MoU signed with Turkey for sale of trainer aircraft

Published November 24, 2016
FOREIGN delegates gather around the Al-Khalid tank on Wednesday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
FOREIGN delegates gather around the Al-Khalid tank on Wednesday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: Day two of the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) 2016 saw the signing of some 13 memorandums of understanding (MoUs), which included an agreement with Ukraine for up-gradation of the Al-Khalid tank and another with Turkey for the sale of the primary trainer aircraft, the Super Mushshak.

Both the Al-Khalid and Al-Zarar tanks — displayed out in the open at the Expo Centre — were the centre of attraction of the people coming to see the exhibition on Wednesday. Many of them climbed atop the tanks but the Ukrainian delegation stood a few yards away, admiring the Al-Khalid as they congratulated each other on finalising the deal. As per their agreement with Pakistan, Ukraine will provide engine for the tank.

The MoU was signed by the federal Minister for Defence Production, Rana Tanveer Hussain, and his Ukrainian counterpart.

Mr Hussain said that when the country bought any equipment from abroad, their technology came to Pakistan automatically. The agreement would serve to strengthen the indigenous defence industry.

“Our defence industry has maintained high quality standards and this is recognised all over the world. We are also working hard to improve our defence industry’s capabilities,” he said.

Air Marshal Arshad Malik, chairman of the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), and Mustafa Seker, deputy undersecretary at the Turkish defence industry ministry, signed the contract for the sale of MFI-17 Super Mushshak. Under the deal, the PAC would provide 52 Super Mushshaks to the Turkish Air Force for training of its pilots.

The Super Mushshak is a lightweight single-engine aircraft with two to three seats and can be used for both training and wide range of military missions, including forward air control, forward area support, reconnaissance, artillery fire observation, camouflage inspection, border patrol, target flying and target towing for training of ground units. A Turkish technical team visited Pakistan in June for the evaluation of the aircraft and recommended its purchase.

The contract will not only open new avenues for export of aviation equipment but will also help generate revenue for the country. The Super Mushshak is already in service in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran, Syria, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and South Africa.

Another important MoU was signed by PAC Kamra with the US Simulation Technologies Inc, for the procurement of two Super Mushshak flight simulators. The PAC and Telec Electronics & Machinery Pvt Ltd jointly offered engine repairs and overhaul facilities to customers.

There were MoUs also between the Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) and the Czechoslovak Group; the POF and Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa S.A. Co, Poland; the POF and MoDI, Azerbaijan, etc.

Several foreign delegations roamed about in the various halls as they showed interest in other combat equipment, including the Hamza 8x8, Pakistan’s first multi-role combat vehicle.

“This is a combination of a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle and Armoured Personnel Carrier, and it is designed and produced by an Islamabad-based private company, the Blitzkrieg Defence Solutions,” said one of the engineers working on the machine for the last two years.

German and American delegations in particular showed interest in the vehicle. “The cost of a vehicle will be finalised after the buyers provide us with their specifications,” he added.

The Expo Centre’s Hall No 1 has stalls of companies from South Africa, Sweden, the UK, etc. Its Hall No 2 is dominated by Turkish companies and Hall No 3 by the Chinese firms.

Two halls have several drones and drone detection devices on display and two others showcase electronic devices and an extensive range of protective gear such as bulletproof vests and jackets.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2016

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