Pakistan Air Force’s chief of air staff, Air Chief Marshall Rao Qamar Suleman has confirmed that PAF is discussing with the United States about the possibility to get additional F-16 fighter jets. However he hasn’t indicated about the number of additional F-16s which PAF is looking for.

Pakistan Air Force already has 45 older F-16 A/B fighter jets which are undergoing midlife upgrades at the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). This upgrade will bring them very close in performance to the newly acquired 18 F-16 C/D block 52+. This upgrade will be completed by 2014.

Three F-16 A/B are already in Turkey for upgrades and another four F-16s are in USA for technical inspections so that midlife upgrade kits can be developed. These midlife upgrade kits will be sent to TAI which will install them on Pakistani F-16 A/B fighter jets.

2nd squadron of JF-17 Thunder fighter jets will join the Pakistan Air Force by the end of this month. These newly manufactured operation JF-17 Thunder fighter jets will replace the olde A-5 attack aircraft which were purchased from China.

In the second phase JF-17 Thunder fighter jets will start replacing the Mirage-III/V aircrafts from the service which were acquired in late 1960s. PAF chief said that replacing these old Mirages is his top priority as these aircrafts are very difficult and expensive to maintain.

Pakistan Air Force’s chief Rao Qamar Suleman said the Pakistani F-16s are equipped with the American Link 16 and PAF is trying to develop its own datalink solution which will allow the JF-17 Thunder to send data to the PAF’s Ground Stations and then these Ground Stations will relay that information to the F-16s. He made it clear that JF-17 Thunder will not be able to send information directly to the US produced F-16s.

Pakistan will receive 4th Saab-2000 Erieye Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft from Saab by midyear. Three Saab-2000 Erieye AEW&C along with a training aircrafts are already in Pakistan and took part in High Mark-2010 exercise last year.

Beside four Saab-2000 Erieye AEW&C, PAF is all set to receive first of the Chinese ZDK-03 AEW&C co-developed specifically for the Pakistan air force. First Chinese ZDK-03 AEW&C was rolled out last year.

Pakistan aeronautical complex will start the production of the Italian Selex Galileo Falco UAVs both for the Pakistan air force and export.

Pakistan Air Force’s chief Rao Qamar Suleman has rejected the reports that Pakistan is looking to arm the Falco UAVs with weapons. He said that Pakistani produced Falco UAVs will not be equipped to carry armaments and will only be used for reconnaissance and surveillance.

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