(Global military news) On April 9, Chinese Air Force Spokesperson Colonel Shen Jinke announced that China and Pakistan Air Force will conduct a joint training exercise “Shaheen (Eagle)-V” in Pakistan from April 9 to April 30. According to reports, Air Force pilots will fly out of the country for joint training to learn from the experience of foreign militaries, examine the innovations achieved in military strategy and enhance the level of armed forces’ combat training. Few people question that since many of the main combat equipments used by Pakistan’s Air Force are manufactured in China and the quality of the equipments falls far below the level of Chinese Air Force, is there something that Chinese pilots can learn from a joint military exercise with Pakistan? Experts believe that Pakistan’s Air Force, which has been trained by the Air Force of Western countries and has actual combat experience, has its own advantages and characteristics. “Learning from others’ experience” is not entirely a polite expression.
According to experts, Pakistan Air Force has been trained by the United States Air Force and they were also successful during the several India-Pakistan wars. Pakistan Air Force’s tactical ability, among the air forces of other countries in South Asia, is comparatively stronger. According to reports whether it is tactical thought process or other specific details, Eastern and Western air forces have very different styles of functioning. It can be said that each have their own characteristic. For example, Air Forces trained by Western countries, like Pakistan Air Force often use the mode of single aircraft successive take-offs, while the group represented by the Russian Air Force adopts the mode of taking off in pairs. Western Air Force considers that in real combat situations, taking off in pairs is too risky as it can easily lead to collisions. Therefore except for flying school’s training courses, during the routine training they adopt the mode of single aircraft successive take-offs in order to minimize the risk. From the current publicly available pictures and images of the Chinese Air Force training, the Chinese Air force has also gradually adopted the mode of single aircraft successive take-offs. In training, Pakistan Air Force from very early on has been using Western training methods like free aerial combat. Therefore, from concept to details, the Pakistani Air force can provide reference for the Chinese Air Force which has limited contact with its Western counterparts.
Secondly, for air force pilots, more aerial combats with different types of aircrafts from foreign militaries can expand their horizons and change their concepts. Pakistan’s military equipment is generally inferior compared with that of the Chinese Air Force and their most advanced air planes like the F-16s, are unlikely to participate in the training due to restrictions by the United States. However, some western military equipment like air-to-air missiles still has unique characteristics. These equipment can change some of the biased concepts and views of the Chinese pilots formed out of the long term contact with the Russia-made and China-made equipment. Furthermore, because the equipment is not that advanced, Pakistani Air Force has accumulated experiences in using the older version aircrafts like the second generation aircrafts.
Additionally, Pakistan’s Air Force has participated in combat many times and being continuously under the threat of war, they have maintained a high level of combat readiness for a long time. And the idea of “everything for real combat” has been implemented rather well. Many methods used by Pakistan’s air force are adopted for combat considerations. For example, they rarely park dozens of aircrafts on the tarmac together as it will easily lead to devastating results in an attack. Though some methods appear very common, they are good enough to bring enlightenment and transformation to the Chinese Air Force.
Experts believe that in the past few years, Chinese Air Force has had many opportunities to go abroad for training, from diplomatic point of view; China’s circle of friends is becoming wider. Even more important is the knowledge obtained from training which has indeed brought a change in the training philosophy and the actual combat readiness of Chinese Air Force. In fact, joint training is a common practice of different air forces in the world. Indian Air Force often organizes drills with air forces of Russia, US and the UK. US air force even acknowledges that, joint drills with less powerful allies can also bring benefits. For example, US air force has many times fought with Indian Air Force in their “red flag” military exercises which actually helped US air force to understand Russian made SU-30 MKI’s performance. Especially, the U.S now has a clearer understanding of its three dimensional thrust vectoring system.