Threatened by Rafale aircraft, panicky Pakistan rushes to China to buy fighter jets and missiles

Pakistan is panicking over Rafale jets and has rushed to China begging for help.

Threatened by Rafale aircraft, panicky Pakistan rushes to China to buy fighter jets and missiles

In a major boost to the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) firepower, three more French Rafale multi-combat fighter jets are expected to arrive in India very soon. Five Rafale jets flew to the Ambala airbase via Abu Dhabi on July 29 and have already been inducted into the IAF’s Squadron 17. However, this has led to panic and tension in Pakistan and it has rushed to China begging for help.

READ | Second batch of three Rafale fighter jets arrive in India after flying non-stop from France, says IAF

Amid fear over India procuring Rafale jets, Pakistan is trying to buy more than 30 J-10 (CE) fighter jets and its missiles under emergency purchase from China. According to sources, in October, a team from Pakistan visited China and finalized the discussion of buying 50 J-10 (CE) fighter jets. Now, Pakistan is trying to procure 30 jets and missiles, out of the total 50, under emergency purchase.

Discussion of buying Chinese J-10 started in 2009: Pakistan started discussing the purchase of Chinese J-10 in 2009, but after the talk of joint production of JF17 jet started, it was put on hold. After the Rafale jet came to the Indian Air Force, Pakistan started that discussion again. According to sources, a 13-member team of Pakistani officials went to China on October 22 to finalize the deal.

Feature of J10 (CE) jets: The J10 (CE) is the export version of the J-10C of the Chinese Air Force and is believed to be of 4.5 generation. The J10 was inducted into the Chinese Air Force in 2006. It also has PL10 and air-to-air PL15 missiles up to 250 km apart from improved radar (AESA). This single-engine fighter jet can carry up to 6000 kg of arms at a time. It can fit 11 missiles or bombs.

Pakistan worried about Rafale's missiles: Pakistan's concerns are the air-to-air METEOR missiles in Rafale and the MICA missiles on the ground. There is no fighter jet of Pakistani Air Force equipped with these missiles. The Pakistani Air Force has the largest number of Chengdu J7, Mirage 3 and Mirage 5 which are five decades old and can be considered equivalent to MiG-21.

Even adding modern 110 JF17 and 75 F16, the number of good fighters is very less in front of the number of MiG-29, Mirage 2000 and Sukhoi 30 of the Indian Air Force. With the arrival of Rafal, this balance is completely tilted in favour of the Indian Air Force. The Pakistani Air Force is also concerned about the world's best S-400 air defence system, which is likely to be supplied to the Indian Air Force by 2021.

The five Rafale jets were inducted at the IAF’s Ambala airbase on September 10 in the presence of Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his French counterpart Florence Parly. Under the 2016 agreement, India will get 36 Rafale jet from France as part of a Rs 59000 crore deal. 

The next batch of three Rafales will arrive in Ambala airbase on November 4 directly from the Bordeaux-Merignac facility, according to sources. The three Rafales will reach Ambala by flying non-stop from France. They will also be accompanied by French Air Force fighter and mid-air refueller. With their arrival, the total number of Rafale aircraft in the Indian Air Force will reach eight.

The Rafale jets will fly directly from Istres in France to Jamnagar and they will be accompanied by French Air Force mid-air refuelling aircraft. A team of experts led by Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Projects) is coordinating the logistical issues for receiving the three combat jets, according to news agency IANS. The air force pilots are being trained in batches in France at Saint-Dizier air base.

Seven Rafale fighters are already being used for IAF fighter pilot training in France.

Earlier after the induction of the Rafale aircraft, Rajnath Singh had said that the Rafale deal is a game changer. "I am confident our air force has acquired a technological edge with Rafale," the minister had pointed out. The Rafale is a 4.5 generation aircraft and has the latest weapons, superior sensors and fully integrated architecture. It is an omni-role aircraft which means it can carry out at least four missions in one sortie.

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