August 20, 2015 Muhammad Saleh Zaafir
In a gesture of goodwill, Turkey has decided to provide 34 jet trainers to Pakistan as a gift. The Northrop T-38 Talon is a two-seat, twin-engine supersonic jet trainer and it was the world’s first supersonic trainer and also the most produced.
The T-38 remains in service as of 2015 in air forces throughout the world. The decision was conveyed by Turkish Commander of Air Force General Abidin Unal to his counterpart in Pakistan Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman when they met recently.
It is likely the planes would be handed over to Pakistan before the end of the year. Highly placed sources of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) told The News here other day that the supply of 34 planes will reduce financial burden on the PAF and the planes will cater to PAF needs at least for the next 10 years.
T-38M is a modernised Turkish Air Force T-38A with full glass cockpit and avionics, upgraded by Turkish Aerospace Industries under the project. The US Air Force is using T-38M extensively and about 50,000 pilots have got training on this type of plane. One plane costs US $5.879 million as it is a US made machine that is being used world over including Nasa.
The sources said that Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman would go to Turkey to receive the gift from the Turkish Air Force. The sources said that Pakistan would keep upgrading its JF-17 Thunder multirole fighter plane which is attracting buyers world over.
Pakistan has also initiated search for the most sophisticated multi-role fifth generation plane and for the purpose Sweden, American, Turkish and some European planes are being examined. India is acquiring planes of fifth generation although it has reduced its order from 126 to 36 and that deal too is facing snags. It is expected that Pakistan would also acquire fifth generation fighter-bomber planes for its air force, the sources added.