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Is Pakistani Air Force capable of handling Indian Air Force?
India vs Pakistan War

Is Pakistani Air Force capable of handling Indian Air Force? 

Let’s take a look at inventories :

NB. I will list all corps : AF, Naval & Army aviation. Transports, trainers without combat capabilities, pure reece, won’t be listed; electronic warfare and anti-surface/submarine assets will be listed, so will be armed choppers




  • 66x F-16A/B Fighting Falcon
  • 19x F-16C/D Fighting Falcon
  • 100x JF-17 Thunder Block I & II
  • 89x Mirage III IIIEP/OF/RP/BE/D/DP
  • 90x Mirage 5EF/F/PA/DPA2
  • 139x Chengdu J-7 (MiG-21) F-7P/F-7PG/FT-7
  • 9x Shenyang J-6/F-6 (MiG-19) trainers

– Available as light strike aircraft :

  • 38x Cessna T-37 (2x 227kg pylons)
  • 38x Hongdu JL-8 (1,000 kg payload)
  • 25x Shenyang J-5/F-5/FT-5 (MiG-17) trainer version


  • 4x Saab 2000 (Eriye radar)
  • 4x Shaanxi ZDK-03 (Y-8)


  • 2x Falcon 20
  • 2x Beechcraft Super King Air 350 (SIGINT/ISR)


  • 4x Il-78MP


  • 49x Bell AH-1F Cobra
  • TAI T-129 Atak (30 on order)
  • Bell AH-1Z Viper (12 on order)
  • 30x Airbus H125M/Eurocopter AS550 C3 Fennec (+13 on order)
  • 4x Mil Mi-35M Hind-E (+20 planned)
  • 52x Mi-17/171 (optionally armed with cannon and rocket pods)
  • 35x Bell 412 (optionally armed)
  • 31x Aérospatiale Alouette-III (optionally armed)
  • 6x Bell UH-1 Iroquois (optionally armed)


  • 7x Lockheed P-3 Orion
  • 3x ATR 72/P-72A ASW
  • 7x Fokker F27 Maritime Enforcer
  • 5x Harbin Z-9EC (AS365 Dauphin)
  • 8x Westland Sea King

Many Mirage-III/5 and J-7 have been upgraded with Selex Grifo radars during the 90’s

The ROSE project updated a part of the Mirage-III/5 with the 90’s Selex Grifo-M3, an early 90’s Italian radar, J-7 were upgraded with an older version of the Grifo. The most recent version of Grifo, the Grifo-S, allows to attack targets at 72km

.Future JF-17 block 3 will be the 1st PAF aircraff with an AESA radar, the NRIET KLJ-7A, ranging 100km




  • 151x MiG-21 Bison
  • 66x MiG-29UPG
  • 48x Mirage 2000
  • 242x Sukhoi Su-30
  • 117x SEPECAT Jaguar
  • 44x MiG-27
  • 14x MiG-23
  • 28x HAL Tejas Mk1 (+12 to be delivered)
  • Dassault Rafale (36 on order, deliveries start sept 2019)
  • 45x MiG-29K/KUB

Available as light strike aircraft :

  • 121x BAE Hawk : 3,085 kg payload
  • 75x Pilatus PC-7 : 1,040 kg payload
  • 99x HAL Kiran : if equiped with a small laser-targetting device (no need for smth like Talios, 8-10km range is OK), since it can carry two pods of 18x 68mm SNEB rockets, well, the guidance kits for Hydra-70 like APKWS-II have been tested on SNEBs, so Kiran can joyously blast 36 IFVs/APC per flight


  • 2x EMB-145 Netra (+1 on order)
  • 3x Beriev A-50EI (EL/W-2090 radar)
  • 14x Kamov Ka-31


  • 3x Gulfstream III SRA (EW/ELINT)


