Pakistani Military Launches Defense AI Program

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has launched a Cognitive Electronic Warfare (CEW) program at its Center for Artificial Intelligence and Computing (CENTAIC), according to media reports. Modern connected weapon systems generate vast amounts of data requiring artificial intelligence and machine learning software for speedy analysis and rapid decision-making on the battlefield. 

AI/ML in Military

Modern electronic warfare requires the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to analyze vast amounts of data coming from a large number of sensors mounted on various military platforms deployed on the ground, in the air and on the seas. EW systems can collect a considerable amount of data about an enemy’s frequency use, radar deployment, and many other factors. Here is how British defense contractor BAE Systems defines it:

"Cognitive Electronic Warfare (CEW) is the use of cognitive systems – commonly known as Artificial Intelligence (AI) or machine learning – to enhance development and operation of Electronic Warfare (EW) technologies for the defense community. Cognitive systems can sense, learn, reason, and interact naturally with people and environments, accelerating development and implementation of next generation EW threat detection, suppression, and neutralization technologies". 

Indian defense analyst Pravin Sawhney says Pakistan Air Force may have already begun using CEW  systems. In a recent video posted on YouTube, Sawhney believes PAF used CEW in Pakistan's successful Operation Swift Report launched in response to India's bombing of Balakot in 2019. 

Sawhney speculates that, after the success of PAF's Operation Swift Retort, Pakistani military has recognized the importance of using its air force as the lead branch for the deployment of AI/ML and CEW. The establishment of Center for Artificial Intelligence and Computing (CENTAIC) at PAF's Air University is a manifestation of Pakistani military's commitment to this strategy. 

Sawhney says that PAF's commitment to AI/ML and CEW is also a step toward achieving greater interoperability with the PLAAF, the Chinese air force. Pakistan and Chinese air forces have been conducting joint air exercises since 2011. 

PLAAF's General Hong is currently in Pakistan for Shaheen IX joint air exercises with PAF.  He has been quoted in Pakistani media as saying: “The joint exercise will improve the actual level of combat training and strengthen practical cooperation between the two air forces”. Welcoming the Chinese contingent, PAF Air Vice Marshal Sulehri has said, “The joint exercise will provide an opportunity to further enhance interoperability of both the air forces, fortifying brotherly relations between the two countries”. Shaheen IX started a week after Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met with President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to Pakistan.

‘Digital Silk Road’ project is one of 12 sub-themes agreed to at the Belt Road Forum 2019 (BRF19) in Beijing. This state-of-the-art information superhighway involves laying fiber optic cables in Pakistan which will connect with China in the north and link with Africa and the Arab World via undersea cable to be laid from Gwadar Deep Sea Port built as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The global project will include 5G wireless networks deployment in BRI (Belt Road Initiative) member nations, including Pakistan.

Watch Indian defense analyst Pravin Sawhney describe Pakistan's defense AI program:

https://youtu.be/xaAKlKoNoVU

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Comment by Riaz Haq on July 12, 2023 at 7:40am

US holds title for world's most powerful military, Pakistan ranks 7th, Where does India stand?

https://www.livemint.com/news/world/us-holds-title-for-worlds-most-...

Pakistan has entered the top 10 of the most powerful militaries in the world, securing the seventh spot. Japan and France have dropped to eighth and ninth respectively. The United States, Russia, and China remain the top three.

According to Global Firepower, a prominent data website specializing in defence-related information, the United States possesses the most powerful military force worldwide.

Russia and China follow closely in second and third place, respectively, while India secures the fourth position. The recently released 2023 Military Strength list, which evaluates over 60 factors, also highlights nations with comparatively weaker military forces such as Bhutan and Iceland.

The assessment by Global Firepower takes into account various criteria, including the number of military units, financial resources, logistical capabilities, and geographical considerations, to determine each nation's overall score.

"Our unique, in-house formula allows for smaller (and) more technologically-advanced nations to compete with larger (and) lesser-developed powers… special modifiers, in the form of bonuses and penalties, are applied to further refine the list which is compiled annually. Trends do not necessarily indicate a declining power as changes to the GFP formula can also account for this."

