PAF inducts Chinese-built warplane

Published: February 27, 2015
Aircraft is capable of detecting hostile aerial, sea surface targets far before ground-based radars. PHOTO COURTESY: ASIAN DEFENCE

Aircraft is capable of detecting hostile aerial, sea surface targets far before ground-based radars. PHOTO COURTESY: ASIAN DEFENCE

KARACHI: In a bid to improve the country’s defence capabilities, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) inducted on Thursday a Chinese-built ‘Karakoram Eagle’ Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), The Economic Times reported.

The new aircraft, introduced at a ceremony held at an operational PAF base in Karachi, is capable of detecting hostile aerial and sea surface targets far before ground-based radars regardless of their height. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was the chief guest at the ceremony.

The aerial warfare branch of the Pakistan Armed Forces announced that the new aircraft will be a part of the No4 Squadron.

PAF proudly said that the country’s air defence is now able to look deeper in enemy territory, be it land or sea.

The aircraft maintains link with ground command and control centres to provide comprehensive monitoring of enemy units. In addition to early detection, the AWACS can direct forces to intercept or neutralise the emerging threat, well before it they can position themselves to strike at targets.

“AWACS ability of detecting sea targets would also enhance the capabilities of Pakistan Navy,” PAF further said.

The premier said that PAF has always proved equal to the task even in the most challenging times and has measured up to the expectations of the nation.

He added the fast emerging threat posed by the forces of extremism and militancy is a menace that must be eliminated before it brings any more damage to our progression, social fiber, international image and national security.

“I am happy that PAF has contributed tremendously in the operations against the miscreants and has always remained steadfast in safeguarding national security against any threat be it external or internal,” he said. “The whole nation takes great pride in the significant successes achieved by PAF in the precise targeting of terrorists’ hideouts.”

PM Nawaz said Pakistan is a peace-loving country, and pursues peaceful relations with international community, specially with neighbours.

“However, we stand determined to safeguard our national interests and uphold our sovereignty against any aggressor,” he said.

Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt termed the induction a significant moment for the PAF.

“Re-equipping the squadron with this state-of-the-art aircraft will enable PAF to effectively counter all threats against Pakistan’s aerial frontiers and add a new dimension to the national security,” he said.

“Induction of Karakoram Eagle AWACS would revolutionise PAF’s operational concepts. With its induction, PAF is transforming into a modern versatile and capability based force.”

On December 2, 2014, the head of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) said that 50 home-assembled multi-role JF-17 Thunder fight jets were introduced into the airforce.

Read: 50 Pakistan- assembled JF-17 fighter jets inducted into PAF: PAC chief

Air Marshal Javed Ahmed, chief of the state-owned PAC,  said PAF had already received 50 of the home-made aircraft and that the supply of the second block is expected to soon. The JF-17 was first introduced to the PAF in 2007.

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Reader Comments (27)

  • Alfa Romeo
    Feb 27, 2015 - 1:57PM

    Pakistan must have sought the Russian Beriev A-50 instead of the Chinese junk. I can understand price is important, but then reliability and service life matter more. The Chinese Airforce itself rejected the JF-17’s and this junk is specifically made only for Pakistan. Indian AWACS is a combination of Israeli/American & Russian state of technologies. Recommend

  • kha
    Feb 27, 2015 - 2:18PM

    pakistan should worry about religious extremism. poverty and illiteracy than to worry about making warfaresRecommend

  • Burki
    Feb 27, 2015 - 3:15PM

    Just wait for Indians to turn out here in droves, letting out their heartburns against Pak-China defence cooperation.Recommend

  • Raisani
    Feb 27, 2015 - 3:25PM

    Long live Pak-China friendship. It’s really higher than the Himalayas.Recommend

  • Extra
    Feb 27, 2015 - 3:28PM

    Home Assembled Aircrafts are NOT EQUAL to Home made Aircrafts. One doesn’t need to pioneer how to assemble the aircraft delivered from China coming with Instruction Manual.Recommend

  • samir
    Feb 27, 2015 - 3:29PM

    It seems to be just one of the pieces of the overall strategy. Honestly, with the short, medium and long missile capability, Pakistan is already well defended. Recommend

