Pakistan as a Major Non-Nato Ally (MNNA) and a founding member of SEATO and CENTO has not been given a single Predator or Reaper. Pakistan has an indigenous UAV capacity, but its drones cannot fire armaments.
At present the laser guided technology helps it to identify targets and then relay that information to a helicopter gunship or a plane. Islamabad is in desperate need of UAV which can fire at the target. Need predicates development, and necessity is the mother of invention. It is like being under sanction. Pakistan was under sanctions when it designed and built the JF-17 Thunder with the Chinese. Now the latest UAVis being built with Turkish and Chinese help. Pakistan’s latest UAV is called the Burraq named after a mythical flying horse.
The Burraq is based on the Falco – SELEX GALILEO technology. We produce information on the Selix Galileo so that an adequate comparison can be made with the Burraq.
Pakistan requested predator drones for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) so that the Pakistanis could monitor the 2500 kilometer long Durand Line. The request was refused. Pakistan also requested helicopters, and asked the USA to launch a satellite for Pakistan. The requests fell on deaf ears. Pakistan also requested 80,000 M-16s or Klashnikovs for the Frontier Corps who are still using WW2 vintage rifles. The guns have still not arrived. However Pakistan was asked to “Do More.”
THE LETHAL PAKISTANI BURRAQ IS THE PREDATOR EQUIVANT: The Burraq is capable of reconnaissance and missile attacks:
"PAC engineers have been working on the first UAV project of the country for two years," according to a report published on the aviation industry Flightglobal website in August. Pakistan is also reported to be flight-testing the Burraq, named for a winged-horse type creature in Islamic tradition. The Burraq is to be equipped with National Engineering and Scientific Commission (or NESCom) designed laser designator and laser-guided missiles. Unlike the Falco, Burraq will be able to attack and destroy targets.
Pakistan has now virtually become a member of the club of countries manufacturing drones. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) desperately needs UAVs capable of firing at targeted militants.
The Falco, with an autonomous navigation and control system, has a standard control link range of 200 kilometers and is capable of short take-offs from semi-prepared airstrips. Among its prominent features are automatic take-off and landing, fully redundant and fault-tolerant control systems and near-real-time target image processing.
Selex Galileo has test flown a Falco at the company's UAV test facility at ParcAberporth in west Wales in the UK. The vehicle was equipped with the active electronically scanned array PicoSAR and an infrared sensor. The high-resolution SAR (synthetic-aperture radar) makes the radar particularly useful for detecting disturbances in ground surface.
Burraq is the country's latest domestically produced UAV, is based on the Falco-Selex Galileo technology and is believed to be intended as the Pakistan's main equivalent to the American Predator.
The drones' capabilities are being put at the disposal of the Pakistani forces, giving them experience in the effective use of the machines and their successful deployment.
THE SURVEILLANCE PAKISTANI UQQAB CAN FLY 5.5 HOURS: Some analysts believe that Pakistan is manufacturing the latest UAVs with the help of Turkey and China. The new Uqaab UAV is believed to have been developed with the help of Turkey. In March 2008, Pakistan announced the successful completion of flight tests of Uqaab, which appears similar to the US Army RQ-7B Shadow 200. Equipped with a night vision camera, the US Shadow 200 UAV has the capability to fly as high as 15,000 feet and stay 5.5 hours in the air.
Pakistan's aviation firms have been involved in manufacturing small drones for years. Integrated Dynamics (ID), a local firm has been producing smaller UAVs for the government and commercial market for the last 12 years. Other private enterprises, including Surveillance & Target Unmanned Aircraft (Satuma) and East West Infiniti (EWI), have been involved in manufacturing UAVs in the country. State-owned aviation firms which produce UAVs include the Air Weapons Complex (AWC), National Development Complex (NDC) and PAC.
Syed Fazl-e-Haider (www.syedfazlehaider.com ) is a development analyst in Pakistan. He is the author of many books, including The Economic Development of Balochistan (2004). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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