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First AWACS aircraft formally inducted in Pak Air Force

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Three more Saab-2000 aircraft are expected to be delivered to Pakistan in 2010.

ISLAMABAD (PTI): Pakistan on Tuesday formally inducted its first airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft as the air force chief unveiled plans for future acquisitions aimed at bolstering the country's air-power and ability to tackle diverse threats.

The Saab-2000 aircraft, fitted with an Erieye radar system, was inducted into the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) during a ceremony held at an airbase at Kamra in Punjab province.

Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman said the aircraft is meant to defend Pakistan's airspace and will not destabilise regional security as a number of its neighbours have similar systems.

The surveillance aircraft is capable of detecting and identifying aircraft well before they enter Pakistani airspace, Suleman said, adding it is also capable of detecting moving targets on the ground.

Three more such surveillance aircraft ordered from Sweden will be delivered in 2010.

Pakistan is in negotiations with China for four more AWACS aircraft and these are expected to be inducted by 2012, Suleman said.

Negotiations are also being conducted with China for acquiring J-10 combat aircraft, he said.

The first PAF squadron equipped with JF-17 Thunder aircraft developed jointly by Pakistan and China will be operational by June next year, Suleman told reporters.

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