What Can China Learn from China-Pakistan Joint Drill?
(Source: China Military Online; issued April 13, 2016)
BEIJING --- The air forces of China and Pakistan will stage a joint exercise code-named "Eagle-V" in Pakistan from April 9 to 30, 2016. Some might say that since the majority of equipment of the Pakistani Air Force is made in China, what can China learn from the joint exercises with Pakistan?

Experts believe that the Pakistani Air Force is trained in the Western way and has long-term realistic combat experience and its own advantages and characteristics. "Learn from the experience of foreign militaries" is not entirely a line of courtesy.

According to experts, the Pakistani Air Force has received training by the U.S. Air Force and it has good records in several wars between Pakistan and India. The tactical ability of the Pakistani Air Force is relatively strong in South Asia.

The East and the West air forces have different styles in terms of the tactical thinking and specific details. Or we should say they have their own characteristics. For example, Pakistan and other air forces that have been trained by the West choose the mode of take-off one by one while the group represented by the Russian Air Force applies the mode of take-off in pairs.

Western air forces believe that in real combat situations, take-off in pairs is too risky and there’s a high chance of collision. In addition to the training courses in flight schools, the basic routine training applies the mode of take-off one by one to minimize the risk.

From the public images and photos of flight training of the Chinese Air Force, the Chinese Air Force has gradually adopted the mode of take-off one by one .

In terms of the training mode, Pakistani Air Force has already used the free air combat and other Western training methods. Thus, the Pakistani Air Force can provide reference for the Chinese Air Force from concepts to details as the Chinese Air Force has limited contact with its Western counterparts.

For pilots, more air combats with different types of aircraft from foreign militaries will help expand their horizons and improve their concepts.

The equipment of the Pakistani Air Force is generally inferior compared with that of the Chinese Air Force. Furthermore, some of the most advanced aircraft such as F-16 are not likely to participate in the joint training due to restrictions by the United States. But some Western weapons and equipment, such as air-to-air missiles, still have unique characteristics.

The equipment can change some biased concepts and views of the pilots of the Chinese Air Force as they have in long-term operated Russia-made and China-made equipment. In addition, because its equipment is not advanced enough, the Pakistani Air Force has accumulated experiences in using the second generation aircraft and other older aircraft.

Moreover, the Pakistani Air Force has participated in many combat operations and has been under the threat of war for a long time. They always maintain a high level of combat readiness and the idea of "all for combat" has been implemented rather well.

Many practices of the Pakistani Air Force are for combat considerations. For example, they rarely park dozens of fighter jets on the tarmac together because this will lead to devastating results. While some practices seem very common, they are good enough to bring experience and changes to the Chinese Air Force.

Experts believe that the Chinese Air Force has more opportunities to go out for training in recent years. And more importantly, the Chinese Air Force can get a lot of inspirations from those training, which has changed the training concept and improved the combat level of the Chinese Air Force.

In fact, the joint training is a common practice in the world. The Indian Air Force frequently hosts drills with Russian Air Force, the U.S. Air Force and the British Royal Air Force.

Even the U.S. Air Force also acknowledged that joint drills with less powerful allies can bring benefits. For example, the U.S. Air Force and the Indian Air Force have encountered in the Exercise Red Flag. This has helped the U.S. to understand Russian fighter jets such as Su-30MKI. Especially, the U.S. now has a clearer understanding of Russia's three-dimensional thrust vectoring system.


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