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IDEAS 2006

QADRI

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Sep 10, 2007
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Pakistan
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The previous IDEAS defence shows have grown continuously in size and scope, and IDEAS2006, held in the financial powerhouse that is Pakistan’s coastal city of Karachi, continued that trend. With daily mobility displays of Pakistani Army vehicles, an impressive naval display, and culminating in one of Asia’s most impressive firepower displays, IDEAS2006 was a perfect opportunity to showcase the latest and best in local Pakistani security technology and military hardware.

In fact it can be claimed that IDEAS2006 grew significantly from previous exhibitions, and even after four days it was possible to have not had time to visit all the exhibitor’s stands. This is a reflection of the resounding success the exhibition was internationally as many globally renowned companies attended. The close ties with other countries such as Turkey were apparent with Turkish companies virtually booking one entire exhibition hall. The proud title above the door adequately displayed the sentiment, ‘Welcome to Turkey’. Turkish companies have shown their expertise in a number of areas and have demonstrated they can compete with more well known companies on the international stage. Aselsen, Roketsan, MJ Onuk, and TAI were all prominent exhibitors and surrounded by companies from the well-established Turkish small arms industry. As would be expected from companies from a country very close to Pakistan, a number of them have had significant success in winning contracts from Pakistan. TAI, which has done very well with the Turkish Air Force F-16 fleet, was named as the company that would handle the mid-life up-grade of the PAF F-16 fleet, in conjunction with Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), Kamra. TAI has significant expertise in this area having not only carried out this work but also assembled F-16s for the TAF. MJ Onuk on the other hand recently won an order from the PN of two of its MRTP-33 FAC for use with the SSG(N). These are formidable craft that combine speed with a deadly punch of four Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The company has had significant success at home producing craft for the Turkish security forces (not least the coastguard), who rely heavily on MJ Onuk vessels for the fast interception of suspect shipping in and around Turkish waters.

Lockheed Martin was also present and is a company that will be doing business with Pakistan for some time. Its principal product that was of interest during IDEAS2006 was of course the F-16, a significant order of which is a major plank of the PAF’s regeneration programme. The F-16C Block-52 will form the ‘tip’ of the spear when it is inducted into service bringing PAF strength and capabilities into line with other modern air-forces. Another aspect of this relationship is the ubiquitous P-3C Orion, and the PN is currently in the process of significantly boosting its number of this incredibly capable MPA, so as to have a greater capability to patrol the waters of the Arabian Sea and northern Indian Ocean in support of the WoT. In this regard Pakistan is an indispensable ally, and the work of the Pakistani armed forces has been essential in some of the success’ that have been had to date. The PN, as part of CTF-150, and in operations in territorial waters, is active in this endeavour every day of the year, and boosting the Orion fleet will allow Pakistan to increase the contribution it makes. One other area in which Lockheed Martin was hoping to boost Pakistani capabilities was the area of AEW. Lockheed Martin was clearly hoping to interest the PN in a P-3 fitted with the Hawkeye 2000 AEW system from what was displayed at its stand. This would be similar in appearance, but most likely superior in terms of performance, to the US Customs & Border Patrol Orion AEW aircraft that patrol the airspace around the American mainland. With the impending introduction of the Saab Eyrie AEW&C system into PAF service, there is a need for a similar system to monitor the airspace over the Pakistani littoral. The number of Eyrie systems on order is not sufficient in number to provide constant cover throughout a 24 hour period. Whether these efforts will bear fruit is uncertain, despite there being a clear need. However, Lockheed Martin was also offering ex-USN S-3 Viking aircraft for use in the maritime environment. It is unlikely that the PN will opt for such an aircraft (though there is speculation other South East Asian countries may) as it is being withdrawn for USN service in 2009, and there is no real requirement at present. If the PN is (as some analysts speculate) considering expanding the naval air arm to include fast strike jets in the long-term, it is likely these will be JF-17 or J/F-10 multi-role aircraft, and not a platform such as the Viking, despite its incredible capabilities. However, with Lockheed Martin assuring the aircraft will be supported throughout the life of the airframe, it is likely that a country in need of an aircraft for ASW will eventually opt for this impressive aircraft.

