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ATTOCK, Oct 12: Saudi Arabia is looking forward to developing and strengthening cooperation with Pakistan in defence sector through transfer of technology and exchange of expertise.

This was stated by Saudi Deputy Defence Minister Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud while speaking as chief guest at a colourful ceremony held to hand over two Super Mushak aircraft to the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra on Tuesday.

Prince Khalid said Pakistani defence organizations in general and Air Force in particular, enjoyed an excellent professional reputation in Saudi Arabia. He said it was a historic moment that Saudi Arabia was entering the first ever aircraft sale contract with Pakistan. The recent export orders for Super Mushak not only testify PAC's commitment, but also endorse the trust gained by the organization in the international aviation market.

He said the PAC had made tremendous efforts to establish itself as a hub of aviation industry in Pakistan. It has greatly improved the quality of its products and their reliability, and potential for designing and development.

Prince Khalid said self-reliance was even more desirable in key technologies for defence production to ensure an uninterrupted supply of products and services. The chief guest also appreciated PAC Chairman Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Aurangzeb Khan and Aircraft Manufacturing Factory (AMF) Managing Director Air Cdre Zakir Hussain on the timely and successful execution of the contract with the RSAF.

Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister Defence Production Habibullah Warraich praised the achievements of the AMF Kamra in establishing itself as a recognized equipment manufacturer. He said the PAF had always taken pride in the rapid development of the PAC component factories.

Competing with European and American aircraft manufacturers, and coming out with flying colours should be a matter of great pride for the PAC, he added. Super Mushak with its present configuration is one of the best aircraft in its class due to its excellent quality, high safety rate and exceptional performance, he said.

The minister said the PAC had immense potential to grow, and it was a prime organization in the country for the production, repair and overhaul of military aircraft and their equipment.

Earlier, highlighting the achievements and different features of PAC, AVM Aurangzeb Khan said his organization had come a long way since its inception three decades ago.

He said starting with the F-16 Rebuild Factory in 1972, the PAC had grown in capability, responsibility, expertise and confidence. Today, the F-16 Rebuild Factory overhauls six different types of Chinese-origin fighter aircraft and all their components.

The PAC saw the Mirage Rebuild Factory come up in 1974, which now looks after the repair and avionics upgradation of Mirage III. Kamra Avionics and Radar Factory was established in 1989 and, today, it rebuilds and overhauls electronics equipment like low-level radars, control and reporting centre, power generators, and radar warning receivers. In addition to this, it co-produces air borne intercept radars for F-7P Aircraft.

The chairman said the AMF was also proud to have participated in design development and co-production of Karakorum-8 aircraft with China. The idea of Super Mushak was conceived, when it was felt that more powerful engine would improve the aircraft's much- needed flight parameters in various regimes, he said. Therefore, its value per sorties was enhanced, thus giving it an edge over its contemporary aircraft, he added.

He said according to the contract, 20 Super Mushak aircraft would be provided to the RSAF, out of which six had already been delivered. Like Saudi Arabia, many other friendly countries are in active negotiation with the PAC for its products and services, he said.

Later, the aircraft handing over documents were signed by AVM Aurangzeb Khan and RSAF Chief Air Marshal Abdul Rehman Al Fahad Al Faisal. A significant feature of the ceremony was a colourful air display of "Sherdil Formation" of Super Mushak and K-8 jet trainer aircraft.

Prominent among those who attended the ceremony were Defence Minister Rao Sikander Iqbal, Minister for State for Environment Malik Amin Aslam, Defence Export Promotion Bureau Chairman Maj-Gen Syed Ali Hamid and Secretary Defence Production Division Air Marshall (retired) Zahid Anis.

Meanwhile, the Saudi deputy defence minister visited the AMF, Radar, Mirage and F-6 rebuild factories of the PAC, and took keen interest in the activities of various departments.