Chinese, Pakistani air forces wrap up Shaheen-VIII joint exercises

ISLAMABAD - Chinese and Pakistani air forces wrapped up the half-month-long Shaheen VIII joint exercises in northwestern China, during which systematic mock battles were conducted for the first time.

Multiple types of warplanes, surface-to-air missiles and radar installations from the two air forces took part in the mock battles, according to a statement issued by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force.

The red team was from China’s air force, and the blue team was a combination of Chinese and Pakistani troops.

About 50 warplanes, including fighter jets and early warning aircraft took part in the mock battles consisting of seizing air superiority and ground attack.

This marked an unprecedented joint exercise between China and a foreign country with the most number of personnel, types of weapons and combat units involved, the statement said. During the exercises, pilots from both countries also boarded each other’s warplanes and discussed combat techniques. Chinese warplanes including J-10, J-11, J-16, Su-30 fighter jets, JH-7 fighter bombers and KJ-500 early warning aircraft participated in the exercises.

The Shaheen series joint exercises started as a one-on-one dogfight, but now it has evolved into systematic mock battles featuring more warplanes, multiple military branches which include ground forces that deploy missiles and electronic countermeasures, Xin Xin, commander of the red team air formation said.

From Shaheen I to Shaheen VIII, both air forces have improved combat capabilities in learning from each other, and the Chinese air force will continue to boost friendship, exchanges and cooperation between the two to higher levels, the statement said.

It may be mentioned that the joint training between the air forces of all-weather friends was held in Pakistan last year.   It was attended by a contingent of the Chinese air force, comprising combat pilots, air defense controllers and technical ground crew along with fighter jets, bombers and early warning AWACS planes. The joint exercise is conducted each year in both countries on alternate basis.

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