The report lists 145 countries and also compares each nation's year-on-year ranking changes.

Here are the 10 nations with the most powerful militaries in the world:

United States

Russia

China

India

United Kingdom

South Korea

Pakistan

Japan

France

Italy

Here are the 10 nations with the least powerful militaries in the world:

Bhutan

Benin

Moldova

Somalia

Liberia

Suriname

Belize

Central African Republic

Iceland

Sierra Leone

The top four nations remain as they were in the 2022 Global Firepower list.

In a shift from the previous year's rankings, the United Kingdom has advanced from eighth to fifth place in terms of military strength. South Korea retains its sixth position from last year.

https://twitter.com/spectatorindex/status/1678023296833720322?s=20

Notably, Pakistan has entered the top 10, securing the seventh spot. Conversely, Japan and France, which held the fifth and seventh positions respectively last year, have dropped to eighth and ninth this year.

Despite ongoing conflicts and Russia's "special operation" invasion of Ukraine in February of the previous year, Russia maintains its second position. The rankings reflect the evolving dynamics and complexities of global military capabilities and highlight the continuous assessment of various factors influencing military strength.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 1, 2023 at 6:34pm

Evolution of AI’s Significance in Pakistan

https://cscr.pk/explore/themes/politics-governance/pakistans-draft-...

The hype around Artificial Intelligence (AI) has increased over the past decade, but in Pakistan, this began gaining momentum around 2017 onward. It began with a few opinion pieces in institutional publications calling for the securitisation of AI against “hybrid war” to proper governmental initiatives by two different political governments. Near the very end of its tenure in mid-2018, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) government led then by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, inaugurated a National Centre for Artificial Intelligence (NCAI) at the National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST), followed by a Rs 1.1bn budgetary allocation for select universities (mostly in Punjab and Islamabad, one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Sindh each); most importantly, NUST was declared as the headquarters from where these research and development (R&D) efforts on AI would be coordinated.

A month later (May 2018), the succeeding federal government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), led by then Prime Minister Imran Khan, approved the Digital Pakistan Policy. This was the first high-level government policy to lay out a plan to set up innovation centres in different thematic areas across the provincial capitals and minor/auxiliary cities, which included AI as a special focus area. The year concluded with the President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi, himself a former PTI leader, ambitiously declaring his own Presidential Initiative for Artificial Intelligence & Computing (PIAIC).

On the practical side, it is a rudderless policy driven more by utopian ideals instead of factual appreciation of strengths and weaknesses.

Two years later (during the PTI government) in 2020, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) took the lead in setting up a Centre of Artificial Intelligence and Computing (CENTAIC). The next year (2021), PAF also inaugurated a Cyber Security Academy within Air University, during which the Air Force’s C4I lead also announced the intent to set up an Air Force Cyber Command.

Shortly after the deposition of the PTI government by the incumbent Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance in the first half of 2022, the budget was approved to set up a Sino-Pak Centre for Artificial Intelligence (SPCAI) at the Pak-Austria Fachhochschule: Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology (PAF-IAST) in Haripur, which purportedly collaborates through linkages with academia and industries in Austria and China. Also, in the same year, the Pakistan Army announced the inauguration of its Cyber Command, which reportedly consists of two divisions, one of which (the Army Centre of Emerging Technologies) is reasonably believed to include AI in its focus areas.

The incumbent PDM government, through the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, had reportedly constituted a 15-member National Task Force (NTF) on Artificial Intelligence with the purported objective of supporting national development, even before the draft policy was published. The dichotomy is mind-boggling since MoITT has the primary mandate of supervising ICT-related initiatives.

Ignoring the Elephants in the Room

The authors of the draft National AI Policy are surprisingly oblivious or intentionally ignorant of major obstacles to its proper appreciation and implementation (adoption).

