Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman warned that the violators of Pakistan’s airspace will not be spared — be it an enemy aircraft or a US drone.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of Air Tech Conference and Techno Show in Islamabad, the air chief said: “We will soon launch a new satellite […] the country will be able to send astronauts into space within next two years.”
We are also working on unmanned drones and a new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will be manufactured in next 18 months, he told the audiences.
Aman said that when the United States drones had violated the Pakistani airspace, the air force had told the US authorities that their drones would be knocked down if they entered the country’s airspace again.
“We had also knocked down an Iranian drone in Pakistani territory,” he said, adding that any flying object tracked on radar while violating the national borders, will not be able to go back.
Aman, however, asserted that a war with the US would not be in the favour of the country.
Talking about the regional situation, he said the country cannot change its neighbours. “India, China, Afghanistan, and Iran are our neighbours and will remain.”
What was done in Iraq and Lybia in the name of democracy is open to all to ponder upon, he said and remarked that no one can impose the democracy of its own will on anyone.
Our brave nation has countered the menace of terrorism with valour, the air chief said. “We have defeated extremism,” he said, adding that the country was still striving to establish durable peace. “Now the terrorists come from Afghanistan to carry out terrorist activities.”
Talking about the professional capability of the force, he said that the Pakistan Air Force was praised even by its rivals, including India.
“The SAAB airplanes, destroyed in the Kamera attack, were repaired domestically. Sweden had asked for a huge amount to repair the planes but we managed to repair them with our limited resources and times,” he said.
He said that the JF 17 Thunder is the pride and identity of the nation. We opted to manufacture the JF 17 Thunder when we were denied provision of F-16, he said, adding that the JF 17 Thunder is better than F-16 in four disciplines.
We are manufacturing weapons after the US denied us to provide the same as everything is possible with belief and determination, he said.
Several European countries collectedly manufactured a Euro Fighter but we alone are going to manufacture a fifth-generation fighter plane under the project “Azam”, Aman maintained. The civilians are comprising 60 per cent of the workforce in the project, he further said, adding that “it will take five years to initiate the production of fifth-generation aircraft”.
He was optimistic that with the technical support of China, our aircraft manufacturing industry will flourish.
The air chief made it clear that the country has no ambitions beyond its borders and warned that none should try to interfere in Pakistan. “We will protect the sovereignty of the country at any cost,” he vowed.
By 2020, the Pakistan Airforce will not only be self-sufficient in the production of its required weapons but will also be ready to sell out the weapons.