The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has officially inducted its first batch of Chinese-built J-10C fighter jets to bolster the country’s combat capabilities.
An induction ceremony was held in Islamabad last week, attended by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and officials from both countries.
“It is a big addition to our defense system,” Khan said, according to a Reuters report. “I am thankful to China on behalf of our nation for providing these jets in record time of eight months,” he added.
Though Pakistan has not officially stated the number of jets it is procuring from China, Islamabad was considering the purchase of 25 jets from Beijing.
Regional Defense Cooperation
China is a long-time ally of Pakistan and has sold the South Asian country military aircraft before. Pakistan also co-manufactured JF-17 jets with China to replace its J-10Cs.
The induction came hours after Islamabad warned India of “unpleasant consequences” after a missile from India crashed in Pakistani territory on March 9. The foreign ministry summoned India’s envoy for an explanation. India acknowledged the incident, blaming a “technical malfunction” during maintenance.
Pakistan and India have a history of conflict, having fought three wars since their partition in 1947. With the new jets, Pakistan aims to counter India’s 36 Dassault Rafales purchased from France beginning in 2016.
About the J-10
Referred to as the Vigorous Dragon, the J-10 C is a single-engine, lightweight fighter jet that can operate in all weather conditions, carrying out ground strikes and air-to-air combat missions.
Pakistan first expressed its intention to buy the fighters in 2006 to complement its fleet of US-made F-16s. The aircraft took part in a joint exercise between China and Pakistan in 2020.
Powered by a Chinese engine, earlier models of the J-10C have Russian-made AL-31 engines. Islamabad currently has a fleet of 37 F-16s, 40 Chinese JF-17s, and 87 Mirage III fighter jets.