One other major American company present of note was Boeing which is one of the world’s most successful companies. There was much on display from the company including a model of the C-47 Chinook that made such an impact in the response to the earthquake that struck the previous year. Such a helicopter may be beyond the financial means of Pakistan but it would be a very welcome addition to the military/humanitarian airlift capabilities if procured. Furthermore a company closely linked with the F-16 deal was Raytheon, another American company that has been incredibly successful globally. During the exhibition it promoted a large number of its products and its range of CIWS may yet interest the PN, as it already operates the Vulcan Phalanx CIWS. Whether the PN will introduce the RAM, SeaRAM or the FLIR equipped latest version of the Phalanx remains to be seen, but the main product of note was the AIM-120 AMRAAM. Pakistan has officially (rumours persist, but until confirmed they are still an object of speculation) been without an operational BVR capability for two decades despite its best efforts to induct such a capability. In the aftermath of IDEAS2006 it was announced that Pakistan had signed a contract for 500 of the latest version of what is the global benchmark for air-launched BVR missiles. Clearly the past misfortunes of the PAF are being rectified.

French industry was also present and in a big way, if not in its own right with companies such as DCN, then as part of European multi-nationals such as EADS and MBDA. The inroads the French have made into Pakistan have been impressive, as they are involved in projects and supporting platforms used by all three services. In the past the major standard-bearer of French products has been the Mirage series of aircraft that currently serve the PAF so well, however at IDEAS2006, the main item the French were being linked with was the ongoing programme for the next generation PN SSK. Competition is fierce with the French contender being the DCN Marlin SSK. The submarine is a development of the DCN Scorpene SSK and incorporates technology from the Barracuda SSN, the French Navy’s next generation nuclear-powered hunter killer. The design incorporates a new diesel AIP system as standard, rather than as an optional extra, as with the current Pakistani Agosta-90B/Khalid class SSK. It has increased range and endurance, plus greater manoeuvrability for operations in shallow littoral waters. No less than the chief designer of the Marlin was present at IDEAS2006 to answer any questions that may be on the minds of the attending media, and the in this regard the large DCN stand was very busy. If there can be a criticism of the Marlin at this stage though it is a major one, it is yet to make its way off the drawing board, and therefore cannot be fully physically evaluated. The DCN maintained though that this was not a problem as the Marlin being an evolution of an existing design is actually proven technology. Not everybody was convinced by this argument, though it was a credible rebuttal of the criticism. The same criticism cannot be made about the Marlin’s rival, the German Type-214 SSK, as it has already won export orders from South Korea and Greece. HDW, the producer of the Type-214, has a major bone to pick with the French. It lost out against the DCN Scorpene in Chile (admittedly due to its own mistakes), and India (where it was not even permitted to bid due to - now resolved - legal issues). It would therefore be a major accomplishment to ‘steal’ a traditional French customer that has operated no other submarines but French ones since the early 1970s (Daphne – decommissioned, Agosta-70, and Agosta-90B). A development of the incredibly successful Type-209 series that incorporates technology from the deadly Type-212A, the Type-214 is a very potent platform which has already impressed enough to have won orders. According to the German officials present at IDEAS2006, the Type-214 was an ‘evolution’ of the Type-212A ‘revolution’. It appears to be more hydrodynamic than the Marlin, (though that should of course not be a deciding factor in itself), and incorporates a hydrogen fuel-cell AIP that is integral to the submarine design. It comes equipped with a formidable range of weaponry that may include the IDAS submarine launched missile system that is capable of engaging air or surface threats. Whatever the outcome of the competition, the PN will find itself equipped with an incredibly capable platform. One recent addition to the DCN submarine portfolio is the SMX-23, a small SSK intended for coastal operations or for first-time submarine operators. Though no such requirement exists for Pakistan to operate such a submarine, it would, (if inducted), allow the PN to keep a larger number of submarines at sea for no significant change to the operating costs of the fleet. If the contract would allow, it would also give Pakistan a product that it could export to friendly countries in the region such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Gulf States. All this would likely require a sizable increase in indigenous industrial capacity, not to mention an increase in finances so it is unlikely to happen. However, DCN clearly had its eye on a potentially more lucrative prize. There is a stated requirement with the PN for a number of corvettes, and DCN was not slow in displaying a model of the Gowind-120. The design incorporates technology derived from the Aquitaine FREMM programme and is undoubtedly a very capable vessel that would fully satisfy the PN’s requirements. This decision will not be made for sometime, (certainly not until the SSK programme has been finalised), but DCN clearly thought it was better to have their product established as a potential contender.

