PAF stands strengthened. Excellent

PAKISTAN Air Force has received first of its four Saab-2000 Airborne Warning & Control System (AWACS) aircraft from Sweden which will bolster the capabilities of the force manifold. There was a dire need to bridge, as far as possible, the growing disparity in the defence of Pakistan and the arch rival India. Like Pakistan Army and Navy, the Air Force too needed state of the art equipment as New Delhi’s acquisition of Russian-Israeli AWACS, Sukhoi fighter aircraft, launching of RISAT (Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite), and development of missile systems had created an imbalance of power in the region.

Known as eye-in-the sky, the induction of Saab-2000 will be the most prominent force multiplier in the inventory of the PAF to cater for the conventional requirements of the Air Force’s tactical and strategic operations. AWACS would enhance the monitoring of high and medium altitude flying aircraft, detect low level flying objects over land and sea at extended ranges and thus give enough time to the Air Force to counter the threat. Saab 2000 with an advanced technology sensor system is a highly capable yet cost effective surveillance platform to detect and track targets. It is also able to incorporate high-speed dash with low speed loitering capability and inherent fuel efficiency that meets demanding AEW&C requirements for performing a 180 turn in less than 30 seconds with an endurance of more than 9 hours. This system would help address modern day asymmetric threats. While ground based radar suffers from the limitations of the curvature of earth and cannot look beyond a particular distance and to add to that topographic features bring a lot amount of clutter in its signal reception, induction of AWACS would provide the PAF a high degree of situational awareness, enabling it to dominate the airspace and play a vital role towards battlefield management. It is heartening that the incumbent PAF Chief, Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, well aware of the challenges, moved on fast track and ensured the delivery of AWACS and inducted JF-17 Thunder Aircraft which too was a milestone. Of course there are financial constraints yet we would stress that the force ratio of one-third with India should not be disturbed. There is no doubt that the Shaheens of Pakistan Air Force with unwavering commitment, determination and professional competence of par excellence would outmanoeuvre and give a crushing defeat to the enemy if the need arose, as they demonstrated in the past, yet the vital arm of the national defence needs the modern day gadgets and the induction of AWACS is a right step in that direction. (Pakobserver)

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