Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) participated in joint aerial Exercise Zilzal-II, which commenced on January 10, 2024, in Qatar. First held in the year 2020, Zilzal-II air exercise is the second in the series of these exercises, hosted by the State of Qatar. The exercise is one of the most complex joint air force exercises, which aims at promoting interoperability between the two allied nations while providing an opportunity for shared learning. The exercise will mimic a near realistic aerial warfare scenario coupled with real-time opportunity for the participating Air Forces to test their operational readiness. Exercise Zilzal-II, aimed at improving joint planning mechanism, is considered as a historical benchmark to further solidify the existing defense partnership between the two brotherly countries.
During the exercise, PAF's newly inducted state-of-the-art J-10C fighter aircraft flexed its muscles against Eurofighter jets of QEAF in their first ever face-off in an aerial exercise. The successful induction and operationalization of the J-10C fighter jets in PAF's fighter fleet and their participation in yet another international exercise in an unprecedented short span of time is a remarkable achievement. The feat has been achieved in lines with the modernization plan of Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Zaheer Ahmed Baber Sidhu, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Pakistan Air Force (PAF), premised on smart inductions and focused indigenization. The participation of these fighter jets in the aerial exercise marks a significant milestone in PAF's journey towards a technologically advanced and formidable air force. The rapid acquisition and operationalization of these advanced fighter aircraft showcases PAF's dedication to maintaining a cutting-edge force, capable of meeting evolving challenges and defending Pakistan's airspace with utmost proficiency.
Exercise Zilzal-II serves as a platform to foster greater understanding, cooperation and friendship between PAF and QEAF, contributing to regional stability and security. PAF remains committed to its mission of safeguarding the skies, strengthening international alliances and promoting peace through mutual cooperation.