Upgrading Conventional Capability
Pakistan Military`s Win Win Alliance with the US
Ninety percent of the current US assistance of $2 billion a year to Pakistan goes to the military as per a report titled ` Pakistan: a perilous course`, unveiled at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The $1.8 billion bounty that is being provided to the Pakistan army is no doubt a significant accretion to its defence budget which amounts to almost one third of its total. This is a significant gain and is no doubt the key cause of fuelling the arms race in the Sub Continent. Pakistan is also seeking to buy missiles and radar from France for a fighter plane that it is being developed jointly with China as per the Jane's Defence Weekly. Talks to acquire air-to-air missiles from the MBDA and radars from Thales for JF-17 fighters are being held as per the report. (Dawn Report). A US Congressional Service Research Report indicated that Pakistan was the biggest purchaser of weapons during 2006. $ 5.1 billion dollars worth of arms deals were concluded by Islamabad while India was a distant second at $ 3.5 billion.
(SAST October 2007).
Pakistan Strategic and Defence Capability
Pakistan `s New ALCM - Ra`ad
Pakistan August successfully test fired a new air-launched cruise missile capable of carrying nuclear weapons, the military said in a statement. The locally developed Ra`ad (Hatf-8) missile - Ra`ad means thunder in Arabic - has a range of 350 kilometres and uses stealth technology. The missile "has been designed exclusively for launch from a variety of air platforms, providing these with a strategic stand-off capability on land and at sea," it said. "The Ra`ad can carry all types of warheads and has accuracy comparable to the longer Babar cruise missile," the statement said. "The missile has a low detection probability due to stealth design and materials used in its manufacturing." (Daily Times Report).
Pak Navy Command of CTF 150
On 01 August Pakistan Navy took over command of the Combined Task Force (CTF-150) comprising of navies of 20 nations. This Task Force maintains security and stability in the maritime environment and complements counter-terrorism efforts in littoral waters of the regional states. Commodore Khan Hasham Bin Siddidue of Pakistan Navy formally took over the command of CTF-150 from the out going Commander Rear Admiral Alain Hinden of France. The major countries in the CTF-150 are US, Britain, France, Australia, Italy, Japan, Germany, Netherlands and Spain. (Dawn Report). Given that the CTF 150 controls the flow of oil from the critical choke point of the Gulf through which almost 70 percent of global energy supplies flow, the Pakistan Navy will be getting a very significant exposure in multi national maritime operations.
Pakistan Air Force Accretions
Air Chief Martial Tanveer Mehmood Ahmed said that more than 300 aircraft, missiles and an early warning system will be acquired at a cost of $ 9 billion to modernize the Pakistan Air Force. In an interview with a private TV channel, Tanveer Mehmood Ahmed said Pakistan Air Force plans to modernize its fleet by replacing aging aircrafts with more than 300 multi-roll combat aircrafts including the American F-16s and Chinese JF-17 Thunder fighter jets and J-10 aircrafts over the next few years. (Media Reports).
RD 93 Engines to Pakistan The Mystery Continues
Russian President Vladimir Putin is reported to have recently given permission for the re-export of Russian engines RD-93 to Pakistan. RD-93 are installed on Chinese fighter jets JF-17 (also known as FC-1) a joint fourth generation fighter being jointly produced by Pakistan and China. 250 to 300 JF 17 are likely to be inducted in the Pakistan Air Force. However there were other reports that Russia has not approved sale of the engines, hence the situation remains quite uncertain. The JF 17 may not provide Pakistan a technical edge but will certainly provide it the ability to manufacture more aircraft indigenously in the next phase.
Pak China Nuclear Deal?
China and its `all-weather` ally Pakistan are discussing an agreement similar to the one India has reached with the US on civilian nuclear cooperation. Beijing is apparently working out a nuclear deal with Islamabad , in case the Indo-US nuclear agreement is approved by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). China-Pakistan defence ties and implications of the Indo-US deal on Beijing and Islamabad was discussed when Chairman of Pakistan`s Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen Ehsan Ul Haq, visited Beijing. During talks with Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong and Defence Minister Cao Gangchuan, the Pakistani side was assured that Beijing would further step-up its support to maintain regional balance in South Asia . (DNA India Report).
