Roll out ceremony of first of Four Chinese ZDK-03 AWACS aircraft for Pakistan Air

Earlier this year, Pakistan Air Force also inducted 4 IL 78 Air Refuellers that were acquired from Ukarine. 

By Raja G Mujtaba

As reported by the Pakistan Air Force Department of Public Relations, the rollout ceremony of first of four Chinese ZDK-03 Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) aircrafts for the Pakistan Air Force was held at Hanzhong in China today.

The rollout coincided with President Asif Ali Zardari's visit to China – his sixth since assuming the position in 2008.

PAF chief Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman was the chief guest at the ceremony, which was attended by the Commander of the PLA Air Force and other military and civil officials of China.

The PAF signed a contract in 2008 with China Electronics Technology Group Corporation for the joint development of four ZDK-03 AWACS aircraft configured to Pakistan's specifications.

The ZDK-03 is an advanced AWACS with sophisticated integrated sensors and communications suite, PAF said in a statement.

In his speech at the rollout, Air Chief Marshal Suleman described the event as "another milestone in the exemplary history of cooperation between Pakistan and China”.

This AWACS will strengthen the PAF's capabilities to maintain "peace with honour in the region", he said.

The AWACS is part of PAF's overall strategy of transforming itself into a "lean and technologically advanced air force", Suleman said.The PAF will not spare any effort to make the defence of the country impregnable, he added.

CETC Chairman Wang Zhigang said the induction of the AWACS by the PAF will have a "positive impact on regional stability, peace and prosperity as well as on the close bond between the two military forces and two countries".

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The PAF has also received two of four Saab-2000 AWACs aircraft ordered from Sweden.

The remaining two aircraft equipped with the Erieye radar system are expected to be delivered later this year.

Earlier this year, Pakistan Air Force also employed air-to-air refueling skill successfully thus attaining another milestone to prove itself ‘second to 

none’ as envisioned by Father of the Nation Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The attainment of the capability was a part of the High-Mark-10 exercises held earlier this year.

The first Air-to-Air Re-Fuller aircraft of Pakistan Air Force which had joined PAF in the mid of December-2009, today took active part in the exercises and ably re-fuelled frontline fighter aircraft in the PAF’s inventory, as stated by a senior officer of PAF.

The remaining 3 joined in June 2010 thus enhancing the capability of the PAF manifold.