Tuesday, January 28, 2014

An Explanation

If I was suspicious or simply figured Saudi Arabia has no confidence in our ability to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, I'd figure the Saudis want Pakistani-Chinese fighter planes in order to deliver nuclear bombs. But I'm sure there is a good reason that the Saudis are thinking of buying the JF-17 from Pakistan.


After Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Salman Bin Sultan visits Pakistan and tours the JF-17 production complex, the World Tribune reports that:

“…officials said representatives of the ministry as well as the Royal Saudi Air Force were examining the feasibility of procuring JF-17 as part of cooperation with Islamabad. “This project could provide the kingdom with technology that could be used in future projects,” an official said.”

The JF-17 isn't the best fighter aircraft that money can buy:

The JF-17 is a joint Chinese-Pakistani project that aimed to reduce Pakistan’s dependence on western firms for advanced fighters, by fielding a low-cost multi-role lightweight fighter that can host modern electronics and precision-guided weapons. It isn’t a top-tier competitor, but it represents a clear step up from Pakistan’s Chinese MiG-19/21 derivatives and French Mirage fighters.

Saudi Arabia has the money to buy the best. So this doesn't make sense, right?

[There’s] no real hole in the RSAF that JF-17s need to fill.

I beg to differ.

Sure, there is speculation that Saudi Arabia could use Pakistani nuclear warheads on Saudi Arabia's Chinese-supplied ballistic missiles in order to counter an Iranian nuclear arsenal.

But it would be technologically easier to drop atomic bombs--or fire short-range air-to-surface nuclear missiles--than outfit nuclear ballistic missiles.

Iran's air defenses aren't that great, remember. And it is a short flight across the Persian Gulf.

And while Western countries would surely not help adapt their planes for nuclear weapons, I'm going to guess that Pakistan would have no problem doing that.

So this could be why Saudi Arabia wants the JF-17.

But I could be overly suspicious and/or underestimate Saudi confidence in our ability to stop Iran.

Maybe the Saudis really want to develop their own aircraft industry by getting the technical specs on a plane judged "a clear step up" from the Chinese derivatives of the ancient Mig-19 and Mig-21 and the Mirage fighter which covered itself in glory in 1967 in the Israeli Air Force.

It's kind of funny, you must admit. Not only is it highly likely that our foreign policy will allow Iran to nuclear, but our policy is making sure that Saudi Arabia either goes nuclear first or a very close second.

Have a super sparkly day.