rafale in IAF has created considerable media interest, and the impression has been created that with immediate effect, IAF will rule the Indian skies. It must, however, be remembered that it will be at least two years before the Rafale achieves anything close to Full Operational Capability[2]. PAF, on the other hand, has been flying F-16s for 37 years, including hot scenarios during the Afghan War, in local counter-insurgency operations, and the latest Operation ‘Swift Retort,’ downing half a dozen enemy fighters in these operations. The JF-17 has been fully operational for over a decade, and is expected to replace the legacy fighters over the next five years. These combat-proven PAF fighters are fully integrated with the air defence system (e.g. AWACS), and are mutually data-linked, alongside all AEW and ground sensors. Such capabilities are not achieved overnight, and it will be several years before the Rafales can be considered a threat in any real sense. Any immediate impact of the Rafale on IAF’s air power capabilities is, thus, simply overhyped. This inference, however, must not be dealt with lightly, as there is a distinct possibility of the Indian Prime Minister using the Rafale for a false-flag operation in a surreptitious manner, to prove his point that, “with the Rafale, the results would have been different,” from those of 27 February 2019.

Riaz Haq said...

EurAsian Times reached out to experts to understand if the F-16’s maintenance and American support for this Pakistani aircraft could change the status quo.

https://eurasiantimes.com/upgraded-f-16-fighters-for-pakistan-is-indian-air-force-worried/

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 (Air Commodore) Kizer Tufar (Kaiser Tufail), a Pakistani veteran (fighter pilot), 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.”


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.

J-10C
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.

Riaz Haq said...

Sidhant Sibal
@sidhant
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

https://twitter.com/sidhant/status/1572991990454591488?s=20&t=z8IxFm3TqHNVXaW9wHT6wg


-----------

US has limited security partnership with Pakistan, says Pentagon official
Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION

https://www.wionews.com/world/us-has-limited-security-partnership-with-pakistan-says-pentagon-official-518852

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).

Riaz Haq said...

Was China a factor in US$450 million US-Pakistan F-16 deal, or is it all about airspace access?

by Tom Hussain

https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3193522/was-china-factor-us450-million-us-pakistan-f-16-deal-or-it-all

A deal struck to maintain and upgrade Pakistan’s warplanes has prompted speculation the US military may have secured airspace access in return
Both sides share a common enemy in Afghanistan-based terror groups. But some analysts see China as part of the reason for the F-16 deal as well


For the first time since the United States cancelled military aid to Pakistan in 2018, Washington this month approved a US$450 million package to maintain and upgrade the South Asian nation’s fleet of F-16 fighter jets, hinting at a thaw in bilateral ties that had turned decidedly frosty of late.
The deal announced on September 9 followed a flurry of diplomatic activity, prompting speculation that in return for agreeing to keep Pakistan’s warplanes airborne for the next five years, the US military covertly secured access to the country’s airspace to carry out counterterrorism operations.
Though Islamabad has repeatedly denied any such conspiracy, the assassination in late July of al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul is widely believed to have been carried out by a US drone that traversed Pakistani airspace en route to its target.

Was China a factor in US$450 million US-Pakistan F-16 deal, or is it all about airspace access?
A deal struck to maintain and upgrade Pakistan’s warplanes has prompted speculation the US military may have secured airspace access in return
Both sides share a common enemy in Afghanistan-based terror groups. But some analysts see China as part of the reason for the F-16 deal as well
Pakistan

Riaz Haq said...

In the first decade after 9/11, the United States agreed to sell Pakistan 18 advanced Block 52 F-16s for approximately $1.4 billion, as well as targeting pods and electronic warfare pods. It also sold mid-life upgrade kits for 53 of Pakistan’s older model F-16s, which made them essentially as capable as the Block 52 version of the aircraft. Turkey, which also flies the F-16, did the upgrades of Pakistan’s fighter aircraft.

https://warontherocks.com/2020/08/how-americas-experience-with-pakistan-can-help-it-deal-with-turkey/

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.

Riaz Haq said...

"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


https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/s-jaishankar-f-16-not-fooling-anybody-s-jaishankar-on-us-fighter-plane-deal-with-pak-3377931

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.