There were also companies present from many other countries. British defence companies such as Cobham and Martin Baker were some of the most high profile. Cobham is likely to supply the in-flight refuelling equipment for the Il-76 aircraft that were recently ordered from the Ukraine. This capability will significantly enhance the effectiveness of the PAF frontline fleet, and over time deliver considerable cost savings through allowing for a greater flight hours/fuel consumption ratio. IDEAS2006 also saw one of the most famous British companies attending, Martin Baker, the global leader in ejection seats for fast jets. The company has recently branched into providing crash resistant seats for helicopters, and has already built up a considerable range. However, it was its Mk-16LE state of the art ejection seat that was the hot topic for the company during IDEAS2006 as it has been selected for the FC-1/JF-17 (termed CN-16LE and PK-16LE respectively). Over 1000 seats in the series have already been delivered to date having been selected for service in a wide range of aircraft such as: Typhoon, Rafale, Lightning II, T-50, T-38, F-5 and T-6. What is perhaps an ultimate irony is that the seat has also been selected for the Indian HAL Tejas, which was once the great rival of the JF-17 in South Asia. The slow pace of that project has resulted in the Tejas as being years away from operational service if at all. The Mk-16 offers simple, minimal, long internal servicing to provide low cost of ownership. It has a ‘4th generation’ electronic sequencer, and features enhanced parachute deployment allowing for an ejecting pilot to be safely under a fully deployed canopy (even at low speed and low altitude), far quicker than is currently possible with other ejection seats. There were mixed fortunes during IDEAS2006, as with the crash of a PAF Mirage, Martin Baker saved the life of the pilot through having an earlier model of seat fitted, (though Pakistan lost an aircraft). Romanian industry was represented by the state owned company Romarm, which secures business for national companies. Over the years of the Cold War Romania built up considerable expertise in the arms industry, and has much to offer in the way of joint projects with Pakistan. The Greek company Sunlight Industrial Complex, makers of batteries for submarines and torpedoes was also present. Sunlight batteries power the Pakistani Agosta-90B and X-craft fleets, and according to the company representative offer greater flexibility over those fitted originally because they are longer-lasting. Though somewhat low-profile the clients this company has successfully managed to acquire speak volumes for its products. Not only are Sunlight batteries fitted to Greek submarines but they also fitted to Egyptian, Ukrainian, Polish, Peruvian, and South African submarines. Clearly the origin of the platform and therefore batteries are no constraint for Sunlight; they are plainly able to make their product fit customer requirements. Saab also displayed a number of its wares, but perhaps they were overshadowed by the main item of interest, the Saab-2000 AEW&C Eyrie that has been ordered by the PAF. When delivered they will fulfil a long-standing PAF requirement for an AEW capability. This need was first apparent in the 1980s when Soviet aircraft were able to bomb Pakistani villages along the border with Afghanistan that were marshalling areas for mujahideen forces preparing to enter the occupied the Soviet occupied country. Though the PAF carried out a number of successful intercepts and managed to down a number of Soviet aircraft, an AEW/AWACS capability would have denied the Soviets the relative element of surprise it had in many cases. Though America offered the E-2 Hawkeye AEW platform, this was deemed unsuitable by the PAF which held out for the E-3 Sentry AWACS. In the end, it got neither, and its source of high-end equipment, America, became off limits for just over a decade. The need was further underlined during the Kargil standoff in 1999. Though two Indian aircraft were shot down by ground forces, the PAF only played a deterrent role against IAF intrusion whilst a grim battle was waged across the Line of Control in Indian occupied Kashmir. Despite the fact Indian aircraft did not intrude into Pakistani airspace, the situational awareness over the mountainous Kashmir region was inadequate just as it was when the Soviets were occupying Afghanistan. Only an AEW/AEW&C/AWACS system would rectify this, and there was also pressure from the Indian side as the next year the IAF began an extensive evaluation of the Beriev A-50 AEW. Three years later the IAF ordered three Israeli Phalcon AEW systems (of the same type that had previously been sold to China, but the contract was cancelled due to American pressure). These were to be fitted on the Il-76 Candid, the airframes of which would be flown from the factory in Uzbekistan to Israel for the installation of the system. The pressure was therefore on the PAF to match this capability or accept that it would be totally outclassed in the air over its own territory for the first time. There had been speculation for sometime that Pakistan was interested in the Swedish Eyrie AEW&C system and an order was eventually signed for six platforms. More systems may find their way into Pakistani service either from America in the form of the P-3 AEW, (see above) or a Chinese system similar to the Eyrie equipped Saab. In any case the Eyrie AEW&C system was of great interest during IDEAS2006.