  • 6x Il-78MKI


  • 51x Mi-17-1V (Gunship version)
  • 188x Mi-17/Mi-17V-5 (+8 V-5 on order; optionally armed with cannon and rocket pods)
  • 17x Mi-35
  • 98x HAL Chetak (Alouette-III) (optionally armed)
  • 20x HAL Rudra (armed Dhruv, 56 on order)
  • Boeing AH-64E Apache (22 on order)
  • 4x CH-47F Chinook (+11 on order, optionally armed)
  • 4x HAL LCH : Light Combat Helicopter (+110 on order)


  • 8x Boeing P-8I Neptune (+4 on order)
  • 5x Ilyushin Il-38SD
  • 14x Kamov Ka-27 (+4 on order)
  • 33x SH-3+Westland Sea-King

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

  • 110x IAI Harop (stealth long-range suicide drone, SEAD)
  • 40x IAI Harpy (long-range suicide drone, SEAD)
  • 3x DRDO Rustom-2 (IOC status, to be introduced in 2020, 150 needed)

Indian MiG-29, Mirage 2000, Jaguar and Tejas are equipped with Israeli Elta EL/M-2052 AESA radar (which also equips Israeli F-15), MiG-21 Bison is equiped with EL/M-2032 (which also equips Israeli F-16, max range 150km), in other terms, all are absolutely able to use the I-Derby-ER BVR missile ranging 100km. Since France was asked to upgrade Mirage-2000 recently, it’s likely now equipped/being equiped with Rafale’s systems. RBE2/AESA+Meteor : you can engage and shoot down a fighter-sized aircraft from 200km and more for a heavy, moreover, the radar can be used as an “EMP-gun” to grill the electronics of incoming missile (and likely more). MICA-IR becomes available too, ranging 50-80km.

Do not see Jaguar as a simple strike aircraft : EL/M-2052 makes near as dangerous as an Israeli F-15 when it comes to launch AAMs

Rafale will be introduced in Sept.2019, despite being often seen as a 4.5th gen aircraft, Rafale actually has even more advanced stealth features than F-35, F-22, Su-57, J-20 or J-31, the method to achieve this being totally different, at the point it can fly over a S-300/400’s radar (at high altitude) without being detected at all. S-400’s 91NE6 is said able to lock-on F-22/35 from 150km. It’s also the sole fighter jet with a 2nd gen. quantum-well EOST (QWIP), in fact, all 1st gen QWIP in any other country are still at R&D level, so… nothing is stealth for Rafale…

By using triple:quadruple ejector racks, Rafale is technically capable to carry up to 24 Meteor and 4 MICA A2A missiles. Indian version uses the Elbit HMD which initially was chosen for F-35 until lobbying impsed an US-made one, and is also able to carry Indian, Russian and Israeli weapons.

Dassault, Safran and Thales are helping to field a definitive and efficient Tejas. The RBE2/AESA has already been flight tested and validated by DRDO, so is a standalone active stealth system taken from SPECTRA, a 98kN version of M88 engine has already validated by DRDO, flight tests are to happen in the a-coming months. Dassault proposes internal mods to fit the engine as much as allowing as much fuel as in Mirage-2000 while Tejas would end 500kg lighter. It would allow a start of production as soon as 2020AD. Since Tejas Mk1A orders for 83 units have been put on hold and such version would simply make the Tejas Mk2 obsolete. Decisions will likely follow the flight tests with M88/Kaveri-K9+ engine.


In conclusion :

IAF is nonetheless more numerous in numbers than PAF, but also far better equiped. Both have a mix of pretty modern aircraft and obsolete ones having been customised, thus, PAF customisations date from the 90’s while IAF maintains constant upgrading to up to date radars, electronic warfare, etc, with a philosophy close to Israeli air-force : even if the gear is ageing, improving it to stay on the top… Just think about Jaguar with the same radar as an Israeli F-15… Flying up to Mach 1.6 and having been conceived for low altitude penetration, including carrying tactical nukes and being able to operate from roads, well, this 40+ years bird ends able to become a very bad surprise, moreover, it can carry AAMs over its wings…

The arrival of Rafale will make the affairs terrible either for Paks or Chinese, thanks to its stealth features and powerful weapons added to very huge payload and range. The numbers will seriously increase in the future : it’d need 6th gen aircraft to be able to outcompete it.

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