Beijing, 19 January 2024 (TDI): Reportedly, Pakistan eyes Stealth Aircraft, FC-31 known for its cutting-edge design. These aircraft are single-seat, twin-engine, medium fighters and are often compared to the United States’ F-35.
The Chinese media recently highlighted that the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) developed the FC-31 stealth fighter jets.
The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) would greatly boost its capabilities by adding stealth fighter jets to its fleet. Additionally, it would open up the international market for Chinese aircraft, as per the Global Times.
“The FC-31 has strong comprehensive air combat capabilities, including its stealth advantages that allow it to spot opponents first and launch surprise attacks,” Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times.
Pakistan’s Partnership with China
“The aircraft has outstanding situational awareness and can carry a wide selection of munitions, including air-to-air missiles besides the precision bombs as well as air-to-ground and air-to-surface missiles,” Wei said.
The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) maintains a longstanding partnership with China, utilizing various advanced weaponry and equipment. Their arsenal includes the versatile J-10C medium fighter jets, known for their effectiveness in combat scenarios.
Moreover, the PAF depends on the JF-17 light fighter jets, showcasing a commitment to a balanced and adaptive air force. In terms of air defense, Pakistan uses the HQ-9BE long-range surface-to-air missile systems, demonstrating a robust capability to protect airspace against potential threats.
Additionally, the PAF incorporates the HQ-16FE mid-to-long-range surface-to-air missile systems, bolstering its defensive capabilities with state-of-the-art technology. In enhancing situational awareness, the YLC-8E anti-stealth 3D surveillance radar systems play a crucial role. These advanced systems highlight Pakistan’s strategic approach to modernizing its air force and ensuring a comprehensive defense infrastructure.
Experts anticipate that Pakistan gaining the FC-31 will give it a substantial generational edge over rivals. The quick delivery of these stealth fighter jets should boost the capabilities of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). Wei, a notable analyst, suggests that Pakistan’s main rival is unlikely to obtain comparable stealth fighter jets in the near future. Once the PAF possesses the FC-31, it is expected to establish a significant technological lead, solidifying Pakistan’s strategic position in the region.
Wei highlights mutual benefits in the proposed purchase plan. If Pakistan finalizes the deal, it might encourage other nations, especially those in the Middle East, to explore similar agreements. This may increase awareness of the Chinese aircraft’s competitiveness among potential customers.
Stealth technology, also called low observable tech, involves techniques and design principles applied in military systems like aircraft, ships, and submarines to decrease detectability by radar, infrared, sonar, and other methods. The main objective is to reduce the reflection or emission of electromagnetic signals, making the platform less visible or detectable to enemy sensors.
Military research has significantly focused on developing stealth technology. It has led to the creation of stealth bombers, fighter jets, and naval vessels. Examples include Lockheed Martin F-117 Nighthawk, Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit bomber, and recent ones like Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II. These technologies aim to gain a tactical advantage by minimizing the enemy’s ability to detect and target military assets.