KARACHI, July 20: A day after the crash of one of its unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), the Pakistan Navy on Wednesday inducted the first squadron of Uqab-II UAVs into its fleet during a ceremony held at PNS Mehran airbase.
Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Noman Bashir was the chief guest on the occasion.
The indigenously-developed UAVs are equipped with advanced equipment and sensors and can successfully be employed in support of Maritime Interdiction Operation (MIO) in the coastal areas.
Equipped with GPRS-based navigation system, the UAVs have a maximum speed of 150 miles per hour and a range of 150km with four hours endurance time.
The platform has the facility of wheeled takeoff and landing and has a ceiling of 10,000 feet from ground level.
The naval chief congratulated all those involved in the Uqab-II programme and expressed satisfaction on the successful induction of the UAV into the PN fleet.
He said that maritime environment posed multifarious challenges to the world's navies. In addition to traditional roles, navies were now increasingly confronted with emerging challenges of deterring maritime terrorism.
Owing to their small size, ease of operation and maintenance versatility in employment and low risk of loss, UAVs today are regarded as force multipliers and are increasingly being used by combat forces worldwide.
Admiral Bashir said the UAVs' induction was a manifestation of PN's commitment and resolve towards self-reliance and indigenisation.
Cognizant of the heightened surveillance measures at all times, the induction of UQAB-II UAVs will provide essential experience to Pakistan Navy and necessary impetus to utilise this particular segment of warfare to the best use of naval objectives.
The induction of Uqab-II UAVs is part of Navy's quest to beef up its defence in creeks and along the border and other coastal areas.
In view of the induction of latest weapon system for littoral warfare and for the brown water navy in the neighbourhood, Pakistan Navy had sought budgetary allocations for providing more tactical equipment-such as UAVs, night vision devices and high speed boats to deal with the threat.
The Pakistan Navy had sought UAVs for tracking of fishermen on the Makran Coast; and for night patrolling in the Creek area.
They can be equipped with infrared and night vision devices so that any ingress in the area can be countered.
According to sources, the government was considering to equip the police force with such platform to monitor urban violence in different parts of the country.