  • analyst
    Feb 27, 2015 - 3:38PM

    @ Alfa Romeo, price is not much a matter here, but russians are not able to provide everything because of the ‘india factor’. Recommend

  • Wajahat
    Feb 27, 2015 - 3:58PM

    It’s a good thing that Pakistan is gradually upgrading and bolstering its defence.Recommend

  • IA
    Feb 27, 2015 - 4:10PM

    To Express Tribune,

    “The aerial warfare branch of the Pakistan Armed Forces announced the new jet to be a part of premier No 4 Squadron”

    I am pretty sure 1 word “airforce” is clearer that 8 “aerial warfare branch of the Pakistan Armed Forces”
    Reporting accuracy > it’s not a “jet” is it…it has propellors!!

    Standards please Express TribuneRecommend

  • Ibrar
    Feb 27, 2015 - 4:45PM


    Ha ha ha: Absolutely right!
    It is amazing how much our neighbours have become obsessed about any thing that Pakistan does. Do we care? No, we are happy they are spending so much time on these pages even though some of them quite negative. Let them burn themselves…we are not going to loosen our grip on thei neck. Pakistan may be several time less resourced it is keeping India on her toes.Recommend

  • Basel
    Feb 27, 2015 - 5:12PM

    @Alfa Romeo Do you know that in Radar Tech China have advanced ahead of Russia and they have fielded more AESA radars then Russians, China have even upgraded Russian SAM Systems with advance electronics and guidance systems making them more potent, the only area China is lagging behind is jet engine & Nuclear Submarines, where they are still behind but working hard to close that gap.

    A-50 don’t use any radar & related Russian system in it because only thing Russian in Indian AWACS is its air craft (IL-76/78) other then that the AWACS system is Israeli Phalcon one of the best in the world with US subsystems.

    ZDK (AWACS) have 03 AESA in its rotating dome making it very potent system although its not as advance as Israeli Phalcon or Pakistani Erieye, but it is still pretty good for PAF as it can detect ships at 450 km and air threats at 300+ km.Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Feb 27, 2015 - 5:15PM

    This platform is basically a Chinese reverse engineered Soviet Antonov AN-12 NATO reporting name CUB. The Chinese version is called Shaanxi Y-8. The reliability issue attached with such old and technologically inferior platforms eats away into the tactical advantage.

    What PAF needs is 5-6 fast business jets like Embraer and Gulfstream which are incorporated with Erieye AEW suite using AESA technology. Erieye suite is already in use by PAF on Saab 2000 aircraft.Recommend

  • zara haq
    Feb 27, 2015 - 11:20PM

    @Adnan Siddiqi: and what are the price differences in both the zdk 03 that is just bought and gulfstream and embraer with suites installed you are talking about. You do know sir gulfstream jets are how cheap or actually how much costly.

    very nice information. Thanx Monsieur. But does israel do all manufacturing as in R&D. I used to think it takes usa technology and replicate it at its home set complexes. Recommend

  • Yo2Da2
    Feb 27, 2015 - 11:54PM

    @Ibrar: You are absolutely right about the comments. But don’t confuse them with actual policies and decisions. Comments on blogs are just that: entertainment. Very little real information can be gleaned from any comment. Just my opinion.Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Feb 27, 2015 - 11:58PM

    @zara haq:

    Sister, its about more bang for buck. Embrear and Gulfstream with Erieye system would be costly to acquire but in the long run, the money saved on maintenance, quick turnaround time during missions and ability to loiter for an extended period of time would offset the acquisition costs. Not to mention the technological advantages which proves critical during a mission.Recommend

  • LS
    Feb 28, 2015 - 1:53AM

    Why isn’t Pakistan feeding its poor than investing in this fancy stuff..? They 60% population is poor and 30% under poverty line (Their WB data is fudged that talks about 13.3 as their census report was reject for gross inaccuracies).Recommend

  • MJ
    Feb 28, 2015 - 2:50AM

    After the Indians were able to destroy our best Airborne naval defense radars, the two P-3C Orion’s through the TTP that they fund, train and deploy, Pakistan should continue the strategy of getting cheap Chinese planes with advanced radars. I would not be surprised if the latest Chinese technology in these planes is equal to that in the P-3 Orion. However India still holds the edge after inducting P-8I into their naval fleet. I believe 8 of these planes were bought from the US during the past 3 years. Recommend

