April 12, 2016

JF-17 Thunder handed over to the Pakistan No. 2 (“Minhas”) fighter squadron

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif formally handed over the JF-17 Thunder to the No. 2 (“Minhas”) fighter squadron at Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Base Masroor. The squadron’s previous fighter was the Chengdu F-7P, which is a Chinese-built variant of the Russian MiG-21.

Including Combat Commanders School, the PAF now has four operational JF-17 squadrons (using a total of 66 aircraft). The induction of the JF-17 Thunder is a significant qualitative boost for Masroor Air Base and Southern Air Command.

First, the JF-17 is a markedly superior air defence fighter compared to the F-7P, particularly through its inclusion of the SD-10, an active radar-guided BVRAAM. This makes the JF-17 capable of engaging targets from a greater distance. Its close quarters element is fulfilled with the PL-5EII, a third-generation all-aspect WVRAAM.

Second, Masroor now benefits from a second anti-ship capable fighter platform. Until now, the task had been taken up by a sole Mirage 5PA squadron (No. 8) armed with French Exocet anti-ship missiles (AShM). No. 2’s JF-17s are capable of carrying Chinese C-802 AShM.

Third, the incorporation of the Link-17 tactical data-link as well as introduction of the Karakoram Eagle (KE) airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft gives Southern Air Command a good networked package.

The JF-17 can utilize the KE AEW&C’s extended range air surveillance capabilities to enhance its situational awareness of the air, affording it additional time and space to react to new threats. The Mirage ROSE-I unit at Masroor is also benefitting from Link-17.

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Base Masroor
not very far away from the Gangsters of Lyari, Karachi.

Pakistan Defence website taken out with a sophisticated cyber attack.

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