Gwadar Port to Be Operational
The Singapore Port Authority (SPA) which is to run the Gwadar Port has overcome teething problems and the port is likely to be made fully operational from September with three berths handling arriving ships. Gwadar port located in Balochistan is considered as a future trading hub in the region due to its proximity with the Gulf. Initially, the port is expected to face competition from Port Salalah of Iran. But after completion of Phase-II by 2010 at a cost of $840 million, it is likely to become one of the busiest ports in the region, providing warehousing, trans-shipment and industrial facilities for trade with over 20 countries, including Gulf states, Iran, Central Asian States, India, China and East Africa. A number of foreign investors have shown interest to establish mega refineries, storage facilities and other businesses in Gwadar to help expedite the process of industrialization in Balochistan. (Dawn Report)
Pakistan`s Second Uranium Enrichment Plant
Pakistan is planning to set up its second uranium enrichment facility, which will be placed under international safeguards and meant exclusively for the country`s civilian nuclear power programme, a media report said on 23 August. The new enrichment facility is envisaged as part of the $2 billion Pakistan Nuclear Power Fuel Complex to be built at Kundian in Punjab province, Japan`s Kyodo news agency reported quoting Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission sources. Equipped with centrifuges made in Pakistan, the news agency said, the new facility would be much bigger than the controversial Khan Research Laboratory (KRL) at Kahuta, also in Punjab, where weapons-grade uranium is enriched for use in Pakistan`s nuclear weapons programme. While the KRL would continue enriching weapons-grade uranium, the new enrichment plant would enrich uranium only to 3 per cent needed for use with two pressurized water reactors set up with Chinese assistance at Chashma, located in the same district as Kundian, and indigenous power plants being planned by Pakistan, Kyodo said. Unlike the KRL, the new plant will be placed under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards. (PTI Report) (SAST SEP 2007)
Pakistan - Defence Budget
The Daily Times reported that Pakistan government has decided to increase the defence budget for the next fiscal year by Rs 30 billion. Defence Ministry sought a Rs 300 billion budget for fiscal 2007-08, up from Rs 250.2 billion in 2006-07. The defence budget would be between Rs 277 billion and Rs 280 billion and this money would be used to purchase modern equipment for the three armed forces. Sources said it was yet to be decided whether money would be earmarked in the budget for the purchase of JF-17 Thunder and F-16 fighter planes or whether separate allocations would be made for the aircraft. ( http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007\05\30\story_30-5-2007_pg1_6).
Nuclear and Missile Capability
Nuclear and Missile Control
An International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) report indicated that Pakistan could still be involved in illicit trading and smuggling to procure equipment from black markets for the nuclear programme. The report prepared by the IISS team has been entitled, `Nuclear Black Markets: Pakistan, AQ Khan and the rise of proliferation networks â€” a net assessment`. The premise of the scholars was based on the need for Pakistan to maintain its nuclear programme due to hurdles of procurement through legal sources. Apart from Pakistan Iraq, Iran, North Korea and, to a lesser degree, India have also been included in the report as countries who have been involving private players in nuclear procurements. The methods followed for black market procurement include systematically using the country's foreign embassies, paying a premium over the market price, using multiple connections and buyers to search for a given item, using front companies, falsifying end users, and altering product specifications so they would appear to operate below the international guidelines. ( http://thenews.jang.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=7584)
Pakistan established Strategic Export Control Division (SECDIV), for approval of exports of nuclear-related items, missile technology and control dissipation of biological agents and toxins. The Export Control Act 2004 had provided the basic frame work which has been supported now by the SECDIV. Establishment of the SECDIV by Pakistan would make it easier for external agencies to monitor exports of prohibited technology. On the other hand channelling such exports through an institutional authority will strengthen the process denying deviants such as A Q Khan opportunities to carry out clandestine proliferation.
