Induction of HIMADS, Sea Sultan Sub Hunter, VT 4 tanks and Wing Long UCAVs denote attempts by Pakistan military to rapidly increase deterrence.
HIMADS – Air Defence System
General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) visited Army Air Defence Centre Karachi on October 14 where he witnessed commissioning of state of the art Chinese origin HQ-9/P HIMADS (High to Medium Air Defence System) into Pakistan Army Air Defence.
The DG ISPR in a press release indicate that Lieutenant General Hamooduz Zaman Khan; Commander Army Air Defence Command briefed COAS about strategic weapon system.
The release stated that induction of HIMADS will significantly enhance Comprehensive Layered Integrated Air Defence (CLIAD) shield of aerial frontiers of Pakistan as the system is fully integrated through a well-knit Digitized System on its inventory.
Capable of intercepting multiple air targets including aircrafts, cruise missiles and Beyond Visual Range Weapons at ranges over 100 kilometers with Single Shot Kill Probability, HQ-9/P is considered as a strategic long range Surface to Air Missile (SAM) with remarkable flexibility and precision. Senior officials from China were also present on the occasion.
After the air strike launched by the Indian Air Force on the Jaish e Mohammad training camp in Balakot deep inside Pakistan territory, there is increasing focus on increasing the air defence capabilities and towards this end the induction of Chinese manufactured HIMADS assumes significance.
Pakistan’s FD-2000, as the export variant of the HQ-9 is labeled, is said to have capabilities similar to the S-300, as it is believed to draw upon the Soviet system.
According to available information, the system can cover an area of close to 50,000 square kilometers and intercept aircraft at ranges of up to 125 kilometers.
The systems is manufactured by China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corporation (CPMIEC).
In addition to Pakistan, HQ-9 is in service in China, Algeria, Morocco, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Turkey initially also chose the system for its long-range air-and missile-defense program but later walked away from the purchase due to political reasons.
The efficacy of the air defence of Pakistan will depend on the number of HIMADS systems deployed and at present the focus appears to be to secure the Southern air defence frontiers based in Karachi.
Pakistan Army has also inducted the VT 4 MBT 3000 a 52 tonne tank with 125 mm Gun which is Turbo Charged engine which has also been deployed on the Indian front.
Sea Sultan Sub Hunter
Importantly the Pakistan Navy has also deployed the Sea Sultan Sub Hunter which is based on a Brazilian Lineage 1000 Embraer refurbished with torpedoes from South Africa’s Paramount and Sea Spray Radars from the Italian Leonardo.
The important factor is that the Pakistan Navy has been able to induct the submarine hunter within a period of one year that is from October 2020 to October 2021. Three more aircraft are likely to be inducted in the years ahead.