“Spears of Victory” Air Exercise Enables Pakistan’s JF-17 to Test Capabilities Against Rafale
The presence of the Rafale jets, operated by the French Air Force, provided Pakistani JF-17 "Thunder" pilots a chance to assess their aircraft's performance against the Rafale fighters, which are also used by India, Pakistan's traditional adversary.
(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — Pakistan Air Force’s JF-17 “Thunder” fighter jets had the opportunity to test their capabilities in combat against the French Air Force’s Rafale fighter aircraft during the joint air exercise “Spear of Victory” in Saudi Arabia.
The joint air exercise, which took place from February 6 to February 18, 2024, at King Abdul Aziz Air Base in Riyadh, involved several countries.
The presence of the Rafale jets, operated by the French Air Force, provided Pakistani JF-17 “Thunder” pilots a chance to assess their aircraft’s performance against the Rafale fighters, which are also used by India, Pakistan’s traditional adversary.
The “Spears of Victory” exercise in Saudi Arabia was undoubtedly seized as an excellent opportunity by the JF-17s and the Pakistan Air Force to test their fighter jets’ performance in aerial combat scenarios, especially against the Rafale.
Currently, the Indian Air Force already possesses 36 Rafale fighter jets manufactured by the French aerospace company, Dassault Aviation, and last year, it also placed an order for 26 additional Rafales for its Navy.
Besides the Rafale, the Indian Air Force’s strength heavily relies on more than 250 Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets, which form the backbone of its aerial force.
Meanwhile, by this year or the next, the Pakistan Air Force is reported to acquire around 50 JF-17 Block 3 jets, adding to its existing fleet of 98 JF-17 Block 1 and Block 2 aircraft.
The JF-17 Block 3 jets are reported to incorporate fifth-generation Chinese fighter jet DNA from the J-20 “Mighty Dragon.”
The JF-17 “Thunder” is jointly developed by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG).
The opportunity to test against the Rafale fighters is not always available to Pakistani JF-17 fighter pilots, making the joint air exercise in Saudi Arabia particularly significant for them.
According to the Pakistan Air Force, their team in Saudi Arabia had the chance to demonstrate the JF-17 fighter jets’ combat capabilities, supported by committed crews.
“The participation of the Pakistan Air Force demonstrates their commitment to domestic and international cooperation. The Pakistan Air Force showcases its commitment while highlighting its effectiveness under highly challenging conditions,” said the Pakistan Air Force.
In addition to the Rafale and JF-17 “Thunder” from France and Pakistan, the British Air Force also sent its Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to join the exercise.
The Eurofighter Typhoons are based at RAF Coningsby in the United Kingdom.
“The ‘Spears of Victory 2024’ exercise is critical as it offers us the opportunity to collaborate with our strategic partners in the region to demonstrate our combat capabilities,” said Squadron Leader Hodgkinson, the commander of the UK delegation.
According to the British Air Force, the exercise provided them with the opportunity to plan and execute complex missions with other nations in desert weather conditions.
The “Spears of Victory” exercise also included command and control training, mission planning, and integration.
Besides Pakistan, France, and the United Kingdom, other air forces participating with their fighter jets included Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Greece, and the United States. — DSA