Pakistan Air Force Says It Will Overtake IAF

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By W Rorrkychand Singh | May 15, 2012 2:54 PM EST

Terming the Indian Air Force (IAF) as "crisis-hit" and rocked by various scams and infighting, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) claims that the PAF would overtake the IAF in the next one or two years.

Stating that the Indian media has expressed shock and dismay over the revelations that the IAF would lose its superiority to the PAF, a release by PAF said: "The squadron strength of the IAF will drop to just 31 during the country's 12th five year plan (2012-2017)."

"At present, the IAF is operating 34 fighter jet squadrons, as compared to the 26 operated by the PAF. However, the IAF needs to operate 39.5 squadrons to maintain its superiority over the PAF due to a wide variety of issues like geographical disadvantage," it added.

The statement on Monday also claimed India "seems to have overlooked the procurement of much needed fighter aircraft, needed to guard its skies. The IAF also plans to phase out around 125 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 fighter jets during 2014-2017. It plans to replace them with the HAL Tejas, whose induction is likely to get delayed."

On the other hand, the PAF is moving forward with a number of high profile aircraft deals. Pakistan recently received 14 General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon (Block-52) aircraft from the US. It is likely to acquire 14 more within a short time.

The PAF is also actively pursuing aircraft deals with Chinese aerospace companies. It has finalised a deal to purchase 36 Chengdu J-10 multirole fighter aircraft from Chinese aircraft manufacturer Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation. The PAF is likely to induct these aircraft in 2014, according to the statement.

Reports say that the PAF would purchase as many as 150 fighter jets from China in the long run.

Pointing out India's recent defence deal with the French aerospace manufacturer Dassault Aviation for 126 Dassault Rafale Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft, the statement claimed "the deal has come under increasing scrutiny after allegations of kickbacks being given to Indian defence officials. Even if the deal goes forward, the delivery of the fighter jet is expected to take a long time. Earlier the Dassault Rafale was rejected by nations such as Singapore, South Korea, Morocco and Switzerland, citing lack of advanced technology and cost."

It also claimed: "Ever since the current Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took over for a second term in 2009, the defence scene has remained murky and problematic for the Indian government."

"The Army chief, Gen V K Singh, who undertook a number of reforms within the armed forces, was asked to resign this month by the defence minister, citing an error in his officially reported date of birth. The opposition claims that the government terminated Gen Singh's services since he was opposed to the corruption in the armed forces. A loyalist of the ruling Indian National Congress party, Lt Gen Bikram Singh, will take over the leadership from Gen V K Singh on June 1, 2012," it added.

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