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Pakistan's First Armed Drone Will Help Fight Terror

Pakistan has successfully flight-tested Burraq, its first armed drone. The new unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) fired and precisely hit both still and moving targets with Barq, a laser-guided missile it carried under its wings.

Pakistan UCAV Burraq Source: ISPR

Based on Chinese CH-3 specification,the indigenously developed Burraq can carry 100-kilogram payload.  It is a medium altitude long endurance (MALE) drone which can stay up for 12 hours. The payload can be laser-guided missile Barq, similar to Chinese  AR-1 missiles, or a pair of precision guided small-diameter bombs like the Chinese FT series PGM.

With its successful Burraq test, Pakistan joins eight other countries — the United States, South Africa, France, Nigeria, Britain, Iran, Israel and China — which have already put weapons onto unmanned aircraft, according to the New America Foundation. Of these, only the US, Britain and Israel have successfully deployed armed drones during military operations, the foundation said.

Pakistani military's interest in armed drone technology is based on its direct knowledge of how effective American Predator drones have been in targeting and eliminating Taliban terrorists in Pakistan's FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas).

The objections to US drone strikes in Pakistan have mainly been due to the political sensitivity with violation of sovereignty, not due to lack of precision and effectiveness. Top TTP terrorist leaders Nek Mohammad, Baitullah Mehsud and Hakimullah Mehsud have all been killed in US drone strikes.

In a rare public statement on the effectiveness of the US drone campaign in FATA, General Officer Commanding 7-Division Maj-Gen Ghayur Mehmood serving in Waziristan in 2011 confirmed the effectiveness of US Predators when he said: "Yes there are a few civilian casualties in such precision strikes, but a majority of those eliminated are terrorists, including foreign terrorist elements.”

Pakistan is hoping to emulate the success of American drones in FATA by deploying Burraq in its ongoing anti-terror campaign in Waziristan and other tribal agencies.  Burraq has the ability to linger over targets for long periods of time, gather intelligence and fire deadly missiles precisely at much lower cost than fighter planes like F-16 and JF-17.

Here's a video of Burraq Test:

http://dai.ly/x2jf47j



Pakistan successfully tests 'Burraq' first... by dawn-news

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Comment by Riaz Haq on April 8, 2015 at 9:55pm

Pakistan and the United States moved closer to a billion dollar defense deal this week, after U.S. authorities notified Congress of a proposal to supply helicopters and missiles to sharpen up Pakistan's counter-terrorism efforts.

U.S. ally Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation of 180 million people, is fighting a Taliban insurgency in its northwest, a separatist insurgency along its Iranian border in the west, and has a heavily militarized and disputed border with arch rival India in the east.

The $952 million proposal involves the United States supplying Pakistan with 15 AH-1Z attack helicopters, 1,000 Hellfire missiles, engines, targeting and positioning systems and other equipment. But negotiations are not complete.

The helicopters and weapon systems were designed for counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations, especially in the mountainous Taliban strongholds along the Afghan border, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency said.

On Monday, the agency notified Congress of the proposed sale, noting it would "contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a country vital to U.S. foreign policy and national security goals in South Asia".

The equipment "will not alter the basic military balance in the region," the agency said.

Pakistani defense officials did not reply to requests for comment. The United States has been pushing Pakistan to take action against the Taliban as it withdraws most of its combat troops from neighboring Afghanistan, which is facing its own Taliban insurgency.

James Hardy, the Asia-Pacific editor for IHS Jane's Defence Weekly, told Reuters the helicopters would help modernize Pakistan's aging fleet, some of which had problems with spares and maintenance.

"Attack helicopters give you 'loiter' capability - you can hang around, find the target, knock it out," he said. "Right now Pakistan is using its fast jets for counterinsurgency work."

Pakistan is also trying to finalize a deal to buy eight submarines from China for a reported cost of between $4 billion to $5 billion.

China supplied 51 percent of the weapons Islamabad imported in 2010-2014, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which tracks global arms sales.

This year's budget allocated $7 billion to the military. The police received $800 million.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/08/us-pakistan-usa-idUSKBN0M...

