Confirming the grapevine surrounding the acquisition of Chinese J-10C fighter jets, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid on Wednesday said that Pakistan Air Force (PAF) will soon induct at least 25 made-in-China J-10Cs. Talking to media persons in Rawalpindi, Sheikh Rashid also said that the jets will participate in a fly-past on March 23, which is celebrated by the country every year as “Pakistan Day”. The Minister claimed that the J-10C squadron was "an answer to India's Rafale jets".
It was during the Pak-China joint exercise “Shared Destiny” last year when the officials representing the Pakistani security establishment had an opportunity to inspect the efficiency, capabilities and features of the J-10Cs, according to media reports. Jengdu-10C is a semi-stealth, multi-role, all-weather and single engine fighter which has been in operations in People's Liberation Army Air Force since 2005.
However, reports have questioned J-10Cs parity with/superiority over Rafales as well as Pakistani government’s allocation of resources for defence spending.
As per defence analysts, Rafale ranks superior over J-10Cs in both Within Visual Range (WVR) and Beyond Visual Range (BVR) combats. It also has a superior Electronic warfare self-protection (EWSP), a mechanical framework deployed as a countermeasure against weapons fire. J-10Cs are seen as a measure to augment Pakistan’s strike capabilities along with American F-16s and JF-17 which are already in operation in PAF.
Pakistan Lawmaker Dr. Afnan Ullah Khan criticised and lamented the decision to acquire J-10Cs in a social media post. He argued that Pakistan should focus on developing and promoting indigenous capabilities and aircraft manufacturing industrial ecosystem. He urged the government to allocate resources to upgrade the stealth and strike capabilities of JF-17 aircrafts. He also asked the government to expedite Project Azm.
Launched in 2017, Project Azm is an attempt by Pakistan’s security establishment to establish an aviation manufacturing base by developing indigenous research and defence capabilities in the country. The main aim of Project Azm is the development of Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft, albeit with foreign partners. The project’s status is ambiguous currently.
Watch Video: Chinese C-10J in action
An aviation brigade of the air force under the PLA Eastern Theater Command is equipped with J-10C fighters, while the original J-7 fighters have been retired. 🇨🇳 pic.twitter.com/d2MpC0CHM7— 彩云香江 (@louischeung_hk) November 20, 2021
In 2016, India had signed an agreement with the French Government and Dassault Aviation for the acquisition of 36 Rafale aircrafts.