When it comes to a nation that is synonymous with partnership and Pakistan though, it has to be China, and Chinese military enterprise was a considerable presence at IDEAS2006. The relationship between Pakistan and its ‘all weather friend’ is extensive, and in the military field it covers all three services. The most prominent Sino-Chinese co-operation was of course the JF-17 Thunder, which seems to have captured the imagination of the public much like the F-86 Sabre and the F-16 Fighting Falcon have done so previously. This is despite the fact that the aircraft was at the time of the event yet to fly in Pakistani airspace, let alone wear PAF roundels and fight a war. Whether it was the CATIC stand, the PAC, or the PAF stand, there was always a throng of visitors wanting to know more about the latest exciting development in the PAF. The JF-17 promises to be a lightweight multi-role fighter that will replace the A-5, Mirage-III/V, and F-7 aircraft in the PAF inventory. It is also aimed at customers wanting to replace aircraft such as the F-5 Freedom Fighter, MiG-21 Fishbed and other such aircraft, or acquire an affordable (both in terms of initial cost and operation) fighter aircraft with modern capabilities for the first time. The fact that it is likely to be relatively sanction free platform from a reliable source, will no doubt interest a great many potential clients. The aircraft will be co-produced in China and Pakistan, so there will be plenty of scope for potential export orders to be met, as well as the PAF obtaining a ‘sanction proof’ frontline aircraft that can be fully supported by indigenous industry. The officials at PAC were quite open about their plans for the development of the aircraft, with an in-flight refuelling capability (perhaps even conformal fuel tanks), and other such improvements envisaged. The main task at present though is to get the aircraft flying in PAF colours and fully operational, and worry about these things once this has been accomplished. One cloud that seems to cast a shadow over the project is the engine. The Russian RD-93 (a derivative of the RD-33 that powers the MiG-29) is currently powering the prototypes, and is set to power the Chinese aircraft. It is unclear however, if this deal allows for the engines to be exported to third parties such as Pakistan, and Russian officials are on record in saying that an ‘end user certificate’ would have to be given (presumably for their approval) by the Chinese in the case of export orders. With Russia’s longstanding relationship with India there has been much pressure from New Delhi in making sure this does not happen. However, both PAF, and PAC officials, were absolutely confidant there would be no problems, and the JF-17 would fly in Pakistani colours as planned. If this means they will not be powered by the RD-93, then the only other option at present is the WS-13 engine being developed by the Chinese. The performance of this engine is stated to be superior in terms of reliability and power, to the RD-93, so there is a silver lining to this cloud. The only issue may be that the PAF may have to wait a short while longer for the JF-17 to enter operational service. A more tangible display of Sino-Pakistani aircraft collaboration was the K-8 Karakorum that was on display at the PAF outdoor display. The K-8 advanced/basic jet trainer that has sold very well overseas, particularly in Africa where the Egyptian Air Force is its biggest customer and is building the aircraft under license. Parts of the aircraft were built by PAC, but the decision was made early on not to opt for a Pakistani construction line, as it was thought that there was insufficient indigenous experience at the time to make this realistic, or even practical. Instead, it was decided that some parts for the aircraft would be made in Pakistan to help build up more experience in aircraft manufacture before taking on full assembly/production of an aircraft, a decision that has directly led to the JF-17 programme. In PAF service it is thought the K-8 will completely eventually replace the T-37 in the training role, where it is already more popular due to the tandem seating arrangement for pilot and instructor. This layout helps boost trainee confidence due to the isolation from the instructor. The K-8 is likely to remain in service for a considerable time yet.

