By Umer Nangiana/Staff Reporter
An impressive airshow put up by Pakistan Air Force (PAF) at the old Doha International Airport yesterday was witnessed by HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
A JF-17 Thunder, a multi-role light combat aircraft indigenously produced in Pakistan in co-operation with China, and a Super Mushshak trainer jet presented aerial stunts at the show where pilots demonstrated the two aircraft’s advanced capabilities.
After completing its range of aerobatics, the JF-17 Thunder in its sign-off salute impressed the audience with a spectacular vertical climb, a straight pull-up followed by aileron rolls pumping flares in its trail.
Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, the Chief of Air Staff, PAF, briefed HE Sheikh Abdullah and Nawaz Sharif on the salient features and capabilities of the aircraft.
Nawaz Sharif arrived in Doha yesterday on an official two-day visit on the invitation of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and HE the Prime Minister of Qatar.
“Pakistan highly values its relations with Qatar. We are benefiting from each other’s experiences in various fields including defence. Pakistan cherishes the level of co-operation between the two countries and desires to further enhance defence collaboration by offering indigenous aviation products,” the Pakistan prime minister said.
The JF-17 Thunder is a light-weight, single-engine, multi-role aircraft which can be used for ground attack and air intercept. The JF-17 can deploy a variety of weapons including air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles. The aircraft is equipped with cutting edge avionics and weaponry.
“It was during our last government that development of the JF-17 aircraft was initiated. In less than a decade it has made a mark in fighter stream around the world. Today, there are four PAF Squadrons already operational,” the Pakistani premier said, adding that due to its multi role, affordability and capability; many air forces in the world are seriously looking for its induction.
“This joint venture of JF-17 Thunder, in collaboration with our Chinese friends, is no doubt a landmark achievement and a source of pride for the Pakistani nation.”
He said Pakistan is also introducing to the ‘Qatari brothers,’ the Super Mushshak trainer aircraft being used back home for decades. Almost all PAF pilots who have proved their excellence and participated in operations against terrorist hideouts, had initiated their training on this aircraft.
Super Mushaak is being manufactured completely in Pakistan and many friendly countries are operating it. Pakistan also provided training to pilots, engineers and technicians of the countries who have acquired this aircraft.
“I am confident that close defence co-operation will further strengthen our strong brotherly relations,” Sharif added.
Besides a large number of Qatari armed forces personnel, the show was witnessed by HE Chief of General Staff Qatar, Major General Ghanem bin Shaheen al-Ghanem, and other high ranking military officers from Qatar and officials of Pakistan Embassy in Doha.
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