Issue Brief on “PAF and PLAAF taking Pak-China friendship to new heights”


The air forces of Pakistan and China launched joint exercises on September 7, 2017. The exercise is part of the “Shaheen” training program launched by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in March 2011. The current exercise between the two air forces is the 6th joint exercise, named Shaheen-VI. While PAF has dispatched JF-17 Thunder fighter jets and early warning aircraft to join the exercise, the PLAAF deployed its J-11 fighters, JH-7 fighter-bombers, KJ-200 AWACS aircraft and ground forces including surface-to-air missile and radar troops to take part in the exercise. The training exercise will run until September 27, 2017.

Air Commodore Syed Muhammad Ali commented that these exercises will enhance bilateral relationship and strengthen the air forces of the two countries.[i] According to a PLAAF spokesperson, “to build a world-class air force, we need to learn from foreign armies and improve our capability to complete multiple tasks.”[ii] The Chinese are well aware of the capabilities which the PAF possesses and were eager to launch these exercises.

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