Karachi Defense Expo 2022: Pakistan Military's Focus on AI, Connectivity and Drone Warfare

Pakistan displayed its latest drones at IDEAS 2022 (International Defence Exhibition and Seminar) Defense Expo held in November in Karachi. It also presented sessions on artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and connectivity. The event attracted more than 50 countries, including large pavilions set up by Pakistan's closest friends China and Turkey.  The four-day IDEAS 2022 opened on November 15, 2022 at Karachi Expo Centre, bringing together 300 leading national and international defense manufacturers and over 300 foreign delegates from 57 countries.

Pakistan's Shahpar 2 Attack Drone

Shahpar 2 Drone:

On display at IDEAS 2022 was Shahpar-2 Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) attack drone  produced by Global Industrial and Defense Solutions (GIDS), a Pakistani state-owned defense conglomerate. It can fly at a maximum speed of around 222 kilometers per hour (kph) with maximum range of around 1,050 kilometers, and the data link range of 300 kilometers. It can contact satellites in day or night operations.   

Shahpar 2 drone can locate, surveil, track and attack targets.  Its Zumr-II (EO/IR) turret is an improved and lighter version of Zumr-I (EP) turret. It can also be equipped with SAR, COMINT/ELINT payload. For sensors and targeting systems drone has an internal hard-point where it carry 50 kg (110 lb) payload. (Zumr-I weighs 36.5 kg (80 lb) while Zumr-II weighs 49 kg (108 lb)). The drone has two external hard-points where it can carry laser guided weapons, AGMs 60 kg (130 lb) each. Shapar 2 has already been inducted into service with Pakistan’s Army, Navy, and Air Force. 

Pakistan Navy's Cruise Missiles: Babur, Harba and Zarb. Source: Quwa

Also on display were advanced Harbah anti-ship cruise missiles made by Pakistan's state-owned Global Industrial and Defence Solutions (GIDS) and electronic warfare system produced by National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC). The locally developed Al-Khalid tanks and modern assault rifles manufactured by Pakistan Ordinance Factories (POF) were also exhibited. Visitors also got a close look at the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) JF-17 Thunder fighter jets produced jointly by China and Pakistan. 

JF-17 Block III: 

JF-Block-III is a BVR (Beyond Visual Range) multi-role fighter jet capable of firing long range air-to-air missiles like China's PL-10 and PL-15. It features active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system, making it Pakistan Air Force’s first AESA-equipped fighter aircraft. Combination of AESA radar and 120-mile range PL-15 missiles make the JF-17 Block 3 an extremely lethal fighter for beyond visual range combat, considerably more capable than any fighter in Pakistani service including the F-16.  It also has a new electronic warfare system, upgraded avionics including a three-axis fly-by-wire digital flight control system, and a helmet-mounted display and sight (HDMS) system. With its new integrated sensor package, the aircraft will have the capability for quick information sharing and network-enabled operations that facilitate earlier detection and interception of enemy aircraft. 

Pakistan JF-17 Block 3 Fighter Jet

Chinese and Turkish Pavilions:

Pakistan’s longtime allies China and Turkey had the largest foreign presence at IDEAS 2022. Chinese state-run defense conglomerate China North Industries Group Corporation Limited (NORINCO) displayed missiles and weapon systems including the Red Arrow 9A anti-tank guided missile.  

Turkey displayed a scale model of its fifth-generation fighter, codenamed the TF-X, at Pakistan’s IDEAS expo 2022. Over two dozen Turkish defense manufacturers participated in Pakistan’s IDEAS defense expo this year. 

Top Turkish defense manufacturers, including Roketsan, state-run STM and ASFAT, showcased their products ranging from modern armed drones to tactical mini-UAV systems. Turkish Aerospace exhibited the models of the T129 ATAK helicopter, Gokbey multirole helicopter, Gokturk-2 observation satellite, as well as Anka unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and Aksungur medium-altitude long-range endurance (MALE) UAV.

AI and Connectivity:   

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) launched a Cognitive Electronic Warfare (CEW) program in 2020 at its Center for Artificial Intelligence and Computing (CENTAIC). 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.  

A seminar titled ‘Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Defence Market: A Paradigm Shift in Military Strategy and National Security’ was organized as part of IDEAS-22. Also discussed was ‘One Network’, an advanced communication project, under which 3,000 kilometers of underground fibre optic cable is being laid along the motorways in Pakistan.  

An example of connectivity and integration was demonstrated in Operation Swift Retort against India in February 2019. The success of this operation was the result of combat-proven PAF fighters which are fully integrated with the air defense system (e.g. AWACS), and are mutually data-linked, alongside all AEW (Airborne Early Warning) and ground sensors. 

