Pakistan on Thursday voiced concern over the acquisition of Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) aircraft by India and said it would counter the threat by inducting 500 American Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles.
Claiming that induction of AWACS by India would trigger a new arms race in the subcontinent, Pakistan's Air chief Air Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman said Islamabad would match this capability by acquiring its own AWACS by September this year.
The Air chief told newsmen in Risalpur that Pakistan was also procuring more US-made F-16 fighter aircraft.
Suleman was commenting on reports that India had inducted the first of its three Phalcon AWACS into the Indian Air Force.
Pakistan is proposing to buy a Swedish SAAB Ericsson AWACS, which however, have a limited range as compared to the Phalcons.
The Air Chief said PAF was supporting the military in its ongoing operations in Swat and Malakand in NWFP. "PAF had destroyed several Taliban hideouts and caches of ammunition to pave the way for rapid advance by ground forces in Swat."
Asked about whether Pakistan had capability to shoot down drones, Suleman said "definitely" and cited the shooting down of an Indian surveillance plane in 2002 near Lahore.