from China, and hopes to deepen cooperation to upgrade its armed
forces, a top Pakistan Air Force officer said on Wednesday.
Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman told China Daily that Pakistan
is evaluating, among other options, three or four Chinese
surface-to-air missiles including the advanced “HQ-18”.
The missiles, with a maximum range of 100 km, can be used against
short-range ballistic missiles, aircraft or cruise missiles, with
intercepts taking place between a low-level 25 meters and an altitude
of 25 kilometers.
Suleman also said China had completed the first of four Chinese
ZDK-03 airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft for the
Pakistan Air Force on Nov 13.
“The delivery to Pakistan will start in the early part of next year,”
said Suleman, who is also chief of the air staff of the Pakistan Air
He said the Pakistan Air Force was also looking at the option of
purchasing Chinese engines, though any final decision will depend on
the engines’ quality.
Suleman brought FC-1 (Fighter China-1) Xiaolong aircraft, an improved
version of China’s new generation fighter jet co-developed with
Pakistan, to the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition
The Pakistan Air Force is increasing production docks for the FC-1
(named the JF-17 Thunder in Pakistan) from four to six, and is aiming
to have about 25 aircraft assembled by the end of the year.
“It’s on a very fast track, and there is no other fighter aircraft
anywhere in the world,” which has been produced so quickly, he said.
China and Pakistan have traditionally had close military relations, and
Suleman said bringing FC-1 Xiaolong aircraft to Zhuhai is to display
“solidarity with China” and “to show to the world that we have a
tremendous amount of respect and love for our Chinese friends”.
Commenting on cooperation in military research and development, he said China and Pakistan “will continue working together”.
“There is no shortage of trust and no shortage of will. There will be more projects developed successfully.”
Peng Guangqian, a Beijing-based military strategist, noted Beijing’s
weapons deal with Islamabad had almost no effect on the balance of
military power between Pakistan & India.