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Pakistan eyes on Thales' Damocles targeting pod for its JF-17 fighter jets

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World Defense & Security News - Pakistan
 
 
Pakistan eyes on Thales' Damocles targeting pod for its JF-17 fighter jets
 
Pakistan wants to upgrade its ageing fleet of fighter jets in anticipation of a prolonged battle against militants, although the purchase of fifth-generation planes would only be a last resort, a country's senior air force official said in an interview with Reuters. The second-in-command of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) revealed that the PAF was seeking the Damocles targeting pod for use on the JF-17 Thunder.
     
Pakista eyes on Thales Damocles targeting pod for its JF 17 fighter jets 640 001Thales Damocles 3rd gen targeting pod
     
Pakistan plans to produce 16 JF-17 fighter jets this year with a further 20 in 2017, but Arain acknowledged that the jets’ usefulness in current operations was limited because it lacks precision targeting.

Operationally, the aircraft are working pretty well so if we had a targeting pod on the JF-17, the burden would be shared,” Arain said.

He said his visit to Paris was in part aimed at assessing from French officials the prospects of supplying the Thales-made Damocles, a third-generation targeting pod. He said that was Islamabad’s priority for now.

Previous negotiations in 2010 for a deal worth $1.6 billion worth of electronics and missiles collapsed under pressure from India, uncertainty over Pakistan’s finances and fears of the transfer of technology given Chinese involvement in the JF-17.

We’re looking at the best option. The Damocles is a battle-proven system and the other options are not,” Arain said. “If we do not get the Damocles pod for example, then we will need to look for alternate options that may not be proven.

The Damocles is a 3rd generation targeting pod designed and produced by Thales. Damocles features a long-range laser designator, an integrated navigation FLIR and high-resolution imagery, and is fully compatible with Paveway and BGL laser-guided bombs, imagery-guided weapons, and AASM GPS/INS/LASER-guided weapons. It has already been inducted in six air forces : France, Malaysia, Morocco, Russia, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

He said that in the long run, the air force was thinking about its needs beyond 2030 when F-16s and JF-17s would start to be replaced.

The United States in February approved the sale to Pakistan of up to eight F-16 fighter jets for the short term, but Arain said even that was proving complicated.

It’s a much cheaper fighter jet, but buying more F-16s is economically not feasible for us and then there is a lot of human outcry,” he said.

(Source: Reuters)

     
Pakistan eyes on Thales Damocles targeting pod for its JF 17 fighter jets 640 001A PAF JF-17 Thunder fighter jet