Though it may not be so obviously stated the Al-Khalid also has its roots in a Chinese design, the Type-90II, but there has been considerable improvement of this type that took nearly a decade. In this time a number of prototypes were presented to the PA, including a 120mm model equipped with mainly Western systems, and one with fully Chinese systems. What was selected chose the best from what was available, including its powerful Ukrainian engine, which is the key factor in its excellent agility. This was apparent for all to see during the daily mobility display that showcased various PA vehicles, of both indigenous and foreign design. The Ukrainian connection did not end there as the Al-Khalid displayed at the HIT outdoor stand (billed as a ‘product improved Al-Khalid’) included the ‘Varta’ optronic countermeasures system. ‘Varta’ is capable of decoying ATGMs, and also countering laser designators and laser rangefinders by making them give false readings. The Al-Khalid is therefore fast, agile, and it also packs a punch with its 125mm smoothbore gun. The ‘hunter-killer’ capability it has is due to the commander’s independent thermal sight, and the Battle Management System (BMS). These allow the tank to track targets and also share information with other tanks in the formation. Such sharing of information would be a key asset in quickly getting to grips with and enemy and winning an encounter. The commander can identify targets and lay fire as he sees fit, with the capability to override commands made by the gunner. The gunner is also equipped with a high quality thermal sight, meaning the Al-Khalid is fully capable of night action, (in this respect the driver is equipped with a passive night sight). The Al-Khalid has been extensively promoted by its producer, Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT), and the first export order has been secured with Sri Lanka placing an order for a small number. The Al-Khalid’s ‘stable-mate’ from HIT, the Al-Zarrar (an upgrade of the Chinese Type-59), was also heavily promoted, and took part in both the static, and mobile displays. Though not as advanced as the Al-Khalid, it has a crucial part to play in PA service in maintaining numbers whilst the Al-Khalid provides the ‘mailed fist’ of the PA armoured strike arm. Suspension, transmission and the power-pack are all new, as is the armoured package that covers the frontal arc of the tank. The turret has been up-armoured with an additional layer of composite armour, and there has also been a layer of ERA placed over the turret and the frontal part of the hull. The 125mm necessitated the turret be raised to accommodate the additional bulk, but this is not so apparent due to the added armour. There is no auto-loader like the Al-Khalid, so the turret is rather cramped for three people, but the philosophy behind the Al-Zarrar was that it would provide a tank capable of surviving on the modern battlefield at an affordable price. The Al-Zarrar continues to enter PA service in large numbers where the Type-59 forms the backbone of the MBT fleet. The main target in terms of export attention has been Africa and Asia where the Type-59 and early T-series tanks are present in large numbers. The potential customers are unlikely to have the financial resources to purchase more modern types, so the outlook is favourable. The Al-Zarrar has already been ordered by Bangladesh as an upgrade for its Type-59 fleet. HIT’s products do not stop at tanks though as it also offers a range of vehicles based off the M-113 and indigenous Saad/Al-Talha tracked APCs. These were exhibited at the HIT static display, and put on an excellent show during the mobility display. A variant of the M-113 produced by HIT that is of particular note, despite no customer having yet come forward, is the Hamza IFV. Armed with an unmanned turret that packs a 25mm cannon and co-axial 7.62mm, the Hamza is definitely well armed, and being based on the basic M-113 chassis, it is tough and versatile. There is no requirement for such a vehicle in the PA, but it is readily available should any customer place an order, or even request a similar armament on the Saad or Talha APC. The Al-Talha and Saad are essentially the same but the Saad is slightly longer with an extra road wheel. The Saad has been linked with a possible sale to the Saudis, (along with the Al-Khalid), but the deal may not now take place. The Al-Talha has however been sold to Iraq along with another HIT product, the Mohafiz internal security vehicle. The Mohafiz is based on the Land Rover Defender but has a much altered aluminium body. It is in service with Pakistani security forces and has proved itself to be a valuable asset. The most interesting (and newest) HIT vehicle at IDEAS2006 though was the Discreet Armoured Vehicle (DAV) that is based on a normal Toyota saloon/sedan. It is the first time that such a vehicle has been made on so light a chassis, and it comes at a time when there is soaring requirement for such vehicles, for both government and private use. It is capable of withstanding fire from 7.62mm NATO ball ammunition, has an armoured undercarriage to protect against hand-grenade explosions, and can travel for a considerable distance on its ‘run-flat’ tyres. Externally the vehicle has no differences to an unmodified vehicle, and there is currently no comparable level of security on a vehicle of this size available. Other armoured vehicles on the market are based on larger, more expensive models such as Jaguars, Range Rovers, or the ubiquitous Mercedes. These are far from discreet though, and attract a great deal of attention, especially in less well developed countries. Therefore HIT has clearly identified a niche in the market, and the DAV is certain to be an export success. It was during IDEAS2006 that the Lebanese Minister of Industry, Pierre Amine Gemayel, was assassinated in Beirut after his car was ambushed by gun wielding assailants. Had he been in the DAV, he would clearly have survived.

