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Project Azm: Pakistan to Develop 5th Generation Fighter Plane

Pakistan has announced plans to develop and produce 5th generation fighter plane, according to media reports. It's part of Pakistan Air Force's highly ambitious Project Azm that includes building Kamra Aviation City dedicated to education, research and development and manufacturing of advanced fighter jets, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and weapon systems.

Pakistan's JF-17 Jet Fighter

Human Capital:

Development of a new advanced fighter is a wide-ranging effort that will encompass building human capital in a variety of fields including material science, physics, electronics, computer science, computer software, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, avionics, weapons design, etc etc.

Air University:

Pakistan Air Force's Air University, established in 2002 in Islamabad, will add a new campus in Kamra Aviation City. The university already offers bachelor's master's and doctoral degrees in several subjects. Pakistan Air Force Chief Sohail Aman told Quwa Defense News that the campus will “provide the desired impetus for cutting-edge indigenization programs, strengthen the local industry and harness the demands of foreign aviation industry by reducing … imports and promoting joint research and production ventures.”

Defense Exports:

Air forces of about a dozen developing nations are buying and deploying Pakistani made aircrafts. The reasons for their choice of Pakistan manufactured airplanes range from lower cost to ease of acquisition, maintenance and training.

Pakistan started developing defense hardware for imports substitution to reduce external dependence and to save hard currency. Now the country's defense industry is coming of age to lead the way to high value-added manufactured exports.

Pakistan Super Mushshak Trainer Aircraft

Nigerian Air Force is the latest to announce purchase of Pakistan made Super Mushshak aircraft after the United States' refusal to sell to Nigeria, according to American periodical Newsweek.  Nigerian Air Force chief Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar was quoted by the Nigerian media as saying that "Pakistan has accepted to sell ten trainer airplanes. And that is why the Pakistan Chief of Air Staff is coming for the induction ceremony which is going to take place in Kaduna".

Several other countries are in the process of making decisions to purchase aircraft from Pakistan. A report in Pakistan's Express Tribune newspaper says that Turkey has decided to buy 52 Super Mushshak trainer aircraft.  The Tribune also reported that Azerbaijan may buy a couple of dozen JF-17 Thunder fighter jets jointly developed by Pakistan and China.

Along with exporting existing hardware, Pakistan is continuing its efforts to enhance the capabilities with new versions. For example, fighter-jet JF-17’s Block III is expected to open up new opportunities for Pakistani defense exports.

The new JF-17 Block III will be a twin-seat trainer version with advanced Active Electronically-Scanned Array radar and mid-air-refueliling probe. It will use new composite materials to increase its performance, besides addition of other updates in cockpit and weapons’ pods, according to Pakistani media reports.

Pakistan's Defense Industry Collaboration With China, Turkey:

Growing defense collaboration between China and Pakistan irks the West, according to a report in the UK's Financial Times newspaper.  The paper specifically cites joint JF-17 Thunder fighter jet, armed drone Burraq and custom AIP-equipped submarines as examples of close cooperation between the two nations.

More recently, Pakistan has also begun to collaborate with Turkey in developing arms. In particular, Pakistan has been mentioned as a prospective partner in the TFX, Turkey’s next-generation fighter effort.

Pakistan's bitter experience with the unreliability of its cold war allies as weapons suppliers has proved to be a blessing in disguise. It has forced Pakistan to move toward self-reliance in production of the weapons it needs to defend itself from foreign and domestic enemies.

It all started back in 1965 when the US and its western allies placed an arms embargo on Pakistan during war with India. The bitterness grew stronger when the US forced France to cancel its contract to supply a breeder reactor to Pakistan in 1974 soon after India conducted its first nuclear test.

Khushab Nuclear Reactor:

Fortunately for Pakistan, the French had already given Pakistanis scientists drawings and specifications before canceling the breeder reactor contract. Work on Khushab reprocessing plant stated in 1974 when Pakistan signed a contract with the French company Saint-Gobain Techniques Nouvelles (SGN). In 1978, under U.S. pressure, France canceled the contract. Pakistan then proceeded to indigenously produce its own nuclear breeder reactors at Khushab. Four such reactors are now operating to produce plutonium for Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. Having done its first nuclear test in 1998, Pakistan now has a large and growing nuclear arsenal it needs to deter any enemy adventurism against it.

Babar Cruise Missile:

Since MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) prevented Pakistan from acquiring delivery vehicles from other countries, the country had to develop its own ballistic and cruise missiles to carry nuclear weapons.

The story of Babar Cruise Missile development is particularly interesting. It is believed that Pakistani engineers learned the technology by dismantling and studying a US Tomahawk cruise missile that fell in Pakistani territory when President Bill Clinton fired these missiles to target Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

JF-17 Thunder Fighter:

The development of JF-17, a modern highly capable and relatively inexpensive fighter jet, is the crowning achievement to-date of the Pakistan-China defense production cooperation. It's being deployed by Pakistan Air Force with Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) on recently rolling out the 16th Block 2 JF-17 aircraft for PAF's 4th squadron. The latest version is capable of launching a variety of nuclear and conventional weapons ranging from smart bombs and air-launched cruise missile Raad to anti-ship missiles.

Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) got its start decades ago by setting up maintenance facilities for advanced fighters like French Mirage and US F-16s and by manufacturing Mushshak and Super Mushshak trainer aircraft. It is now also building JF-17s as well as a variety of drones, including combat UAV Burraq being used in Pakistan's war against militants in Waziristan.

Nuclear-Capable AIP Submarines:

Pakistan is expanding and modernizing its underwater fleet with 8 additional AIP-equipped submarines. Four of these subs will be manufactured in Pakistan.  These will reportedly be custom versions of Yuan class diesel-electric subs with additional wider tubes from which cruise missiles can be launched. A key requirement for  these submarines is to be stealthy—and the AIP-equipped Yuan class is indeed very quiet. The trick is in the submarine’s air-independent propulsion fuel cells, which provide power under the surface as the diesel engines—used for running on the surface—rest and recharge. Though relatively limited in range, this system is quieter than the nuclear-powered engines on American and Russian submarines, which must constantly circulate engine coolant.

Arms as Pakistan's Cottage Industry

Pakistan has a long history of arms manufacturing as a cottage industry. The dusty little town of Darra Adam Khel, only a half-hour drive from Peshawar, reminds visitors of America's Wild West. The craftsmen of this town are manufacturers and suppliers of small arms to the tribal residents of the nation's Federally Administered Tribal Areas who carry weapons as part of their ancient culture. The skilled craftsmen of FATA make revolvers, automatic pistols, shotguns and AK-47 rifles. Until five years ago, the list also had items such as anti-personnel mines, sub-machine guns, small cannons and even rocket launchers. Pakistani government has forced the tribesmen to stop making heavy assault weapons to try and prevent the Taliban and Al Qaeda from getting access to such weapons.

Pakistan's arms industry has come a long way from making small arms as a cottage industry in the last few decades. The US and Western arms embargoes imposed on Pakistan at critical moments in its history have proved to be a blessing in disguise. In particular, the problems Pakistan faced in the aftermath of Pressler Amendment in 1992 became an opportunity for the country to rely on indigenous development and production of defense equipment.

Pakistan's Military Industrial Complex

The country now boasts a powerful industrial, technological and research base developing and manufacturing for its armed forces a wide variety of small and large weapons ranging from modern fighter jets, battle tanks, armored vehicles, frigates and submarines to armed and unarmed aerial vehicles and high tech firearms and personal grenade launchers for urban combat. Some of these items were on display at IDEAS 2014, the 5-day biennial arms show held November 2014 in Karachi, Pakistan.

Praise by Vice Chief of Indian Army:

General Sarath Chand, the Vice Chief of Indian Army, has been quoted by the Indian media as saying:  “I would even go to the extent of saying that Pakistan probably has a better industrial base, as far as defense production is concerned, than our country. In fact they export defense equipment abroad, definitely more than what we are doing.”

Summary: 

Pakistan has announced plans to develop and produce 5th generation fighter plane as part of the country's Air Force's highly ambitious Project Azm that includes building Kamra Aviation City dedicated to education, research and development and manufacturing of advanced fighter jets, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and weapon systems. It's a recognition that the country can not be truly independent and have real national security unless it can develop and manufacture the arms it needs to defend itself. Pakistan is just starting to do it but it has a very long way to go. Pakistan is also beginning to export defense hardware to developing nations.  Pakistan is recognizing the need to develop significant human capital and build a vibrant economy to make progress on this front.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan-China Defense Industry Collaboration Irks West

Pakistan's Aircraft Exports

Pakistan Navy Modernization

IDEAS 2014 Arms Show

Pakistan Defense Industry

Silicon Valley Book Launch of "Eating Grass"

Pakistan's Human Capital

Pakistan Economy Nears Trillion Dollars

Pakistan's Sea-Based Second Strike Capability

Views: 538

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 11, 2019 at 11:05am

Rafale Vs F-16: Which Fighter Jet Will Win The Dogfight?

https://www.thequint.com/videos/news-videos/rafale-jet-vs-f-16-comp...

Referring to the aerial combat with Pakistan last week, Attorney General KK Venugopal said that the country needs Rafale to defend itself from Pakistan's F-16s. He also added that two squadrons of Rafale fighter jets are coming to India in flyaway condition and the first one will be in by September, which begs the question: is Rafale really that good?

Manufactured by Dassault Aviation, Rafale jet is a twin-jet fighter aircraft which is able to operate from both an aircraft carrier and a shore base. Whereas, F-16 Fighting Falcon is a fourth generation single-engine supersonic multirole fighter aircraft manufactured by Lockheed Martin. Approximately 3,000 operational F-16s are in service today in 25 countries. So, in a face-off which aircraft will have the advantage? Which aircraft will win the dogfight? Pakistan's F16 or India's Rafale? Let's compare the stats, shall we?



In a dog-fight, advantage lies with one who targets the enemy first. And Radar helps in doing just that. In F16, Lockheed Martin has integrated technologies derived from the F-22 and F-35 including the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) APG-83 radar that provides F-16 with 5th generation fighter radar capability. It can detect enemies in a range of 120 kms. Its maximum engagement range is 20 targets at 84 kms.



