The Shahpar drone, shown here in this photo from the International Defence Exhibition (IDEAS) in Karachi, Pakistan on Nov 15, 2012.—AP/File Photo
The Shahpar drone, shown here in this photo from the International Defence Exhibition (IDEAS) in Karachi, Pakistan on Nov 15, 2012.—AP/File Photo

RAWALPINDI: The Pakistani military on Monday announced its first fleet of indigenously developed surveillance-capable drones at a ceremony attended by the Army chief.

According to a press release, the introduction of the two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), called the ‘Burraq’ and ‘Shahpar’ systems in the Pakistan Army and Air Force, are “a landmark and historic event, wherein a very effective force multiplier has been added to the inventory of the armed forces.”

Pakistan already has several types of unarmed surveillance drones in operation, but ‘Burraq’ and ‘Shahpar’ are the first to be developed locally.

The drones have been developed in cooperation with the National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM) is a civilian controlled Pakistani scientific research organisation.

“In the future, these UAVs could also be gainfully employed in various socio-economic development projects as well,” said the release from ISPR, the media wing of the military.

The unveiling ceremony was attended by Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Chief of the Air Staff Tahir Rafique Butt, Director General Strategic Plans Division Lt-Gen (R) Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, and senior officers from the armed forces, scientists and engineers, said the ISPR statement.

The induction of the indigenously developed surveillance capable UAVs in Pakistan’s armed forces is a force multiplier, and will substantially enhance their target acquisition capabilities in real time, said the Army chief while appreciating the work of NESCOM scientists and engineers.

The ISPR statement did not state whether the surveillance drones were also capable of being armed with precision missiles, like the UAVs that the US uses to target suspected Taliban and al Qaeda militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

According to earlier reports in the media, the Pakistani military has working to develop its own armed drones, but has been unsuccessful with a lack of precision munitions and advanced targeting technology.

According to one report, Pakistan carried out weapons tests earlier last year with the Falco, an Italian drone used by the air force for surveillance that has been modified to carry rockets.

According to the same report, the military was also conducting similar tests with the Shahpar.

An unarmed version of the Shahpar was unveiled for the first time at the International Defence Exhibition (IDEAS) in Karachi in November last year.

Industry insiders say that the Chinese government has also reportedly offered to sell Pakistan an armed drone it has produced, the CH-3, which can carry two laser-guided missiles or bombs.

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Comments (25) (Closed)

Nov 25, 2013 06:22pm

Great achievement by Pakistani Army and a historic landmark. It will further boost our Arial capabilities...

Nov 25, 2013 06:58pm

Now U.S. will have to think twice before its drone attacks.

Nov 25, 2013 07:48pm

Of absolutely no use if you can't deter drone strikes. Although good for exhibition purposes.

Nov 25, 2013 09:24pm

What will these drones do ? a. Shoot down American drones. b. Shoot militants. none of the above !!

Nov 25, 2013 09:45pm

Pakistan will be able to achieve the real time surveillance and target accuracy, this is a great milestone in Pakistan’s army history. Good work done by the scientists, engineers and personal of NESCOM and ISPR.

Nov 25, 2013 09:50pm

The phrase "Civilian controlled " organization is similar to "Civilian Government". The press release comes from ISPR?

Nov 25, 2013 10:11pm

Its been added to be used against india but you never know what india will come up with but whatever it is they can never match india"s might.not in this lifetime.

Robin Akbar
Nov 25, 2013 11:18pm

If they can't kill terrorists then they are of no use.

Nov 25, 2013 11:30pm

Good work by Pakistani Engineers and Scientists.

Nov 26, 2013 12:15am

these drone wont be useful unless Pakistan makes its own satellites.

Farrukh Naqvi
Nov 26, 2013 12:51am

How about giving some credit to local engineering for developing these. They can be used for intelligence gathering purpose. Monitoring the movement of the enemy forces and coordinating the ground forces against them. You don't have to be negative about everything and giving credit where it is due!!!

Nov 26, 2013 01:32am

Pakistan army inducted locally produced drones...good news...they need to induct some self respect, pride and passion in the army as well, and they need to save the sovereignty of the country. And the best thing is that it cost nothing and you don't have to pay in dollars. Drones are drowning the pride of the army and the nation alike.

Nov 26, 2013 01:35am

I think this is really good. Such drones would certainly be handy once the final war against TTP terrorists is launched in coming months. They could be employed to view terrorist hideouts for precision bombing and assaults.

Adeel Ijaz
Nov 26, 2013 02:59am

I hope Pakistan Air force has the power to use them without dictation of outsiders

Nov 26, 2013 05:57am

There goes more money and effort to build something which take lives.

Nov 26, 2013 06:53am

The people want to see these drones in action not in pictures.

Nov 27, 2013 05:13am

Another step towards a total police state.Obviously they are going to be used for surveillance on ordinary people as we already know who and where the 'bad' guys are. Surely we can't operate the PIA but we can fly these drones.Like they say ' don't have bread, eat cake!'

Nov 27, 2013 09:53am

We need to take lesson from Iran, they took the control of US Drone had this safely landed in their land and then with reverse engineering made more than one version of no-man flying machine. At least, we shall have to gun down one and then from wreckage need to make a real drone, not the college's science club prototype.

Nov 27, 2013 02:46pm

The look a lot like the remote controlled plane my kid uses, albeit with cameras fixed on them :D

Nov 27, 2013 04:02pm

Can these drones attack American tribal areas like White House, Capitol Hill, Wall Street the way American drones are doing in Pakistan? In America if law has to execute a criminal, the police has to produce beyond doubt evidences even if it takes months or in some cases even years, but to kill terrorists in Pakistan (or any muslim country) any Major level officer can pull the trigger, if terrorist is killed its OK else its collatral damage Sorry!!!

Nov 27, 2013 07:20pm

kill the Taliban

Roxana R
Nov 27, 2013 08:00pm

I'm all for Pakistan having its own drone program if they will promptly commence using it to eliminate terrorists within Pakistan. But will they? It would be outright stupidity to target U.S. drones, which appear to be the only effective eliminator of terrorists in Pakistan's midst. Pakistan has to figure out if they want to be ruled by Taliban, or to rule themselves. And now is the time to decide. If you want to rule yourselves, then eliminate the terrorists in your own country: Taliban and Al-Queda.

Nov 28, 2013 02:26am

Ummmm.....I have a question. Do they fly?

Nov 28, 2013 04:45am

Oh, now America will have to think twice before using drones to attack Taliban. IK should be in-charge of these drones that will really scare America or is it Amrica?

Nov 28, 2013 07:45am

@Bong: I think Pakistan sincerely plans to use these drone to monitor weather, climate change, crop data, aid distribution, disaster relief, crime in Karachi, school security, and minority well-being.