The Military Vehicle Research Defence Establishment, (MVRDE), has a come a long way since it was founded in the aftermath of the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war where sanctions had an adverse effect on the defence capabilities of Pakistani forces. At IDEAS2006 it had a number of its very wide selection of products displayed at its static display, with some of these vehicles also taking part in the mobility display. These included its AVLB mounted on an M-47M Patton MBT chassis. The bridge is of aluminium construction and capable of spanning a 21.58m gap, and supporting weights of 60 tons; it also capable of being tandem launched with similar short/medium span bridges. MVRDE also displayed two of its anti-mine vehicles the ‘Troll Anti-Mine’ and the ‘Dragon Engineer Mine Plough’. Both are based on the chassis of the T-55 MBT, but whereas the Dragon rolls anti-tank mines out of the path of the tank and advancing forces, the Troll deliberately detonates them. The Dragon uses two sets of ploughs, the tines of which dig out buried mines and roll them away from the tank. A roller assembly is fitted to the rear to deal with anti-personnel mines in the ploughed area. The Troll’s clearing rollers can withstand up 12 anti-tank blasts and sweeps two 90cm lanes at up to 12kmh. The assembly is controlled by the driver, and the mechanism can be fitted or removed using the jib that is also fitted. MVRDE’s mine clearing devices have been a real success story, and the most notable foreign customer has been Kuwait, which is still dealing with a legacy of war and invasion. MVRDE also displayed one of its mobile workshops, tankers, an Al-Khalid simulator, semi-trailer, and Track Launch Assembly (TLA). The Class-60 hydraulic TLA allows for tracked or wheeled vehicles up to the weight of 60 tons to cross soft terrain. It is mounted on two 6-ton Yasoob 6x6 trucks, spans 45m, and can laid or retrieved in 7-10 minutes. The 60-Ton Semi-Trailer can carry any vehicle weighing up to 60 tons over metalled, dirt, and shingle tracks. The trailer provides uniform payload support for vehicles carried. MVRDE continues to work on a number projects for a wide variety of applications and is likely to have a number of new products on display at IDEAS2008.

One other area in which Pakistani industry has made significant advancements is in the manufacture of UAVs. There are a number of companies working the field but the four major companies are Albadeey Technologies, Advanced Computing & Engineering Solutions (ACES), Integrated Defence Systems (IDS), and Integrated Dynamics (ID). All have considerable experience, and between them have won a number of domestic and foreign contracts. Integrated Dynamics’ products are certainly not conventional in appearance, and it has perhaps been the most successful in terms of a high profile foreign sale, when its ‘Border Eagle Mk2’ was ordered by the American authorities for border patrol duties. It is a low altitude, border and perimeter monitoring UAV, with a top speed of 160km/h, 50km range, and an enhanceable endurance of 4 hours. The payload is relatively light at 5kg, but it is interchangeable, with various payloads capable of being carried. With technology rapidly shrinking UAV sensors, this will undoubtedly not hold the Border Eagle back. Three other ID products of note displayed at IDEAS2006 were the ‘Nighthawk’ High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) UAV, the ‘Desert Hawk’ UAV, and the ‘Tornado’ UAV. The Nighthawk is a 100 mile range, 15hr endurance platform with a 125mph max speed. It can carry a 6kg payload in a combination of daylight/IR TV and still cameras that are activated as required. It is equipped with a UHF data-link. The Desert Hawk is a low altitude and perimeter monitoring UAV. It has a carbon-composite platform equipped with micro gyro-stabilised payloads in its payload bay. It has a 100mph max speed, 18.75 mile range, and an enhanceable 3hr endurance. The ‘Tornado’ on the other hand is not a surveillance UAV but rather an expendable drone designed to confuse the enemy into thinking it is a real attacking aircraft, and expend valuable SAMs in an effort to destroy it, (or at least turn on a dormant air defence radar so it can be attacked with SEAD aircraft). As the name would suggest it is a perfect replica of the one of the best strike aircraft currently available, the Panavia Tornado, which is in service with the RAF, German air force, Italian air force, and the RSAF. IDS on the other hand exhibited its ‘Huma-1’ tactical UAV. It is a composite UAV that performs a wide range of remote sensing tasks. Range is 500km, max speed 180km/h, endurance 5-6hrs, and it has a 100km operational radius. It carries a 20kg payload and includes a real-time video transmission system. ACES displayed its ‘Eagle-Eye-P1’ UAV and also exhibited the ground Control Station (GCS) from which it is controlled. The ‘Eagle Eye-P1’ tactical UAV has an 80km range, 3hr endurance, and 120km max speed. Tracking is GPS based, and it carries a 30kg payload of a 'pan, tilt & zoom' video camera for real time digital video surveillance. One of the most established Pakistani UAV companies, Albadeey Technologies, was also present. It has a vast amount of experience and has produced a number of high quality UAVs and target drones. The most eye-catching is undoubtedly the ‘ABJT Target Drone’. The ABJT is a high speed, jet powered, target drone. It is a medium range expendable target for air-to-air, AAA and SAM training. It is available in autopilot (5km), and BVR (20km) versions. Normal range is 2km. A less sophisticated target drone, the ‘Shahzore’, is also available. It is a medium range, propeller powered target drone for AAA and SAM training with an endurance of up to 90 minutes. It is available in autopilot (5km), and BVR (20km) versions. Normal range is 3km. The most basic Albadeey target drone is the ‘Ababeel’. It is used by PAF/PA and a number of other customers, and is a cheap, effective, and expendable solution for training personnel in ground based air defence. Its manoeuvrability allows it to simulate any attack profile. Albadeey also displayed two surveillance UAVs, the ‘Hud Hud II’ and ‘Hud Hud III’. The ‘Hud Hud III’ is an enlarged version of the ‘Hud Hud II’ with greater endurance (6hrs) and range (100km). It can carry a 40kg payload which is usually a high resolution CCD camera, GPS, and frequency modulated L Band video transmitter. The Pakistani UAV industry continues to improve and there a number of new exciting projects in the pipeline that will be targeted at the Pakistani armed forces, and increasingly, foreign customers, as the industry branches out to secure more overseas clients.

