Pakistan will buy chinese air-to-SD-10 missiles and avionics to arm its 250 JF-17 Thunder fighter fleet, the Pakistan air force chief has said, amid signs that the French had spurned offer to equip them.
Islamabad is seeking to deepen military cooperation with Beijing", Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman Chief of the Pakistani Air Force told the 'Global Times' revealing that his country may also opt to acquire other advanced defence missile systems including Chinese Surface to Air Missiles (SAM) systems
Pakistan has opted to go in for full Chinese armament systems for the jointly developed fighters and Suleman currently on a visit to China told the paper that the advanced active radar and homing middle-range missile developed by China, called the SD-10 will become the standard Beyond Visual Range (BVR) weapon of the JF-17.
"PAF has no plans to install western devices and weapons on the aircraft for the time being", Pakistani Air Force Chief said.
'Global Times' quoting unnamed sources claimed that the French consortium has withdrawn from a reported 1.2 billion euro contract to supply radars and missiles for the first wave of 50 JF-17 fighters, after pressure from India.
French sources had reported that a joint bid had been made by French aeronautic company ATE along with Thales Group and MBDA.
The paper said that Pakistan may also buy upto four batteries of the Chinese SAM missiles.
The Pakistan Air Force Chief is currently on a visit to China to attend the Zhuhai Air Show now underway in southern China, where the JF-17s were a major attraction.The SD-10 (ShanDian-10) is a radar guided air-to-air missile developed by China in 2002. The Red Air Force has inducted these missiles in 2007 and the ones being supplied to Pakistan would be the missiles first exports.
SD-10 is said to be a variant of Italian Aspide missiles supplied to China in late 80s.
Pakistan Air Force has a big fleet of Chinese made fighters including F-7PGs and A-5s. The medium technology JF-17 or Thunder jets manufactured jointly with China are a new addition to PAF.
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 in Zhuhai.
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."