Pakistan-Turkey Team Up Against India – Ankara To Help Convert PAF’s Bombardier Global 6000 Into A Jamming Aircraft

Keeping pace with the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) modernization through the acquisition of French Rafales and indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas MK1A, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is gearing up to convert its lone Bombardier Global 6000 into a stand-off jamming (SOJ) aircraft with help from Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). 

Inducted in the PAF in 2022 for VIP transport duties, it would serve as a special mission aircraft. PAF’s need stems from the force’s learning from ‘Operation Swift Retort’ conducted against India in 2019 in response to the Indian Air Force’s cross-border Balakot strikes.

According to Quwa, PAF knows that “any future incursion into India” will be met with “a greater increase in air and surface-based threats,” hinting at IAF’s acquisition of Russian S-400 ‘Growler.’

The IAF has placed a massive order for LCA Mk1A, “a nimble and highly maneuverable lightweight fighter configured with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) and EW/ECM suite, set to replace the aging MiG-21 Bisons.

“Not only would it perform exponentially far better than the MiG-21, but it would also be a credible threat to any PAF fighter crossing the border, including the newly inducted J-10CE or prized F-16 Block-52,” the report said.

“In addition, the IAF will also have the Dassault Rafale, upgraded Sukhoi Su-30MKI, and an array of advanced medium-range and long-range surface-to-air missiles (SAM) at its disposal. Finally, the assets will be tied together into a counter-response completely unlike anything in 2019,” the report added.

Bombardier Global 6000
File Image: Bombardier Global 6000

The first hint was that PAF intended to convert the Global 6000 into a special mission aircraft in its latest calendar, where the VIP ferrying aircraft was labeled as an electronic warfare platform. The PAF’s unofficial publication – ‘Second-to-None’ – confirmed these plans.

The decision for the conversion came after the PAF realized the power of Electronic Warfare from Operation Swift Retort. During the mission, PAF deployed a large force comprising multirole fighters, attack fighters, and several special mission aircraft, namely the Falcon DA-20 EW aircraft and Saab 2000-based Erieye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft.

Learning From Balakot Strikes

The Balakot episode laid bare the tactical gaps for the PAF and the Pakistani military. The IAF could easily conduct the strikes deep into Pakistan’s territory, shocking the military establishment.

Also, the strikes happened during peacetime, negating the idea of nuclear deterrence. Till 2019, Pakistan had assumed that its nuclear weapons would prevent military strikes by India as it could lead to escalation. But India undertook the strikes, ignoring the nuclear umbrella.

The year 2019 made Pakistan realize that nuclear weapons alone would not deter India’s punitive strikes and started investing in conventional capabilities based on land, sea, and air. In other words, conventional deterrence has become imperative for Pakistan despite economic woes.

The PAF’s modernization plans for this decade are driven by three factors: Pakistan’s experience from Operation Balakot against India in 2019, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War, and the increasing availability of advanced military technology from key partners like China and Turkey.

The goal is to build air wings dedicated to long-range airstrikes and air interdiction, dissuading potential adversaries from repeating operations like the Balakot strike.

Considering that  TAI has been roped in to convert the Global 6000, it is assumed that the force will acquire the Aselsan HAVSOJ suite that Turkey uses to configure its four Global 6000s for the Turkish Air Force. The Aselsan HAVASOJ is equipped for three core EW missions: radar jamming, communications jamming, and electronic intelligence (ELINT).

For radar jamming, the HAVASOJ uses transceivers to jam enemy radars by recording their transmission frequencies and re-transmitting them using the same signal. The HAVASOJ is equipped with digital radar frequency memory (DRFM) systems to help achieve this capability.

File Image

In the ELINT role, the HAVASOJ would monitor an area for all enemy radar and communications transmissions. It will record that information in a ‘threat library,’ which would later feed electronic countermeasures (ECM) tasks, namely radar and communications jamming.

However, the PAF has yet to finalize the Aselsan HAVASOJ. There may be still an opportunity for other vendors to enter the fray. According to the report, it is also possible that the PAF is exploring a customized version of the HAVASOJ that is equipped for only one or two of the EW roles.

“In this scenario, the PAF would likely prioritize radar jamming ahead of the other functions (which can be delegated to other aircraft, like the Falcon DA-20s, drones, and land-based EW systems),” the report adds.

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The Air Defense Gap

Another capability gap Pakistan had in 2019 was a lack of surface-to-air missiles of sufficient range. In Operation Swift Retort, PAF relied heavily on its fighter fleet to deny access to enemy aircraft. The longest-range vector in PAF’s fleet was the MBDA Spada 2000-Plus, which had a range of 20 km.

PAF’s surface-to-air missiles have been deployed to protect strategic assets and not to deter enemy air activity. Since 2019, the PAF has not only invested in getting new fighter jets but has also built a new and robust ground-based air defense system (GBADS).

Ukraine’s effective use of GBADS to restrict the enemy’s air power impressed Pakistan’s decision-maker to invest in adequate air defense.

However, it is worth noting that in addition to medium- and long-range SAMs, the PAF also set the groundwork for leveraging directed energy weapons and passive air defense measures. This was likely done to address the threat of loitering munitions and swarming drones.

The new PAF GBADS is a multi-layered system comprising long-range, medium-range, and short-range SAMs plus other active and passive anti-air systems, such as directed energy weapons (DEW) and electronic attack (EA) systems.

  • Ritu Sharma has been a journalist for over a decade, writing on defense, foreign affairs, and nuclear technology.
  • The author can be reached at ritu.sharma (at)
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