Rethink After Ukraine War:

The war in Ukraine is forcing a defense strategy rethink in countries around the world. This is particularly true of  countries such as India that rely mainly on Russian equipment and training. Hindustan Times has quoted an unnamed former Indian Army Chief as saying:  “War videos available show that the Russian Army has tactical issues in Ukraine war. Tell me, which tank formation goes to war in a single file without air or infantry cover when the opponent is equipped with the best anti-tank guided missile like Javelin or Turkish Bayraktar TB2 missile firing drones? There is question on Russian air supremacy with Ukraine Army armed with shoulder fired Stinger surface to air missiles as well as the night fighting capability of the Russian Air Force.”

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Comment by Riaz Haq on July 27, 2023 at 7:19pm

Pakistani official eyes cooperation with Türkiye on UAVs, advanced fighters

https://www.dailysabah.com/business/defense/pakistani-official-eyes...

Saying that the defense industries of Türkiye and Pakistan have been working together for more than two decades, the Pakistani secretary for defense production added that the two countries will consolidate their work and look ahead to new fields, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and advanced fighters.

Turkish-Pakistani relations have expanded "exponentially" over the last decade, Humayun Aziz told Anadolu Agency (AA).

He stressed that Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), Pakistani Karachi Shipyard, and Turkish defense firm STM have established ties.

Karachi Shipyard and STM are building Milgem Plus warships in Pakistan, and the two countries will work on submarines as well, he underlined during the 16th International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF) in Istanbul, Türkiye's commercial capital.

He added that new frontiers include unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and advanced fighters, "because we are already progressing a lot in submarine and ship-building."

Türkiye and Pakistan are also cooperating militarily in regard to small arms and other projects, he noted.

Working on new capabilities
On the technological aspect, the two countries have a good understanding and are working on certain advanced designs, Aziz said.

He said, "The defense industry is actively cooperating with us for work on new design capabilities which also includes artificial intelligence and new techniques."

On the current IDEF defense fair, which runs through Friday, Aziz said the event is growing in strength.

"Our relations are continuous, but definitely these exhibitions provide us with an opportunity to assess a lot of products on one platform in one day," he highlighted.

He said many people visited Pakistan's pavilion at the event, adding, "We have some tremendous missile, aircraft, (and) unmanned combat vehicle technology capabilities. So I see a lot of interest from people in things we are presenting."

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 4, 2023 at 3:01pm

Pakistani defense conglomerate unveils new drone, missiles at IDEF

https://www.defensenews.com/industry/techwatch/2023/08/03/pakistani...



A Pakistani defense conglomerate has unveiled new missiles and a drone during Turkey’s IDEF defense conference.

During the event, which ran July 25-28, Global Industrial and Defence Solutions showed off its Faaz-RF and Faaz-IIR medium-range, air-to-air missiles, as well as the Shahpar III medium-altitude, long-endurance combat drone.


The Faaz missiles and the unmanned system on display were mockups, GIDS chief executive Asad Kamal told Defense News.

The Faaz-RF is an active radar-guided missile, while the Faaz-IIR features an imaging infrared seeker. Both have a range exceeding 100 kilometers (62 miles), can reach a speech of Mach 3.5 and can fly 6,000 feet above sea level, according to GIDS.

The Faaz-RF seeker has a 25-kilometer detection range, and the Faaz-IIR a 40-kilometer range.


The Faaz design appears to have been partly inspired by the Chinese SD-10/PL-12 weapon, which is produced under license by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex. GIDS said its products are locally developed and owns the intellectual property rights.

Shahpar III is a Group 4+ drone able to carry weapons, meaning it weighs more than 1,320 pounds.It has six hardpoints for up to 530 kilograms (1,168 pounds) of disposable stores; a 1,650-kilogram maximum takeoff weight; the option for an internal payload; indigenously developed avionics; anti-icing/deicing system; a 1553 architecture dual-redundant flight control computer; and multiple sensor options, including electro-optical/infrared, synthetic aperture radar, communications intelligence and signals intelligence.

Engine configurations of 140 horsepower and 170 horsepower are available, both with a 300-kilometer line-of-sight and 3,000-kilometer beyond line-of-sight range. However, the 140-horsepower option has a 30,000-foot ceiling when rigged for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions and a 24-hour endurance, and a 28,000-foot ceiling and 17-hour endurance when armed.

The figures for the 170-horsepower variant are 41,000 feet and 40 hours, and 35,000 feet and 35 hours, respectively.

The engines are foreign, but GIDS did not disclose the origin.

Shahpar III will be available for export next year after in-house trials, the organization said.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 5, 2023 at 10:48am

Ukraine’s drones (USVs) provide a lesson - Taipei Times


https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2023/08/04/200...

