The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has introduced the Chinese-made “Karakoram Eagle “airborne early warning aircraft.
The official commissioning ceremony was held at the Pakistan Air Force’s Masroor Base, near Karachi, in the presence of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and the aircraft will be operated by No. 4 Squadron based there.
The aircraft, a variant developed to Pakistani requirements and designated ZDK-03, is equipped a Chinese AESA radar mounted on the Shaanxi Y-8F600 four turboprop transport aircraft. Pakistani websites say the radar has a greater range than that of the PAF's other AEW&C aircraft, the Saab 2000 Erieye.
The ZDK-03 is also reportedly equipped with a sophisticated ESM system that can intercept and analyze signals from airborne and surface emitters.
"With the addition of AWACS, Pakistan air defence is now able to look deeper in enemy territory, be it land or sea," the air force said in a statement, adding that it can detect aerial as well as sea surface targets at a fairly long distances regardless of their altitude.
"After an early detection, AWACS can direct own fighter aircraft to intercept or neutralise the emerging threat, well before it can threaten our national assets. AWACS ability of detecting sea targets would also enhance the capabilities of Pakistan Navy," it said.