ISLAMABAD - The Joint International Air Exercise “Shaheen-III” conducted between Pakistan Air Force and People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) culminated at an operational air base of Pakistan Air Force here on Tuesday.
Air Marshal Sohail Aman, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff (Operations), was the chief guest at the closing ceremony.
During three weeks duration of Shaheen-III air exercise, PAF and PLAAF participated with modern fighter jets and support elements. Following the rich tradition of PAF leadership to lead from the front, Air Marshal Sohail Aman, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff (Operations), also flew an offensive strike mission package. A six-member PLAAF delegation led by Major General Zhan Houshun, Commander of Chengdu Regional Air Force Command, witnessed the exercise on the last day and participated in a simple yet graceful closing ceremony.
Major General Zhan Houshun, leader of the PLAAF delegation, expressed gratitude on behalf of commander PLAAF who is also member of Chinese Military Command to Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force, for sanctioning Shaheen-III Air Exercise. While addressing the closing ceremony he said, “PAF has conducted joint exercises with foreign air forces for a long time, obtained great achievements, demonstrated first rate training level and combat efficiency and gained rich experiences that are worth to learn and draw lessons from.” He said that they were deeply impressed by PAF’s aggressive combat style and brave fighting spirit and greatly moved by the “train as you fight” training principle and streamlined efficient training approach.
“We admire your superb and all round flying skill and outstanding tactical expertise. We have learnt a lot from you which will bring a whole new inspiration to the innovation and development of PLAAF’s military training,” he added.
He further said, “I am sure that the closure of joint training is not an end but a new starting point which will deepen, broaden and promote the friendship, exchanges and cooperation between China and Pakistan, the two armed forces and specially the two Air Forces”.
The three weeks duration air exercise was designed to further strengthen the existing exemplary bonds between two air forces, learn modern air warfare mechanics and share operational thoughts among pilots, radar controllers and other team members.
The PAF regularly undertakes similar operational exercises both inland and abroad to remain abreast with challenges and response strategies faced by air power in changing threat environment, says an official handout issued by PAF. It says that PAF participation in bi and multi-lateral foreign exercises with leading and brotherly Air Forces of the region has rendered invaluable experience to its combat pilots and radar controllers; who earned respect in each exercise because of their professional conduct, excellent safety practices and ability to mutually learn.
The PAF so far has held operational exercises with air forces of United States, Turkey, China, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Egypt and few others.