Pakistan has formally announced its acquisition of China’s J-10C multirole light fighter, with 25 jets scheduled for delivery in time to be displayed at the Pakistan Day parade on March 23.
Pakistani Interior Minister Rasheed Ahmed said the Chinese-made fighters would serve as a counter to India’s French-built Rafale fighters, first purchased in 2015 with an initial order of 36 units. At present, 30 Rafale jets have been delivered to India, with the remaining six slated for delivery by April 2022.
Pakistan’s interest in the J-10C spans more than a decade, driven by a need to complement its existing US-made F-16 fighters when additional acquisition of the type became unlikely due to bilateral tensions. Pakistan first acquired F-16s in 1981 and currently operates 66 units. Alongside the F-16, Pakistan also operates older Chinese fighters such as the J-7 and JF-17.