Number 4 Squadron, one of the premier squadrons of the PAF, has been re-equipped with state of the art Chinese built Karakoram Eagle AWACS (Shaanxi ZDK-03) aircraft. A historic ceremony in this regard was held at an operational PAF Base today. Prime Minister of Pakistan, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was the Chief Guest at the occasion. Governor Sindh Dr. Irshat ul Ibad, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Ambassador of Peoples republic of China Mr Sun Weidong, General Rashad Mahmood, Chairman Joint Chiefs of staff Committee, Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force, High ranking Officials from Ministry of Defence & Defence Forces and ex Squadron Commanders of 4 Squadron, were also present at the occasion.
The proceedings of the historic event commenced with a parade which was reviewed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The Chief Guest also presented the Squadron Colour to the squadron commander in recognition of the meritorious services of the squadron ever since its inception in August 1959.
Speaking at the occasion, the Prime Minister said, “History of Pakistan Air Force is replete with acts of heroism, sacrifices and professionalism. PAF due to its saga of feats of gallantry has made its niche amongst the comity of finest Air Forces of the world. Moreover, PAF has always proven equal to the task even in the most challenging times and has measured up to the expectations of the nation. The fast emerging threat posed by the forces of extremism and militancy is another menace that needs to be eliminated before it brings any more damage to our progression, social fiber, international image and national security. I am happy that PAF has contributed tremendously in the operations against the miscreants and has always remained steadfast in safeguarding national security against any threat be it external or internal. The whole nation takes great pride in the significant successes achieved by PAF in the precise targeting of terrorists’ hideouts.” He further said, “Pakistan is a peace-loving country, and pursues peaceful relations with international community specially our neighbors. However, we stand determined to safeguard our national interests and uphold our sovereignty against any aggressor.”
Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt, Chief of Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force while addressing at the occasion, said “The event is not only a significant moment for the Squadron and the PAF, it is in fact an occasion when each Pakistani can feel proud and reassured that Pakistan Air Force, in line with Quaid’s vision of being “Second to None”, is equipped with technologically advanced weapon systems. Re-equipping the Squadron with this state-of-the-art aircraft will Insha Allah enable PAF to effectively counter all threats against Pakistan’s aerial frontiers and add a new dimension to the National security.” He further said, “Induction of Karakoram Eagle AWACS would revolutionize PAF’s operational concepts. With its induction, PAF is transforming into a modern versatile and capability based force.”
Later on, a short documentary on the history and milestones achieved by the squadron over the years was shown to the guests. A formation of Karakoram Eagle aircraft also presented a fly past.
Karakorum Eagle AWACS can detect aerial as well as sea surface targets at fairly long ranges regardless of their height. It maintains link with ground command and control centers to provide comprehensive air picture. With the addition of AWACS, Pakistan Air Defense is now able to look deeper in enemy territory, be it land or sea. After an early detection, AWACS can direct own fighter aircraft to intercept or neutralize 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.