(SAST JUNE 2007)
Pakistani military showcased indigenously produced arms and defense equipment at a four-day exhibition in its commercial capital Karachi from 21 to 25 November 2006, International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS 2006). The exhibition is said to have been attended by 230 companies and 50 countries including the United States, France, Germany, China and Turkey. Pakistan was aiming to hard sell Al-Khalid (a tank), Al-Zarar (a tank) or K-8 trainer (aircraft) to boost its $ 200 million defense exports to $ 500 million within the next five years. Defence Export Promotion Organization is the prime agency in Pakistan assigned this task. A seminar was also held on 21 November on, "Expanding Global Security Environment".
A display of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), drones and foreign electronic and surveillance devices was also evident with an eye towards the war against terror. Pakistan is reported to be manufacturing two variations of indigenous UAVs. A credit line is being provided to SAARC countries such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. This will boost the potential of particularly the Sri Lankan Armed Forces with a 37 % increase in the budget. The MVRD simulators for tank drivers were another item of indigenous origin which was on display. The occasion was also exploited to display models of Agosta submarines being built under a technology transfer agreement with France and JF 17 being jointly manufactured with China.
Some of the key contracts signed during the conference were reported to be US$50 million defense sale MoU with Muslim and African countries by National Engineering and Scientific Commission (Nescom) which included combined effect munitions to United Arab Emirates and possible sales to Saudi Arabia. Pakistan Ordnance Factories, Wah signed a MOU with GEAT Industries of France for co-production of extended range 155mm artillery ammunition and reactive armor bricks for tanks. The co production is to start in 2007.
The key exhibitors during the Exhibition included manufacturers of
- Aircraft & Air Force related Systems
- Naval Systems including all types of Crafts
- Air Defence Systems
- Electronic Warfare Systems
- Aerial & Ground Mobility Systems to include Aircrafts & Helicopters
- All types of Fighting & Logistics Vehicles, Tanks, APCs, IFVs, etc.
- Artillery Systems
- Armaments, Munitions, Weapons & Electronic / Optometry devices
- Surveillance equipment to fight & identify all types of terrorist, ethnic, sectarian & law enforcing activities
- Equipment & supplies to support humanitarian relief operations.
Enhanced Capabilities of Pakistan F 16 Fighters
Pakistan will be getting 54 APG-68(V)9 Radar for Block 50/52 F-16 manufactured byNorthrop Grumman. The $ 99.5 million firm fixed contract for 54 AN/APG-68 (V)9 Radar Systems was granted to Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems in Linthicum Heights, MD. The breakdown of 54 radar units will be 36 for the newly sanctioned F-16s, plus 7 spare for the new aircraft, 10 spare for retrofits of older F-16s and 1 additional radar. Defenseindustrydaily has also indicated that Pakistan will order 60 more units under the F-16A/B Mid-Life Update (MLU) modification and Falcon Star Structural Service Life Enhancement kit program which will be the APG-66(V)2 radar.
The APG 68 radar offers better detection range and resolution. The faster processors provide high degree of inputs at five times more processing speed and ten times advanced memory capacity over the present version of the radar. There is resistance to electro magnetic interference and counter measures which have been built in the system. This give it enhanced capability for air to air or air to ground operations particularly useful in a target rich and beyond visual range environment. The increase in range offered is said to be to the order of 30 percent, tracking four vis a vis two targets and larger search volume with better track while scan capability. The single track capability is also said to be much improved.
In the ground attack mode the new radar is said to act as a sensor utilizing its high resolution synthetic aperture radar to locate and recognize ground targets beyond visual range and even further upstream. The resolution will be two feet. This has an all weather capability and will provide real time source for targeting of long range, precision guided weapons. The detection range in sea surveillance mode has also been increased and with increased ground moving target identifying and mapping capability will provide a powerful tool to the pilot to home on to and strike at the targets. The accuracy is greatly enhanced due to auto bore sight capability and dynamic tracking is also improved due to an inertial measurement unit. (With references from www.defenseindustrydaily.com and defense-update.com).
Hatf IV and V
Pakistan Army Strategic Force Command (ASFC) conducted military exercises which culminated into firing of the Hatf 4 or Shaheen I by the Strategic Missile Group on 29 November. This has been a follow up of the successful firing of Hatf V or Ghauri which is said to have a range of 1300 kms