Pakistan air force today inducted the advanced China-built Karakoram Eagle AWACS aircraft, capable of detecting hostile aerial and sea surface targets far before ground-based radars regardless of their height.
Pakistan Air Force (PAF) said the new aircraft were inducted into its premier No 4 Squadron at ceremony held at an operational PAF base in Karachi.
"With the addition of AWACS, Pakistan air defence is now able to look deeper in enemy territory, be it land or sea," the air force said.
The Karakorum Eagle Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) can detect aerial as well as sea surface targets at a fairly long distance regardless of their height, it said.
The aircraft maintains link with ground command and control centres to provide comprehensive air picture.
"After an early detection, AWACS can direct own fighter aircraft to intercept or neutralise the emerging threat, well before it can threaten our national assets. AWACS ability of detecting sea targets would also enhance the capabilities of Pakistan Navy," it said.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was the chief guest at the induction ceremony, said the PAF has always proved equal to the task even in the most challenging times and has measured up to the expectations of the nation.
He said the fast emerging threat posed by the forces of extremism and militancy is a menace that must be eliminated before it brings any more damage to our progression, social fibre, international image and national security.
"I am happy that PAF has contributed tremendously in the operations against the miscreants and has always remained steadfast in safeguarding national security against any threat be it external or internal," he said.
"The whole nation takes great pride in the significant successes achieved by PAF in the precise targeting of terrorists' hideouts."
Sharif said Pakistan is a peace-loving country, and pursues peaceful relations with international community, specially with neighbours.
"However, we stand determined to safeguard our national interests and uphold our sovereignty against any aggressor," he said.
Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt termed the induction a significant moment for the PAF.
"Re-equipping the Squadron with this state-of-the-art aircraft will enable PAF to effectively counter all threats against Pakistan's aerial frontiers and add a new dimension to the National security," he said.
"Induction of Karakoram Eagle AWACS would revolutionise PAF's operational concepts. With its induction, PAF is transforming into a modern versatile and capability based force," Butt said.