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Pak to get 100 fighter jets from China, US

world Updated: Sep 07, 2008 18:33 IST

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Pakistan will acquire over 100 fighter jets from China and the US as well as airborne warning and air-to-air refuelling aircraft to maintain numerical parity with the Indian Air Force which enjoys a "qualitative advantage", the country's air force chief has said.

Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed said the Pakistan Air Force was "very close" to signing a contract with China for serial production of 42 JF-17 fighter jets.

It would also acquire two squadrons or 36 of the FC-20 multi-role fighters from China and 18 new F-16s from the US, he said.

Ahmed said the PAF had already received eight JF-17 jets, which are being used for testing and evaluation. The first squadron of JF-17s is expected to be raised later this year or early next year.

PAF has inked a contract with a Ukrainian firm for four air-to-air refuelling aircraft, and the first of them is expected to arrive in a month, Ahmed said in an interview with Dawn News channel.

"Pakistan also expects to receive the Saab 2000 Erieye airborne early warning and control system aircraft from Sweden in a year," he said.

Pakistan has signed a deal for five Saab 2000 Erieye aircraft, the first of which was rolled out in Sweden in April. The aircraft is currently undergoing tests in Sweden.

"PAF has also received 12 refurbished F-16s from the US and will get two more similar aircraft after they are upgraded by Lockheed Martin," he said.