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 27, 2015 at 10:17am

#Obama kept looser rules for #dronestrikes in #Pakistan #Weinstein #LoPorto http://on.wsj.com/1GmCijx via Wsj Properties​

These so-called “signature” strikes have been responsible for killing more al Qaeda leadership targets than strikes directly targeting high-value leaders, especially in Pakistan, where the group’s leadership can be difficult to find, current and former U.S. officials said.

The Jan. 15 strike that killed Messrs. Weinstein and Lo Porto was a signature strike.

Under a classified addendum to the directive approved by Mr. Obama, however, the CIA’s drone program in Pakistan was exempted from the “imminent threat” requirement, at least until U.S. forces completed their pullout from Afghanistan.

The exemption in the case of Pakistan means that the CIA can do signature strikes and more targeted drone attacks on militant leaders who have been identified without collecting specific evidence that the target poses an imminent threat to the U.S. Being part of the al Qaeda core in Pakistan is justification enough in the Obama administration’s eyes.
------------
To track the al Qaeda leader’s movements, and to make sure nobody else was hiding inside the compound, the CIA used the drone’s heat sensors, which can detect the unique heat signature of a human body. These sensors and others are typically used to meet the “near-certainty” standard.

The only heat signature inside the compound detected before the Jan. 15 strike was of the al Qaeda leader, the officials said.

After the compound was destroyed, drones overhead watched as six bodies were pulled from the rubble. The heat sensors and other intelligence had showed only four. They didn’t see any evidence at the time to suggest who the two additional bodies were, but didn’t think they were Westerners based on how the bodies were treated after the strike.

In early February, the U.S. intercepted communications by militants saying two Western hostages had been killed. CIA officials brushed aside suggestions the deaths came from a drone strike, pointing instead to the possibility that a Pakistan military operation might have been the responsible.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/obama-kept-looser-rules-for-drones-in-p...

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 24, 2015 at 10:20pm

#Balochistan govt to deploy surveillance drones. #Pakistan #terrorism http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/?p=427389 via @ePakistanToday


Balochistan government decided on aerial surveillance of criminals in an attempt to regain stability in the province which has been wracked by ethnic, sectarian and militant violence.

Balochistan govt wrote a letter to the federal government seeking permission to deploy surveillance drones in the province, sources reported.

The provincial authorities announced on Saturday that it would purchase drone cameras to monitor the activities of criminals.

Home Secretary Akber Hussain Durrani told a local media outlet that the govt has forwarded a summary to the FG seeking permission.

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2015/07/12/national/balochistan-gov...

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 29, 2015 at 6:58am

Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and over 1,000 AI researchers co-signed an open letter to ban killer #robots http://read.bi/1KuELQa via @sai

More than a thousand artificial intelligence researchers just co-signed an open letter urging the United Nations to ban the development and use of autonomous weapons.

The letter was presented this week at the 2015 International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and physicist Stephen Hawking signed the letter, alongside leading AI scientists like Google director of research Peter Norvig, University of California, Berkeley computer scientist Stuart Russell and Microsoft managing director Eric Horvitz.

The letter states that the development of autonomous weapons, or weapons that can target and fire without a human at the controls, could bring about a "third revolution in warfare," much like the creation of guns and nuclear bombs before it.

Even if autonomous weapons were created for use in "legal" warfare, the letter warns that autonomous weapons could become "the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow" — hijacked by terrorists and used against civilians or in rogue assassinations.

To everyday citizens, the Kalahnikovs — a series of automatic rifles designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov — are better known as AKs.

"They're likely to be used not just in wars between countries, but the way Kalashnikovs are used now ... in civil wars," Russell told Tech Insider. "[Kalashnikovs are] used to terrorize populations by warlords and guerrillas. They're used by governments to oppress their own people."

A life in fear of terrorists or governments armed with autonomous artificially intelligent weapons "would be a life for many human beings that is not something I would wish for anybody," Russell said.

Unlike nuclear arms, the letter states that lethal autonomous weapons systems, or LAWS, would "require no costly or hard-to-obtain raw materials, so they will become ubiquitous and cheap for all significant military powers to mass-produce."

But just how close are we to having usable autonomous weapons? According to Russell, affordable killer robots aren't a distant technology of the future. Stuart wrote in a May 2015 issue of Nature that LAWS could be feasible in just a few years.