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 5, 2023 at 10:40am

After Azerbaijan, will Pakistan also join Turkey’s 5th generation fighter program?


https://breakingdefense.com/2023/08/after-azerbaijan-will-pakistan-...


Collaborating with other countries will accelerate the development process and with reduce the risks on Turkey, experts told Breaking Defense.
By AGNES HELOU


BEIRUT — Just a week after Turkey signed an agreement to add Azerbaijan to its fifth generation fighter jet program, a senior Turkish official suggested that Pakistan, too, could join in.

“Pretty soon, within this month, we will be discussing with our Pakistani counterparts to officially include Pakistan in our national fighter jet program, KAAN,” deputy defense minister Celal Sami Tufekci announced Wednesday.

The agreement with Azerbaijan came last week during the International Defense Industry Fair, or IDEF 2023, held in Istanbul. It was a move that was described by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a “new sign of solidarity between the two countries.”

While the Pakistani government doesn’t appear to have commented publicly about their potential inclusion, and a representative for the Pakistani air force did not immediately respond to Breaking Defense’s request for comment, experts said that working with other countries will accelerate the development process for the ambitious KAAN project and with reduce the risks on Turkey.

“Developing a fifth-generation fighter aircraft is a complex and costly endeavor that requires a wide range of expertise and resources. Collaborating with other countries allows Turkey to pool resources and technological know-how from the participating nations and distribute the financial burden, resulting in a more advanced and capable aircraft,” Mohammed Soliman, director of the Strategic Technologies and Cyber Security Program at the Middle East Institute, said.

Turkey has revealed an ambitious schedule for the fighter, including a first flight scheduled for late December, though experts said it could be a decade or more before the plane is operational.

“We have a period of [10-plus] years ahead of us, and there is no guarantee that this process will end smoothly and on time,” Turkish aerospace and defense expert Cem Dogut told Breaking Defense.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 5, 2023 at 9:07pm

Pakistan opens National Aerospace Science and Technology Park to induce technological advancement

https://www.arabnews.pk/node/2349931/pakistan


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday inaugurated the National Aerospace Science and Technology Park at the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Base Nurkhan in Rawalpindi, his office said, with the premier saying the facility would help induce technological advancement in the South Asian country.

The NASTP would foster research, development and innovation in the fields of aviation, space, cyber and computing to ensure social, economic, technological and scientific dividends for Pakistan and its valuable partners, according to a statement issued by Sharif’s office.

In his address with attendees at the inauguration, the prime minister termed the National Aerospace Science and Technology Park a project of “national and strategic significance” that would reap multi-dimensional benefits for the country.

“[The] NASTP project would induce technological advancement and would make the country more self-reliant by providing a platform for the youth and our future generations,” Sharif said.

“The project is equipped with state-of-the-art design, innovation, research and development centers which would provide ample opportunities for foreign investment in the country.”

He praised the efforts of the Pakistan Air Force and its skilled personnel in achieving of the “milestone” in record time.

“[The] NASTP is a highly promising project that will leverage collective wisdom and would contribute to kick-starting Pakistan’s economy to bring it on a fast track toward progression,” the prime minister added.

The facility, under the patronage and support of Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), will enable the information technology (IT) sector as one of the key domains of the economic revival initiative, according to the statement.

Reeling with an economic crisis, Pakistan set up the SIFC in June to attract foreign investment.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 8, 2023 at 5:25pm

Turkey said nearly 200 Pakistani engineers and officials are involved in the Turkish Aerospace Kaan fifth-generation fighter project. (Turkish Aerospace)


https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/turkey-to-engage-pak...

The Turkish government has announced that Pakistan may officially join its fifth-generation Turkish Aerospace (TA) Kaan fighter aircraft programme.

In an announcement on 2 August in Karachi, Turkish Deputy Defence Minister Celal Sami Tüfekçi said Ankara and Islamabad would initiate discussions about Pakistan joining the project. “Pretty soon, within this month, we will be discussing with our Pakistani counterparts to officially include Pakistan in our national fighter jet programme (Kaan),” Tüfekçi said.