One of the most well patronised displays by far though was the ‘Army Strategic Forces Command’ (ASFC) display, where indigenous missile technology was present for all to see. The missiles were strictly not for sale but for display purposes only. A separate tent was made available for those who wished to meet the ASFC officers present. It can safely be said they were amongst the most open and welcoming of any of the personnel at IDEAS2006, whereas the nature of their work in being responsible for the operation of the nation’s nuclear deterrent, may have suggested this may not have been the case. The display was certainly impressive with nearly the full range of missiles on display. The missiles displayed consisted of: Shaheen-I/II, Ghauri, Babur, and Ghaznavi. All bar Babur are ballistic missiles with the Shaheen-I/II and Ghaznavi missiles being solid fuelled, and Ghauri liquid fuelled. Babur is a land-attack cruise missile closely resembling the American Tomahawk. It is the newest addition to the ASFC arsenal, and is a 500km range, 1500kg, weapon with a 300kg payload, and 10m CEP. It is currently land-based but like the Tomahawk there is no reason why it could not be modified to be fired from a submarine if the requirement arises. An air-launched version is also a possibility, but merely being possible does not mean it is likely to happen. A requirement has to exist first for this to take place and currently Pakistan is content with what it regards as its ‘minimum deterrent’ of land based strategic missiles. All in all ASFC showed they were approachable and helpful, but at the same time displayed the exceptionally high level of dedication and professionalism as would be expected from them.

When the decision was made to produce military equipment indigenously, Pakistan produced little more than small-arms and ammunition. This has expanded considerably and now Pakistan produces increasingly sophisticated weaponry and equipment. However, despite the growing sophistication Pakistani industry has maintained what it is known for, quality at an affordable price. The main standard bearer for weaponry and ammunition of varying calibres is Pakistan Ordinance Factories (POF). Everything from small-arms to artillery ammunition is produced by the company, and it continues to make great strides in producing for Pakistani armed forces and increasingly, for export. The small arms are aimed primarily at the African and Asian markets where there is not really the requirement for the latest technology, only that what is on offer is affordable and reliable. This is the reason weapons like the RPG-7 and 106mm recoilless rifle are still produced and exported. During IDEAS2006 agreements were signed with French and South Korean companies for 155mm artillery ammunition. This calibre is the global standard for heavy artillery and POF will no doubt make great efforts to secure export customers after having established itself as a supplier of high quality and reliable products. POF also produces tank ammunition in varying calibres from 100mm to 125mm. The POF 125mm APFSDS-T is naturally offered for export with the Al-Khalid and Al-Zarrar, ensuring there is as much reliability as is possible in the supply of materials for a potential customer.