In fact, semiautonomous weapons, which have some autonomous functions but not the capability to fire without humans, already exist. As Heather Roff, an ethics professor at the University of Denver, writes in Huffington Post Tech, the line between semiautonomous and fully autonomous is already quite thin, and getting even smaller.



Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/stephen-hawking-elon-musk-sign-open-...

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 7, 2015 at 8:27pm

#Pakistan's new killer drone Burraq killed "3 high-profile terrorosts" in Shawal near #Afghanistan border. #ZarbEAzb
http://wapo.st/1ISRy8g

An unmanned Pakistani aircraft killed three suspected terrorists Monday, marking the first time that the country’s military has used drone technology on the battlefield, officials said.

In March, Pakistan’s military declared that it had successfully armed an indigenously produced drone, which it calls the Burraq, with a laser-guided missile. But the weapon had not been used in combat until now, officials said.

Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa, a spokesman for the military, said in a brief statement that three “high-profile terrorists” were killed in the strike in the Shawal Valley in northwestern Pakistan. Bajwa did not identify them but said details would be forthcoming.

With the announcement, Pakistan appears to have joined a handful of nations that use armed drones as instruments of war.

[After years of delays, Pakistan cracks down on violent Islamists]

Earlier this year, the New America Foundation said there is evidence that eight other countries — the United States, South Africa, France, Nigeria, Britain, Iran, Israel and China — have placed weapons onto unmanned aircraft. At the time, the foundation said the United States, Britain and Israel were the only nations that had fired a missile from a drone during a military operation.

Pakistan’s drone program has been rapidly accelerating since it was announced in late 2013.

The Pakistani military initially said it would use drones only for surveillance. But it abandoned that stance this year in the aftermath of a terrorist attack on an army-run school that killed about 150 students and teachers.

Now, it appears, both Pakistan and the United States will be carrying out drone strikes along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. It was not clear whether Pakistan and the United States will coordinate their use of armed drones.

[Hostage deaths raise wider questions about drone strikes’ civilian toll]

Since 2004, the United States has carried out hundreds of drone strikes on Pakistani soil, targeting al-Qaeda and other Islamist militant groups.

Those strikes, the latest of which occurred late last week, had been deeply unpopular with the Pakistani public. Some of that opposition has subsided as Pakistan’s military began its latest offensive against militants.

Since that operation started last summer, officials say they have cleared Islamist militants from much of the country’s tribal belt. But there are signs that the army is running into a tougher-than-expected battle in the Shawal Valley.

In July, the army announced that it had begun a final assault on the valley, which straddles North and South Waziristan and includes a network of trails and tunnels to Afghanistan. The army was met with fierce resistance.

For much of August, the military appeared to have relied on repeated airstrikes in a bid to weaken militant positions in the valley. On Aug. 20, however, the military again announced that a ground operation was underway in the valley.

Pakistan’s decision to introduce armed drones on the battlefield could unnerve arch-rival India and neighboring Afghanistan.

So far, the Pakistani military has not announced its doctrine for using drones on home soil or specified whether they also could be deployed for cross-border operations.

Pakistan has not released details about the range of its drones, but some analysts estimate that the aircraft can fly about 75 miles.

There is also uncertainty about what procedures Pakistan’s military has in place to limit civilian casualties during a drone strike. Some foreigners kidnapped by militants in Pakistan or Afghanistan, for example, are feared to still be held captive in Pakistan.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 8, 2015 at 7:48am

An indigenously-developed drone killed three militants in Pakistan on Monday, marking the first use of the missile-firing aircraft in combat, the military said.

One of Pakistan’s Burraq drones, which carry two laser-guided Barq air-to-ground missiles, hit a suspected militant target, killing three people, in the North Waziristan tribal region near the border with Afghanistan, military officials said.

“1st ever use of Pak made Burraq Drone today. Hit a terrorist compound in Shawal Valley killing 3 high profile terrorists,” Major Gen. Asim Bajwa, the military spokesman, said in a message on his verified Twitter account.

The casualties couldn’t be independently verified as access to the area is restricted.

Before the drone strike on Monday, the U.S. and Israel were among the few countries to have ever used armed drones in combat, according to the New America Foundation, an independent Washington-based think tank.

