This article will be udated periodically. UPdated April 25th, 2008
We will closely watch this breaking news, and monitor it very closely.
Per Janes Defense Weekly, the news item about the Pakistani refusal to purchase additional planes has been denied. What is amazing is that the original story was not refuted directly by Pakistan. Why did the Pakistani news media reported the reduction of the number of F-16s that it had planned to order? Pakistan had ordered 36 (18+1 8) F-16s from General Dynamics, USA. After the first 18, Pakistan had the option to buy an additional 18. According the news items planted in the press Pakistan had chosen not to exercise that option. According to press reports, the official “company line” is that the number of planes have been reduced because of financial constraints.
However the timing of the story about the cancellation is curious. Both China and Pakistan have set goals to increase mutual trade to the $15 Bilion mark. In China President Musharraf announced that the goal will be met that the number will be over $16.5 Billion. No business deal had been announced. The F-16 cancellation comes right on the heels of President Musharraf’s visit to China where ostensibly Pakistan has been offered some advanced Chinese hardware. The head of the Chinese Air Force and the Defense Minster of China are in Pakistan right now and the Foreign Minister is arriving in a weeks time. According to new reports Pakistan has been offered the Chinese 4th generation J-11 (comparable F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon and the U.S. Navy F-18 Hornet.) with eventual transfer of the plane’s production to Pakistan. The J-11 is the latest and most versatile aircraft in the PLAAF.
Russia infuriated with Chinese export copis of Su-27 jet fighters: Russia’s attempts to settle down on China’s arms market have been made to no avail, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports. Chinese pirates have entered a new level of activity. They mastered the production technology and developed the Chinese production of Su-27 analogues with a view to subsequently export Russia infuriated with Chinese export copies of Su-27 jet fighters - Pravda.Ru
Russia has threatened to sue China for copying its Sukhoi Su-27SK fighters and its pirate production for export to Pakistan and other Third World countries at much cheaper prices, according to a media report. Russia may sue China over pirated fighter Press Trust of India / Moscow April 22, 2008
Russia has officially notified China that the production of J11 (fighters), a copy of Russian Su-27SK, is the violation of inter-governmental agreements. Moscow has vowed to launch legal procedures for the protection of its intellectual property,” leading daily ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ reported today. Press Trust of India / Moscow April 22, 2008
The American F-16s offered to Pakistan come with no transfer of technology and is a black-box sale where Pakistan has no control over what it can do with the planes. It is to be noted that the deal offered to India by General Dynamics comes with local production of the plane and transfer of technology.
The J-11s are a great trade for the F-16s (block 50).
PAF 2008: Today the PAF is a manufacturer, assembler, purchaser and exporter of planes and services. The Pakistan Airforce of 2008 is totally different enterprise than the Pakistan Airforce of 1980 when it purchased the F-16s as a matter of pride. That pride turned to dust when the US imposed dilibitating sanctions on Pakistan. Pakistan which had paid $450 million cash for the planes, never got the planes, nor did she ever get the money back General Dynamics unable to deliver the planes, parked them in a desert and eventually the USAF picked them up.
TOO MANY STRINGS: The F-16s, with their intrusive inspection regime and cumbersome restrictions on where they can be kept are considered more a liability than an asset for the PAF. The contract of the F-a6 says that the planes have to parked separate from the other planes of the PAF, and the planes in theory at least have been tinkered with so that they cannot carry Nuclear weapons. The PAF is also scared of secret US “kill buttons” on the planes which would render them useless in combat.
Gone are the days when every taxi, truck, bus and van in Pakistan used to have an F-16 sticker on it and Pakistanis boys grew up playing with models of the plane. Today one see the JF-Thunder on the buses, vans and trucks along with a slogan “Pak-Cheen dosti Zindabad” (Long live Pakistan-China friendship).
The pride in the Pakistan Airforce today is not the F-16 but the JF-17 Thunder–a plane with ever increasing amount of indigenously produced content. It is unimaginable that the new government would irritate the PAF and the army by reducing the order for the F-16s. Recent Indian news reports state that Russia is going to sue China for exporting the F-11s to Pakistan and other countries. What is curious about this story is that PAF had yet to publicly acknowledge the purchase of F-11s from China! The new F-11 are based on the one seater Su 27s, but also the newer one is based upon the two seater Su-30. China purchased the Su 27s, but later canceled the order after its version of the Su-27 was successful.
The reduction of the F-16 order should be seen in the context of the earlier reduction in the F-16 order. At that time the excuse that was given was the earthquake. However a few weeks later the PAF announced the purchase of F-10s from China. Now the same pattern is being repeated. The advantage of purchasing the planes from China is that China transfers the technology so that Pakistan can eventually build them in Pakistan. The local production of the plane unleashes the traditional Pakistani entrepreneurial creativity which helped it build an atomic bomb and indigenous missiles. Chinese planes do not come with crippling restrictions on usage and political strings. For example after Pakistan used her F-104s against India in the 1965 war, this act of self defense was deemed a violation of the contract. Even though Pakistan was the founding member of SEATO and CENTO, and had two executive defense agreements with the USA, an arms embargo was imposed on Pakistan. Heavily dependent on the USA for arms, the Pakistani government had to fight the 1971 war under a US arms embargo.
With this history, it is no wonder that the PAF now prides itself on its own capabilities and does not want to be dependent on US arms and planes. The PAF now has the infrastructure to make the plane, and can purchase enough technology in the open market to make a plane very competitive with the usually superior American technology. The PAF seems to be following a triage strategy
The Chinese have been very successful with this strategy. The Pakistani armed forces have also been successful with this strategy learned by purchasing, and then improving missiles, UAVs and tanks etc.
Pakistan buys fewer F-16s? Indigenous Flanker from China! - Fighter aircraft - Zimbio