“If the stalemate over funding is not resolved

Pakistan may consider buying some other fighter

aircraft to meet its needs.”

–Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to US Ambassador David Hale at a meeting at the Foreign Office, May 5 2016.

 

During the first couple of decades of its existence the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) bought aircrafts from the British government due to the colonial linkage. Till 1958 most squadrons were filled with RAF’s Hawker Furys and Supermarine Attackers. In 1957 the Pakistan Air Force received 100 American-built F-86 Sabres under the U.S. aid programme and eventually it replaced the older planes with newer American versions in other categories too. The F- 86 pictured featured as the backbone of the air force during the wars with India until the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. During the conflict Pakistan received extensive US aid and in 1982 it received its first batch of F-16s which became the mainstay of the PAF for the next three decades

Pakistan’s purchase of a new block of F-16s is getting increasingly doubtful, as the US Congress is putting ever stringent barriers in the path of the deal. If the difficulty continues Pakistan’s policy of building its air force around a core of US aircrafts might be in need of review.

For the first time however, Pakistan and China’s indigenously made JF thunder provide the PAF with a solution that does not require ultra-expensive purchase from another nation.