The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on Tuesday successfully test-fired an indigenously developed “extended range smart weapon” from a JF-17 Thunder aircraft, adding to the multi-role fighter jet’s capabilities.
A press release issued by the PAF recognised the trial as a “great milestone”, saying the weapon had been developed and integrated solely through the efforts of Pakistani scientists and engineers.
With the success of this test, the JF-17 aircraft will now be equipped with “a very potent and assured day and night capability to engage a variety of targets with pinpoint accuracy”, the statement said.
Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan lauded the efforts of the scientists and engineers and congratulated the PAF personnel “on the achievement of this monumental indigenous capability”, the press release added.
The PAF chief on the occasion said that Pakistan is a peace-loving nation but “if subjected to aggression by [an]adversary, we would respond with full force”.
The trial of the “smart weapon” comes two weeks after India’s violation of the Line of Control (LoC) in response to which PAF jets had immediately scrambled, causing the Indian aircraft to return.
A day later, on February 27, the PAF announced that it had shot down two Indian aircraft inside Pakistani airspace when they tried to give chase to Pakistani jets.
One of the Indian aircraft’s pilots was captured by the armed forces before Prime Minister Imran Khan decided to repatriate him as a peace gesture.
The move has largely dispelled an immediate threat of further escalations with India, but the chief of air staff has instructed PAF personnel to not let their guards down.