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been going on for nearly a year and a half. At the end of last year Ukraine started building the world’s first “naval fleet of drones” to counter Russia’s Black Sea fleet, news reports said. One of Ukraine’s maritime drones — an uncrewed surface vessel (USV) that resembles a speedboat — is 5.5m long and weighs one tonne. It has an operational radius of up to 400km and can operate autonomously for up to 60 hours. It can carry a combat load of up to 200kg and has a maximum speed of 80kph. The USV’s main functions include long-range maritime reconnaissance and coastal surveillance, escorting and supporting Ukraine’s conventional fleet and countering amphibious operations, among others. This Ukrainian-developed USV is believed to be the weapon that badly damaged the Kerch Bridge in Crimea on July 17, effectively blocking Russia’s logistical supply line, and had attacked the Crimean Black Sea port of Sevastopol the previous day.

Taiwan would do well to learn from this experience. To be ready for a war across the Taiwan Strait, the nation should develop a sea-drone fleet that is maneuverable, fast, cheap and effective. In recent years there have been several incidents of Chinese illegally crossing over to Taiwan on simple rubber dinghies. As well as favorable sea conditions and good luck, another reason they managed to reach Taiwanese territory is that a dinghy’s low profile on the sea surface makes it hard to detect using electronic devices. For the same reason, USVs have a “stealth” function. Despite their small size, they can be used to hit ships of the People’s Liberation Army Navy as they try to cross the Taiwan Strait, thus giving Taiwan a chance to win decisively outside its own territory.

Taiwan also needs to develop a system that can launch sea-to-air or sea-to-ground missiles from USVs. If China were to invade Taiwan, the first attack waves would destroy more than half of Taiwan’s military airfields, warships, naval harbors and missile bases, as well as a large number of the military personnel stationed at those sites. In such a scenario, easily concealed sea drones and their operators stationed in bunkers might well play a role in turning the tide of the war.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 8, 2023 at 5:28pm

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 November 27, 2023 at 8:15am

Pentagon pushes A.I. research toward lethal autonomous weapons

https://www.cbsnews.com/sanfrancisco/news/pentagon-pushes-ai-resear...

There is little dispute among scientists, industry experts and Pentagon officials that the U.S. will within the next few years have fully autonomous lethal weapons. And though officials insist humans will always be in control, experts say advances in data-processing speed and machine-to-machine communications will inevitably relegate people to supervisory roles.

That's especially true if, as expected, lethal weapons are deployed en masse in drone swarms. Many countries are working on them — and neither China, Russia, Iran, India or Pakistan have signed a U.S.-initiated pledge to use military AI responsibly.

It's unclear if the Pentagon is currently formally assessing any fully autonomous lethal weapons system for deployment, as required by a 2012 directive. A Pentagon spokeswoman would not say.

----------

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Artificial intelligence employed by the U.S. military has piloted pint-sized surveillance drones in special operations forces' missions and helped Ukraine in its war against Russia. It tracks soldiers' fitness, predicts when Air Force planes need maintenance and helps keep tabs on rivals in space.

Now, the Pentagon is intent on fielding multiple thousands of relatively inexpensive, expendable AI-enabled autonomous vehicles by 2026 to keep pace with China. The ambitious initiative — dubbed Replicator — seeks to "galvanize progress in the too-slow shift of U.S. military innovation to leverage platforms that are small, smart, cheap, and many," Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said in August.



While its funding is uncertain and details vague, Replicator is expected to accelerate hard decisions on what AI tech is mature and trustworthy enough to deploy - including on weaponized systems.

There is little dispute among scientists, industry experts and Pentagon officials that the U.S. will within the next few years have fully autonomous lethal weapons. And though officials insist humans will always be in control, experts say advances in data-processing speed and machine-to-machine communications will inevitably relegate people to supervisory roles.

That's especially true if, as expected, lethal weapons are deployed en masse in drone swarms. Many countries are working on them — and neither China, Russia, Iran, India or Pakistan have signed a U.S.-initiated pledge to use military AI responsibly.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 9, 2024 at 10:54am

Türkiye, Pakistan, S. Arabia agree to enhance defense cooperation | Daily Sabah



https://www.dailysabah.com/business/defense/turkiye-pakistan-s-arab...

At the meeting, where possible collaborations in defense equipment technologies, including research and development, were discussed, Türkiye, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia agreed to increase trilateral defense cooperation, according to the ISPR, Pakistan military's media wing.

"The three sides reaffirmed the importance of combining the intellectual, technical, financial and human resources of the three friendly nations toward the achievement of shared objectives and attainment of self-sufficiency in the defense domain," it said.

The historical "brotherly relations" among the three countries were also acknowledged, and the need to enhance the pace of collaboration in pursuit of common goals was reiterated.

The statement added that it was decided that the three nations would convene their next meeting during the World Defense Show in Riyadh next month.

The inaugural meeting between the countries was also organized in the Saudi capital, in August 2023.

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