A screengrab from a Pakistan Military handout video shows a Burraq drone taking off for a test flight.
 
Inter-Services Public Relations

 

A screenshot from a Pakistan military handout video shows a Burraq drone firing a Barq air-to-ground missile during a test flight.
 
Inter-Services Public Relations

 

Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif , left, with a drone operator during a test on March 13, 2015.
 
Inter-Services Public Relations
http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2015/09/08/see-pakistans-new-dea...

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 9, 2015 at 3:51pm

Pakistan’s creation of its own unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) ushers the country into an elite class of a few nations with combat drones, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel, according to data from the New America Foundation.

In March, Pakistan disclosed the existence of the Burraq drone and announced it had been test fired with success, though little was known about the vehicle’s actual armament or capabilities. The Guardian reported Pakistan lauded the successful development of a native drone as a “great national achievement.”

Pakistan has long battled the presence of Taliban militants hidden away in North Waziristan, a tribal region bordering Afghanistan. The Pakistan-Afghan border also offers refuge for loyalists of the Islamic State, according to members of the Afghan parliament. Until this week, the United States has monopolized drone strikes targeting militants in Pakistan’s tribal regions. North Waziristan has been pelted with more CIA drone strikes than any other place on earth, according to a recent report in The Guardian.

While drone strikes are undeniably effective and strategic, and generally cause minimal civilian casualties, they remain controversial with the Pakistani public. The government has occasionally decried U.S.-led missile activity as an unwelcome invasion of national sovereignty. Frustration between the nations mounted when the United States refused to share its drone development technology with Pakistan, a stance former Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf labeled “undeclared technological apartheid.”

Despite a lack of help from America, Pakistan got its hands on missile technology somewhere else. According to a recentReuters report, analysts say the Burraq drone bears an uncanny likeness to UAVs created by China.

http://www.worldmag.com/2015/09/pakistan_kills_three_terrorists_wit...

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 11, 2015 at 4:15pm

Alarmed by #Pakistan's killer drone #Burraq's success, #India to buy attack drones From #Israel For $400 Million http://www.ibtimes.com/india-buy-attack-drones-israel-400-million-r...

India will buy 10 armed drones from Israel at a cost of $400 million, the Economic Times reported Friday, citing sources within India’s ministry of defense. Officials from Israel Aerospace Industries were currently in India and exploring joint production of drones, the report added.

The Heron TP drones will be operated by India’s air force, and their procurement was being fast-tracked by India’s federal government. The deal was approved by India last week and the drones might be commissioned within a year, the paper reported.

India, which already uses an unarmed version of the drone for surveillance and intelligence gathering, sees the armed drones giving it an edge in combating cross-border scenarios, the paper reported. They can carry payloads of over 1,000 kilograms (about 2,200 pounds) and will be fitted with air-to-ground missiles.

The drones are particularly useful in attacking targets in scenarios that pose a risk to the lives of soldiers, the newspaper reported, citing the officials.

India is investing in a program to build its own unmanned aerial vehicles, all commonly called drones, but is some years away from actually commissioning one for use in combat, the paper reported.

The program, started in 2006, is being developed by the country’s umbrella organization for defense technology, the Defense Research and Development Organization, and the contract to build the first version, Rustom 1, was awarded to state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Bharat Electronics Ltd., Mint newspaper reported in 2010.

In January this year, India invited private companies to take on the serial production of Rustom 2, the second, more advanced version, Defense World reported. The Indian

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 22, 2015 at 1:24pm

#Pakistan’s indigenous armed drone #Burraq conducts first night-time strike on #TTP terrorists in #FATA 

http://tribune.com.pk/story/977517/21-militants-killed-in-airstrike...

Several terrorists were killed late on Thursday in South Waziristan in the first night-time strike by Pakistan’s first indigenous armed drone, ‘Burraq’, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

It was Buraaq’s first airstrike in the dark hours and took place with pinpoint accuracy, a source told The Express Tribune.

The development took place after airstrikes by fighter jets killed 21 militants near the Pak-Afghan border, said an ISPR press release.

“Twenty-one militants were killed in air trikes in Rajgal and Tirah areas of Khyber Agency,” Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement on Wednesday.

