Pakistan readies production of UAVs

Sept. 20, 2012 at 2:32 PM
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KARACHI, Pakistan, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Pakistan Defense Minister Syed Naveed Qamar said Pakistan intends to build unmanned aerial vehicles.

Qamar made the statement in discussions with Pakistani media, the News International reported Thursday.

Pakistan's indigenous UAV industry is centered on the state-owned defense enterprise Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in Kamra, east of Islamabad.

PAC has begun manufacturing Falco UAVs in collaboration with the Italian company Selex Galileo. While initially the Falco UAV system is designed purely for aerial reconnaissance and information gathering, PAC intends the vehicles eventually to be upgraded to be equipped with weapon systems to carry out offensive operations, similar to U.S. UAVs.

Pakistan originally wanted to buy UAVs from the United States but Islamabad was rebuffed in its requests, leading PAC to attempt to develop an indigenous variant. However, technical issues have slowed development of the Pakistani program.

Pakistan's aviation firms have been involved in manufacturing smaller UAVs for years, with Pakistan's Integrated Dynamics firm producing small UAVs for the government and commercial market since 1997.

Other Pakistani companies working on UAV issues include Surveillance and Target Unmanned Aircraft (Satuma) and East West Infiniti, while state-owned aviation firms produce UAVs include the Air Weapons Complex National Development Complex as well as the PAC.

But the PAC complex is the main driver behind Pakistan's UAV development. The massive PAC facility, the world's seventh largest assembly plant, is in Kamra in Punjab province, and assembles and manufactures aircraft for Pakistan's armed forces.

"PAC has acquired the capability to produce Falco XN UAV in collaboration with Selex Galileo (SG) of Italy," PAC's website states. "The UAV is a medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV designed for area reconnaissance and point surveillance.

"It has the capability to reveal targets of interest, classify them, calculate their coordinates and determine the distances between them."

In describing the Falco XN UAV, the website added: "The UAV has a high-wing monoplane connected to the central fuselage. The wing assembly is equipped with flapperons to control the lift and lateral dynamics. Tail-planes comprising two rudders and two elevators provide control for directional and longitudinal dynamics and are connected to the wing assembly through the tail-booms. ...

"The payload is mounted on the stabilized platform of the UAV and is managed through an advance Payload Management System and an Electro-Optical suite. The Electro-Optical suite includes E/O Camera, IR sensors, Thermal Imaging Systems, Laser Designator and a Surveillance Radar."

While the PAC website makes no mention of possible exports plans for the Falco XN UAV's it nevertheless touts the UAV's characteristics, noting that it is "capable of carrying wide variety of payloads; easily adaptable to meet mission requirements," has an "effective guidance and control system, suitable for both civil and military roles, mission pre-planning, re-tasking, simulation, rehearsal, and play back" and "can be flown in manual and automatic modes."

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