This reliability of supply can be extended to include a great deal of other systems for the tanks including the night vision systems and laser range finders thanks largely due to ATCOP. The Al-Zarrar gunner’s night sight is produced by the company and as is a laser range finder for T-series tanks. The night sight in particular is of particular interest for customers as the capability to fight at night is crucial on a modern battlefield. Night vision equipment for personal soldiers is produced by the Institute of Optronics, which produces a number of night vision devices from a monocular to weapon-based sights, and NVG goggles for pilots. These devices are in increasingly wide spread use in the Pakistani armed forces, and have been used extensively along the border with Afghanistan as the security forces tackle the Al-Qaeda and Taliban menace. Pakistani industry is also branching out into new areas such as air deliverable weapons such as the Durandal anti-runway bomb, Combined Effects Munition (CEM), and the Mk-15 Retarder Tail Unit (RTU) for Mk-82 bombs. The first two items are produced by Nescom and offer potential customers devastating weapons that have till recently only been available from more developed nations. The Durandal can be used against any hardened target such a runway or bunker and works by detonating after the warhead has burrowed into the target, thereby increasing the level of devastation. The CEM is a general purpose weapon that is packed with 247 bomblets for use against troops and armour. The Mk-15 RTU allows for Mk-82 bombs to be released during a high speed low-level pass by retarding the fall of the bomb, and allowing the attacking aircraft to safely depart the scene prior to detonation. In this respect it works in a similar fashion to the Durandal, though this weapon is first parachute retarded, and then boosted by a rocket motor into the target surface. Clearly these are just the beginnings for Pakistani industry’s venture into more sophisticated weaponry and there is a clear line that can be drawn from retarding simple **** bombs and unguided munitions, to something more substantial. The next stage will undoubtedly be PGM, and with experience that has been gained with such systems as the Babur LACM, these developments may be apparent by as early as IDEAS2008.

One area of Pakistani military industry that has been overlooked until recently has been the maritime sphere. However, there has been a great deal of progress made with indigenous Pakistani products that have a naval application. Karachi based Marine Systems Limited (MSL) has manufactured a number of products including a training simulator capable of simulating any sensor system, on any naval platform, under any climatic and sea state conditions. This will increase the amount of training done on land, easing the burden on operational assets considerably. MSL also produces a number of display units that can be used in various applications on board naval platforms, which was the one of the steps it took before producing its training simulator. The main MSL breakthrough though has been its Towed Array Sonar (TAS) for submarines. Systems already in service with the PN were found to be too bulky, heavy and based on old technology. MSL’s TAS is not only lighter and more compact, but was found to have a performance superior to designs currently available to the PN. The system will be installed on current PN submarines (where on the Agosta-90B it will be integrated with the SUBTICS combat management system), and also the winner of the submarine contract. The system is being offered for export to friendly countries, in particular those in the Gulf States. Also present at IDEAS2006 was Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW). It is Pakistan’s major shipbuilder and has built a number of warships for the PN. These have included the Shujaat FAC, replenishment ships, and also the Agosta-90B class SSK. The next big projects for the shipyard will be the new SSK for the PN and also the F-22P. The pattern the shipyard has been following is to have slowly built up key experience in building various types of warships in terms of size and complexity, and will move to the next stage with the F-22P as it will obtain some experience in major warship design as well as construction. Only the final ship of the batch of four will be built by KSEW, but the hope is that the experience will be put to good use in building the PN corvette fleet when a decision is made, and also a proposed follow-on class from the F-22P. The ultimate aim is for the shipyard to be a designer and exporter of such vessels, and the experience gained is slowly leading in that direction.

Not all the companies present were concerned with the manufacture of weapons though as some, such as Australian company Aerostructures Technologies deal with ensuring the structural integrity of aircraft. This is an increasingly important service as aircraft remain in service longer, and therefore the fatigue experienced by the airframe is greater. The company has helped the PAF maintain its fleet of FT-5 training aircraft, but also works on many other airframe types (it has worked on the RAAF Orion and F-111 aircraft) from fast jets to helicopters. For helicopters and MPA in particular the maritime environment has a harsh effect on aircraft, so ensuring structural integrity of MPA and helicopters is big business. The representatives from the company seemed to have been in great demand, and were kept busy talking to a number of visitors representing foreign governments.

It is clear therefore that IDEAS2006 was one of Asia’s major defence exhibitions, and with current trends it is likely to expand yet further over the coming years. As an opportunity for Pakistani companies to display their products and the advances they have made, it is an invaluable event. Past exhibitions have helped to raise the profile of local industry and win orders from foreign customers. IDEAS has also proved itself to be an unrivalled networking event for industry and government officials from around the world. When it comes to defence exhibitions and the wider defence industry, Pakistan has shown it knows how to handle things.
 

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