Pakistan Air Force, abbreviated as PAF, is the aerial warfare branch of the sixth largest military in the world. The primary mission of PAF is to provide aerial defence for Pakistan, providing air logistics support to Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Army, and occasionally acting as a strategic airlift.
Pakistan Air Force is the eighth largest air force in the world by number of military craft, and it continues to prosper by indigenously developing modern technologies.
Sixth-Generation Fighter Aircraft:
Pakistan Air Force hinted that it’s planning to get its in-house NGFA, Project AZM, to take off in 2028. It is not clear to see how PAF aims to do that unless they are working on a pre-existing design. The next-generation fighter aircraft (NGFA) will be a superior replacement to the fifth-generation jet fighters that are currently in service.
Off-the-Shelf Fighter Jets:
Pakistan will most probably need an off-the-shelf fighter as a low-cost solution for a light attack and close-air support aircraft, especially considering the complexity involved with building an NGFA. F-16 would have been the preferred option, but due to some ties with Washington, Pakistan Air Force will have to consider Chinese or Russian alternatives.
The Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmad Babar has indicated that PAF requires a new LIFT to fill the gap between the K-8 and the JF-17B. However, he has still not announced the final say on the topic, hence it’s unclear to determine whether they will acquire one or not.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Adoption:
The PAF had been really focused on the development of its UAV force. Currently, Pakistan’s drone fleet comprises by three UAV platforms: the Leonardo Falco, NESCOM Burraq, and GIDS Shahpar. Pakistan has now decided to stop investing in foreign drones, and instead committed to advance their UAV capabilities by manufacturing their own drones.
Updates to JF-17 Block-III:
Pakistan Aeronautical Complex’s (PAC) Aircraft Manufacturing Factory (AMF) is working on updates in the JF-17 Block-III like installing an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, for which they selected an air-cooled version of the Chinese KLJ-7A radar, which is clearly a significant improvement.
Evidently, Pakistan Air Force is on its way to excellence by remaining prepared through training, knowledge, and dedicated teamwork – and continues to prove that PAF is second to none.