The Pakistani Air Force inducted the first squadron of JF-17 Thunder multi-role combat aircraft it jointly developed with China as part of its efforts to maintain a "balance" of conventional forces in the region.
The formal induction ceremony of the JF-17 Thunder jets was held at one of the PAF's operational bases, an official statement said. PAF chief Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman was the chief guest at the event.
"We are a peaceful nation with no aggressive designs and want to maintain peace with honour in our region. We are inducting new systems to keep pace with technology and maintain a credible conventional balance of force, without which peace cannot be ensured in South Asia,"Suleman said in his address.
The PAF has invested in force multipliers like air-to-air refuelling aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and airborne early warning and control aircraft to enhance its "capacity and capability to undertake complex operations," he said.
Suleman said the JF-17 jets would be put through their paces in the forthcoming Hi-Mark 2010 exercise. Officials said JF-17 Thunder has the ability to "undertake the entire spectrum of offensive and defensive missions."