  • Alfa Romeo
    Feb 28, 2015 - 10:40AM

    Guys, there are some confusion as people have included AWS in the discussion. P8i acquisition by India is to target China as China has a huge submarine strength. Pakistan is not even considered. Now, Regarding the AWACS, Pakistan lost all of them in the Taliban attack which was supported by Pakistan navy personnel. Coming back to the AWACS, p3c Orions were technologically very superior until acquisition of p8i by India.Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Feb 28, 2015 - 10:54AM


    Cheap doesn’t always have to be Chinese. True that we are economically constrained but we can still get good value for money by looking for other sources of advanced weaponry at reasonable prices. Countries like Brazil and South Africa have fledging armament industries which are producing American and NATO grade weaponry at a fraction of a cost.Recommend

  • zara haq
    Feb 28, 2015 - 4:24PM

    @Adnan Siddiqi:
    Oh no on board with you on that but i meant our finances are short and i wasnt undermining the curent purchase’s capabilities in a way. With zarb e az and razed down infrastructure costs amounting upto 1 bn dollar so it looked fine. But omg bhai you are so knowledgable and genius. Omg i wish i was so smart as you.

    Et i hope you will publishRecommend

  • zara haq
    Feb 28, 2015 - 10:59PM

    @Alfa Romeo:
    P3 orions were majorly meant for defense from indian point of view. Those ttp mountains inhabiting animals wouldnt even know what an anti submarine aircraft means. Recommend

  • Basel
    Mar 2, 2015 - 1:56PM

    @Adnan Siddiqi:
    When SAAB planes where purchased PAF had money and could have bought your mentioned plane (new or used ones). It seems you just don’t know why PAF went for SAAB air crafts. There are more then one reason for that, SAAB in its class is very potent air craft with very short turning capability in air, it also have turboprop engines which allow it to stay in an area for longer time then regular jet ones and have more loiter time then your mentioned jets, it is also cheaper to maintain it and it has low life cycle cost too.

    Saab 2000 performance

    The aircraft can climb an altitude of 9,144m in 15 minutes. The maximum cruise and patrol speed of the aircraft are 629km/h and 296km/h respectively. The range is 3,218km. The take-off run of the aircraft is 1,400m and the maximum endurance is 9.5 hours. The aircraft weighs around 14,500kg and its maximum take-off weight is 23,000kg.Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Mar 2, 2015 - 2:15PM


    Agreed with all. However, I never compared Saab 2000 turboprops with Embraer and Gulfstream jets but rather the comparison was made with ZDK-03 which is a decades old Soviet design.Recommend

  • zara haq
    Mar 3, 2015 - 4:54AM

    Omg basel bhai i picked up some info through google. It aint that bad after all as adnan bhai makes it look like.

    ZDK-03 is a Pakistani variant specifically designed for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). The aircraft features an AESA radar with a range greater than the air force’s Saab 2000 Erieye AEW&C radar.
    The Y-8 has a cruise speed of 550km/h and a climb rate of 10m/s. It can fly for 10.5h at a maximum speed of 660km/h. While the range of the aircraft is 5,615km, its service ceiling is 10,400m. The aircraft weighs 35,490kg and its maximum take-off weight is 61,000kg.”Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Mar 3, 2015 - 2:32PM

    @zara haq:

    I see that you are putting Wikipedia to use, good for you. Recommend

  • zara haq
    Mar 3, 2015 - 5:17PM

    No i rarely use wikipedia.
    Its this site :

    Why what happened?Recommend

  • Basel
    Mar 4, 2015 - 5:09PM

    @zara haq:
    @Adnan Siddiqi:
    Zara you nailed it in your post, you posted some important reasons why PAF went for Y-8 version for ZDK, one more is that it has four engines and due to longer range radar, longer loiter time and four engines it is ideal for coastal surveillance and specially monitoring ships at sea, if one or two engines failed at sea it can still come back on two engines safely.Recommend

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