ISLAMABAD, Dec 17: Pakistan Air Force has integrated the H-4 out-of-sight target bombs in its arsenal of fighter aircraft, official sources said.
The incorporation of H-4 bombs have added to the capability of the PAF to hit out-of-sight targets from a distance of up to 120 kilometres to evade enemy radars during air strikes. A lighter version of the bomb, H-2 model, can hit the out-of-sight targets from a range of up to 60 kilometres.
“It is a step towards adding the Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles to our arsenal for defensive purposes and to address the strategic imbalance in the region,” sources said.
The indigenously produced H-4 bombs is an achievement of the National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM), which works in close collaboration with Pakistan Missile Organization and the Air Weapons Complex.
“Three successful tests of H-4, with the latest conducted this year, produced satisfactory results leading to addition of arsenal in the fighter jets,” the sources said.
The H-4 bombs have been made through indigenous efforts by modifying the technological design of South African T-Darter BVR missiles. Till the induction of JF-17 Thunder in 2006, with a provision for BVRs, the H-2 and H-4 bombs could be carried by Mirage fighter jets. The H-4 infrared device is said to be comparable to that of the AA11, AA12 and Python 4 in the Indian arsenal.
Moreover, the sources said, fighter aircraft in PAF’s arsenal have the “provision” to be fitted with precision-guided munitions and BVR missiles.
When asked about advantages of BVR in Indian arsenal, PAF spokesperson Air Commodore Sarfaraz said: “We are aggressively trying to utilize whatever equipment we have to its optimum operational limits through professional training and by pursuing high standards of maintenance.”
Mr Sarfaraz said: “We are aware of our technological needs and are vigorously trying to meet those requirements either through procurements or indigenous developments.”
The European and the US suppliers were currently not willing to share the technology with Pakistan. However, contacts were being established with China, defence sources said, adding that JF-17 Thunder (to be inducted in 2006), F-16s and the Mirage aircraft in Pakistan’s fleet all had the provision to be fitted with BVRs once the technology and the missiles would be acquired.