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Indigenous multi-role drone unveiled in IDEAS

Updated November 29, 2018

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KARACHI: (clockwise) Visitors inspect missiles at the 10th International Defence Exhibition and Seminar at the Expo Centre on Wednesday. Aviation enthusiasts gather around JF-17 Thunder aircraft. A visitor tries out a weapon. A view of a battlefield model in the exhibition.—Photos by White Star / Agencies
KARACHI: (clockwise) Visitors inspect missiles at the 10th International Defence Exhibition and Seminar at the Expo Centre on Wednesday. Aviation enthusiasts gather around JF-17 Thunder aircraft. A visitor tries out a weapon. A view of a battlefield model in the exhibition.—Photos by White Star / Agencies

KARACHI: Day two of the 10th International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) 2018 here on Wed­nesday was witness to the unveiling of a new indigenous multi-role drone built by Global Industrial and Defence Solution (GIDS). The drone was introduced by Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Kaleem Shaukat, one of the chief guests of the exhibition being organised under the aegis of the Defence Export Promotion Organi­sation at the Karachi Expo Centre.

Named Shahpar, the drone is capable of flying at an altitude of 17,000 feet for up to seven hours. GIDS describes Shahpar as a medium-range tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with autonomous take-off and landing. It is said to be able to carry various types of payloads integrated for reconnaissance and day and night surveillance. Shahpar’s other features include accurate lateral, longitudinal trajectory control, mission planning, management and control, geo-referencing and geo-pointing for terrestrial targets. The drone’s cameras can focus up to a radius of 250 kilometres and can operate in any weather.

Visitors

The first two days of the exhibition have been earmarked for delegations, trade visitors and networking activities. The visitors with proper accreditation parked their cars in the designated parking areas to take a shuttle from there to reach the Expo Centre.

A couple had brought with them their six-month-old baby Fahad Ghaziani. When someone asked them if they had accreditation for the baby, they shook their heads and said they didn’t think that anyone would stop them from taking inside an infant. Later, the mother was seen roaming about the stalls all alone.

First two days of exhibition earmarked for delegations, trade visitors and networking activities

Most Pakistan stalls were located aro­und the entrance. There were arm­ed vehicles and tanks that people wanted to climb on mostly for the sake of pictures. Right in the centre was JF-17 Thunder, the pride and joy of the Aircraft Manufacturing Factory at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra.

The aircraft has been developed to meet tactical and strategic needs of the Pakistan Air Force. It is designed to accommodate future upgrades and additional requirements. Equipped with advanced electronics, it is capable of carrying multitude air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons having compatibility with western weapon systems. It was surrounded by its ammunition, which the visitors skipped and hopped through to climb up to its cockpit, for pictures.

“Is that the plane’s steering wheel?” a woman’s voice could be heard from inside the cockpit of Super Mushshak aircraft also on display near JF-17. Maqsood Ahmed, the man in uniform representing the aircraft’s manufacturers, Aircraft Manufacturing Factory, smiled in reply before explaining that it was not a steering wheel but the plane’s control stick. Another woman wanted to know why Super Mushshak didn’t have its ammunition laying around like JF-17 and was politely informed by another representative in uniform, with the name tag ‘Nawaz’ on his chest, that it was because it was primarily a trainer aircraft and not for combat really. Then someone else had an issue with its small size.

“Well, we just let them come sit with us inside the cockpit. Most just want someone to photograph them there while others take selfies as we make small talk with them about the weather or how they are today. They all seem very happy,” said Mr Ahmed in the cockpit.

Passing the Kashmir Hall set up as a marquee for seminars and conferences, one could get to the main building. Hall-1 mostly had Turkish and Russian stalls. Hall-2 also Hall-3 had Turkish and Chinese stalls, while Hall-4 and Hall-5 had many international stalls representing Italy, Poland, etc, as well as Pakistani stalls.

Conferences

The first conference of the day was organised by the Pakistan Army early in the day. It was titled “In pursuit of peace, Pak Armed Forces contributions in bringing peace and stability in the country and region” in which National Defence University President Lt Gen Majid Ehsan, Ambassador Najmuddin Sheikh, Azad Jammu & Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan, Ambassador Riaz Khokhar, Lt Gen Khalid Rabbani and Ambassador Abdul Basit highlighted the importance of the Pakistan armed forces’ role in stability of peace in the country and particularly in the region. The conference was attended by a large number of local and foreign delegates.

The National Centre for Maritime Policy Research Karachi chapter of the National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA) under the auspices of Pakistan Navy also organised a maritime conference titled “Maritime security dynamics and requirement of innovative solutions for Indian Ocean Region”.

The conference was also attended by Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi and other high-level civil and military officials, eminent maritime stakeholders and world renowned defence industry entrepreneurs.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2018

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