By Liu Xuanzun
In a first since Pakistan inducted Chinese-made J-10CE fighters into its air force, the two countries kicked off a joint air exercise on Monday, with experts saying on Tuesday that the drill will further enhance exchanges and cooperation between the two militaries and contribute to regional peace and stability.
The Shaheen-X joint air exercise kicked off on Monday in Chinese territory as part of efforts to further boost training and coordination between the two militaries and deepen their exchange and cooperation on military technology, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday.
According to a statement released by China’s Ministry of National Defense on Saturday, the exercise is scheduled to be held until mid-September, in Jiuquan, Northwest China’s Gansu Province and Yinchuan, Northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
The two sides will send fighters, early warning aircraft and several other types of aircraft, as well as ground forces such as ground-to-air missiles and radar and signal troops to participate in the exercise. Chinese naval aviation units will also be involved in the training, Xinhua reported.
J-10 fighter jets from the Pakistan Air Force will participate in the exercise, Pakistani media outlet The Nation reported on Monday.
It marks the first time J-10CE fighter jets have participated in the China-Pakistan Shaheen series air exercise since the Chinese-made aircraft were inducted into the Pakistan Air Force in March 2022, as the Shaheen-IX was held in December 2020.
Independently developed by China’s aviation industry, the J-10CE is an all-weather, single-engine, single-seat, multirole, fourth-plus generation fighter jet capable of striking multiple targets from beyond visual range under a complex electromagnetic environment, and can deliver precision attacks against ground targets with multiple guidance modes.
Equipped with advanced comprehensive avionics and weapon systems, the aircraft boasts outstanding mid-to-low altitude combat maneuverability, supersonic flight, short-range takeoff and landing, large combat radius and long range and mid-air refueling capabilities.
After more than a year’s independent practice and use, the Pakistani pilots should have already grasped and developed skills and tactics on the J-10CEs, and their first joint exercise with China using the aircraft will benefit both countries’ pilots when they exchange experiences, Fu Qianshao, a Chinese military aviation expert, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
The Pakistan Air Force uses the J-10CE as its main combat force, while the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force also operates a large fleet of J-10C fighter jets, Fu noted.
The exercise can enhance the two countries’ interoperability under informatized systems of modern warfare, Fu said.
Xinhua reported that the Shaheen-X exercise will focus on training in typical combat scenarios such as joint air defense and joint countermeasures.
The drill will allow China to learn from the Pakistan Air Force’s Western-like training system, while Pakistan will strengthen its capabilities in safeguarding its sky as well as conducting anti-terrorism operations, Fu said.