He also revealed that nearly 200 Pakistani officials and engineers were “already [taking] part in the development of this programme”.

Tüfekçi's announcement follows an early announcement by Turkish officials in February 2022 that Pakistan was a collaborative partner for the development of the fighter aircraft. At the time, the CEO of Turkish Aerospace (TUSAŞ), Temel Kotil, had said the TF-X (Kaan) was a “Turkish-Pakistani fighter programme”.

However, Tüfekçi's recent announcement suggests that Pakistan's involvement is not yet official. Both Pakistan and Turkey seek a fifth-generation fighter aircraft to replace their fourth-generation Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter aircraft.

According to information published by TA, the Kaan is intended to have a maximum speed of Mach 1.8 at 40,000 ft (12,192 m) and a service ceiling of 55,000 ft.

Turkey's interest in making Pakistan an official partner in the project reflects Ankara's ambition to enhance resources and expertise to mature the programme. Pakistan's potential involvement in the Kaan project will almost certainly be supported by the Pakistan Air Force's (PAF's) new National Aerospace Science and Technology Park (NASTP). This facility was established on 4 August at the PAF base at Base Nur Khan near Islamabad.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 12, 2024 at 5:30pm

Chinese-Origin J-10C Fighter ‘Challenges’ Eurofighter Typhoon As Pakistan, Qatar Hold Aerial Drills

https://www.eurasiantimes.com/chinese-origin-j-10c-fighter-challeng...

By Ashish Dangwal

Pakistan’s newly inducted J-10C fighters are making their mark in a major aerial exercise, where they ‘challenge’ Eurofighter Typhoons of the Qatar Emiri Air Force for the first time.

On January 10, 2024, the Pakistan Air Force officially announced that Qatari Eurofighter Typhoons and Pakistani Chengdu J-10Cs are currently engaged in joint air exercises known as Zilzal-II, hosted by Qatar.

The exercise aims to simulate a “realistic aerial warfare scenario” to evaluate both air forces’ operational readiness.

According to the PAF, the exercise is one of the most complex joint air force drills, aiming to foster interoperability between the two allied nations and create a shared learning space.

“During the exercise, PAF’s newly inducted state-of-the-art J-10C fighter aircraft will flex its muscles against Eurofighter jets of Qatar Emiri Air Force in their first-ever face-off in an aerial exercise,” the official statement informed.

Pakistan welcomed the first batch of Chinese-developed J-10Cs into its air force in March 2022. The precise number of deployed J-10 aircraft in the ongoing exercise remains undisclosed.

The activities are centered at the Doha airbase, near the capital’s main airport, in contrast to the Al-Udeid airbase, where a notable US presence is observed.

“The successful induction and operationalization of the J-10C fighter jets in PAF’s fighter fleet and their participation in yet another international exercise in an unprecedented short span of time is a remarkable achievement,” the Pakistan Air Force said.


Highlighting the significance of the J-10Cs’ participation, the PAF emphasizes that it represents a notable milestone in their pursuit of a “technologically advanced and formidable Air Force.”

The service also pointed out that the swift acquisition and operationalization of these advanced fighter aircraft underscore the PAF’s commitment to maintaining a cutting-edge force capable of addressing evolving challenges and safeguarding Pakistan’s airspace proficiently.

Nonetheless, the exercise is expected to offer valuable insights into the relative effectiveness of the Chinese platform and give an insight into its capabilities.

Both aircraft are outfitted with cutting-edge active electronically scanned array radars and can employ beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles. Specifically, the Eurofighter utilizes the MBDA Meteor, while the J-10C relies on the export version of the PL-15.

Zilzal II Joint Aerial Exercise
Zilzal-II, designed to enhance joint planning mechanisms, is a significant milestone in fortifying the enduring defense partnership between the two closely aligned nations.

The first iteration of Zilzal, held in 2020, concentrated on reinforcing the established defense collaboration between the two nations. During the Zilzal-I exercise in 2020, Pakistan’s JF-17 Thunder fighters operated alongside Qatar’s Mirage 2000s.

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