Pak to buy Chinese J-10 fighters worth over USD 1.4bn
Islamabad: In a major move to boost its
air warfare capability, Pakistan is to purchase 36 J-10
fighter aircraft from China in a deal worth more than USD 1.4
billion, with options open for induction of more similar
China will supply the 36 J-10 fighter jets, enough to
equip two squadrons, under a preliminary agreement that could
lead to "more sales", a Pakistani official has said.
Pakistan might buy "larger numbers" of the multi-role
aircraft in the future but has not signed any deal to purchase
as many as 150 jets, the official told the Financial Times.
The J-10 or Jian 10 is China's most advanced combat
aircraft and is the third generation fighter comparable to
American F-16 Fighting Falcons.
Islamabad and Beijing are also collaborating to build
an advanced fighter -- JF-17 or "Thunder" and the first of
these aircraft are expected to roll out by the end of this
month, Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman
China is one of the main arms suppliers of Pakistan
and has sold combat jets to it for over three decades. But
Beijing has seldom supplied Pakistan with advanced fighter
aircraft like the J-10.
Pakistan bought Mirage jets from France in the 1970s
and F-16s from the US in the 1980s.