Earlier on October 11, at least 22 terrorists were killed in air strikes by Pakistani warplanes in the North Waziristan tribal agency before dawn.

Six compounds of terrorists were decimated in the air raids in Shawal Valley, according to the military’s media wing. The strategic valley is located on the confluence of borders between North and South Waziristan agencies.

The military has been engaged in a massive operation, codenamed Zarb-e-Azb, in North Waziristan since mid-June 2014. Most parts of the agency, once a stronghold of local and foreign militants, have been purged of terrorists.

However, some militants are holed up in the thickly forested Shawal Valley, which is now regarded as the last bastion of militants. The military mounted a ground offensive in Shawal in August, this year, after softening targets with air strikes.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 18, 2015 at 8:37am

#Pakistan's tool of war: #PAF's rolling thunder #JF17 Fighter Jet http://www.dawn.com/news/1226734 

Pakistan Air Force’s thunder
JF-17 is a single-engine multi-role fighter,capable of performing interception roles, ground attack and aerial reconnaissance. The fighter was inducted as a replacement for the ageing fleet A-5C, F-7P, Mirage 3 and Mirage 5 aircraft that were due to be replaced.

The initial Block 1 JF-17s were received in 2007, with production of the upgraded Block 2 JF-17s started in 2013. The upgraded models have upgraded avionics, air-to-air refuelling capability, data link, enhanced electronic warfare capability and enhanced load carrying ability.

The JF-17 is powered by a Russian RD-93 afterburning turbofan, which has a top speed for Mach 1.6. The engine is a derivative of the engine that powers the MIG-29 Fulcrum. With the recent improvement in Pakistan-Russia relations, it might be possible to source the engines directly from Russia, rather than through China. In November it was reported that PAF will stick with using the RD-93, and not opt for a Chinese-made engine.

It was also reported recently that PAF is interested in joint engine development with Russia. The air force for years has wanted to expand its technical capabilities in engine development, as they have lacked the capability in this highly-technical field.

Splash one bandit
The JF-17 can be equipped with air-to-air and air-to-ground ordinance, and has a 23 mm GSh-23-2 twin-barrel cannon mounted under the port side air intake.

The aircraft can carry 8,000lbs of ordinance on seven external hardpoints, which is an adequate amount of ordinance for any mission profile. The JF-17 enhances the much needed capability of the air force in beyond visual range (BVR) engagements.

JF-17 mounts both short-range infra-red air to air missiles along with longer ranged radar-guided BVR missiles, an essential capability for a frontline interceptor. Missiles used on the aircraft come from a variety of different nations.

Apart from a capable air-to-air mix, the aircraft can be fitted with laser-guided, satellite-guided and dumb iron bombs. The precision-guided weapons are paired with a targeting pod, mounted on the centreline hardpoint. JF-17's are also capable of carrying anti-runway munitions, specifically the Durandal, which crater a runway, denying its use to enemy aircraft.

The JF-17 Thunder, when equipped for an anti-maritime mission profile, can be equipped with the C-802 anti-ship missile (ASM) and the hypersonic CM-400AKG, often referred to as a ‘carrier-killer’ ASM. It hits the target at Mach 4 or above and its kinetic impact alone is enough to destroy any high-value target.

For Suppression of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD) missions, the Thunder can be equipped with anti-radiation missiles for neutralising the enemy's air defence radars, allowing the PAF to operate in a less restrictive airspace.

Overall, the varying ordinance carried by the JF-17 makes it a capable aircraft for multiple mission profiles.

The JF-17 fighter incorporates a fly-by-wire system, through which the aircraft’s pitch axis is controlled, with leading edge slats/flaps and trailing edge flaps automatically adjusted during maneuvering to increase turning performance. The performance of the jet reportedly is similar to the F-16.

Incorporating a defensive aids system (DAS), sensors such as radar warning receivers (RWR) and missile approach warning (MAW) enable the pilot to have a clear picture of the threats in an operational area. The electronic warfare (EW) suite of the aircraft is mounted in the tail of the JF-17.

It is reported that the pilots can be equipped helmet mounted sights, which gives the pilots a distinct advantage in visual-range air combat, as they can simply look at and guide the missile onto their intended target.

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