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Armed drone, laser-guided missile tested

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A VIEW of test-firing of a missile from the Burraq drone.—APP
A VIEW of test-firing of a missile from the Burraq drone.—APP

ISLAMABAD: The army for the first time on Friday tested its pilotless drone ‘Burraq’ armed with laser-guided ‘Barq’ missile. Both Burraq drone and Barq missile, according to the army, have been indigenously developed.

“Pakistan successfully test-fired own indigenously developed armed drone Burraq and Barq laser-guided missile,” military spokesman Maj Gen Asim Bajwa said in a tweet from Tilla firing range where the tests were conducted.

The trials were witnessed by Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif who said it was a “great national achievement and momentous occasion”.

Pakistan had long aspired to have armed drones for bolstering its counter-terrorism capacity, but was only offered surveillance drones. The efforts to indigenously develop drone capability were first reported in 2009.

The armed version of Burraq and the missiles have been produced by the Strategic Plans Division in collaboration with the National Development Complex (NDC), which is engaged in development of defence and aerospace products.

The army and the air force had last year inducted the unarmed versions of Burraq and Shahpar.

It is believed that Burraq is based on Italian Falco-Selex Galileo technology. Some sections think that the Chinese contributed to Pakistan’s drone programme and the armed Burraq has similarities with China’s armed CH-3 drone.

A military official contested these claims and said it was entirely an indigenous effort.

Defence observers say the army established at least a squadron of Burraq drones before unveiling them. At the tests, Burraq drones fired missiles at both static and mobile targets.

“Impressive pinpoint accuracy was achieved,” Gen Bajwa said.

Speaking to Dawn about Burraq, he said: “It is a high altitude and high endurance platform.”

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in a statement on the successful test of the armed drone, said: “Attaining the milestone of drone capability will add a new dimension to Pakistan’s defence.”

Published in Dawn March 14th , 2015

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