Rafale on the other hand is fitted with 4 key technologies:

A multi-directional radar which can detect 40 targets at the same time in a range of over 100 kms.
An undetectable passive radar sensor which is an extremely precise optical camera.
Recognisance pod: a massive digital camera which can take photos at any speed with a precision of 10 cms.


And finally, Spectra, an integrated defence aid system which can jam or counter-jam enemy radar signals, give missile-approach warnings and send out decoy signals in case an enemy missile gets too close to the Rafale.
Decoy signal is an electromagnetic pulse sent from the rear of the plane which de-roots enemy missile.

So, clearly, it's a tough fight between Rafale and F-16. And predicting a clear winner is a bit difficult. Victory depends also on the pilot's skills. So, who do you think will win the battle? Let the facts decide.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 15, 2019 at 4:08pm

#Pakistan Air Force to get final Block II #JF17, JF17B fighter aircraft. AMF has built more than 100 JF-17s since the first JF-17 (serialled 09-111) was rolled out in Nov 2009. Production of the Block III variant to begin later this year. #PAF | Jane's 360 https://www.janes.com/article/88534/pakistan-air-force-prepares-for...

The final three Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) JF-17 Thunder Block II multirole combat aircraft are set to be delivered to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) by late June, the service has told Jane's .

The aircraft are part of an order placed by the PAF in late 2017 for an additional 12 platforms that are currently on the Aircraft Manufacturing Factory (AMF) final assembly line at PAC Kamra. AMF has built more than 100 JF-17s since the first JF-17 (serialled 09-111) was rolled out in November 2009.

Production of the Block III variant is expected to begin later this year PAF Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan told Jane's, adding that the service "will make a decision on one of the two new Chinese AESA [airborne electronically scanned-array] radars we are currently evaluating for these aircraft". He noted that, although supportability and cost will be factors in the decision, the service hopes to have the aircraft operating with the new radar by March 2020.

The Nanjing Research Institute of Electronics Technology's KLJ-7A radar is being marketed by China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) with air-cooling and liquid-cooling options. The second contender is Leihua Electronic Technology Research Institute (LETRI), which offers an air-cooling AESA radar known as the LKF601E.

Meanwhile, the Aircraft Repair Factory (ARF) at PAC Kamra recently completed its first 1,000th hour inspection on the first JF-17. This comes after PAC Kamra and China's Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAC), which co-developed the fighter, worked on two JF-17s each to develop the working procedures.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 16, 2019 at 7:33am

#Qatar #Rafale, #Pakistani hands: "#Pakistan Air Force pilots will fly all these aircraft being procured by Qatar. It is irrelevant whether they have been trained in #France on the Rafale. In all likelihood, they would have" #India #IAF 
https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/main-article/qatar-rafale-pak-... @deccanherald

Over the last few weeks, much has been written about the controversy emanating from the possibility of Pakistan Air Force pilots having trained and flown the Rafale aircraft in France. One needs to examine the possibilities of PAF pilots being engage...
Most critical would be the operational knowledge of the AESA radar. However, deeper technical knowledge of systems like the radar would not be available to Qatar. Given the nature of the long-standing relationship between France and Qatar, any 

More importantly, it is inevitable that it would need pilots on hire to fly these aircraft. This is where the Pakistani relationship comes into focus. That PAF pilots fly for the Qatar Air Force is well established.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 16, 2019 at 8:49am

PAF fighter pilot Sattar Alvi who flew a Syrian Air Force MiG 21 and shot down a much more advanced Israeli Mirage III claims that his knowledge of Mirage weakness helped him in the dogfight over Syria:

"A Mirage is good at high speeds and poor at slow speed combat. The Mirage leader made his high speed pass at me and as I forced him to overshoot he pulled up high above me. His wingman followed in the attack and I did the same with him; followed by a violent reversal and making the aircraft stand on its tail. The speed dropped to zero. The wingman should have followed his leader.

To my surprise he didn’t, and reversed getting into scissors with me at low speeds. That was suicidal and a Mirage should never do that against a Mig-21. But then, the game plan probably was for the wingman to keep me engaged while the leader turned around to sandwich and then shoot me. It was a good plan, but not easy to execute. The only difficulty in this plan was that the second Mirage had to keep me engaged long enough without becoming vulnerable himself. This is where things began to go wrong for the wingman because his leader took about 10 seconds longer than what was required."


https://tribune.com.pk/story/855837/50-years-on-memories-of-the-197...

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 18, 2019 at 10:45am

#Sino-Pak JF-17 Thunder and #France's #Rafale are the only two fighter jets performing at #ParisAirShow . In fact, three #Pakistan Air Force (PAF) #JF17s are attending this year’s #ParisAirShow2019. #PAF https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2019-06-15/jf-17-th...

The Pak-Sino JF-17 Thunder has flown over 40,000 hours in service with six squadrons, including 2 ‘Minhasians’ Sqn. The fighter is set to mature even more rapidly with the integration of an AESA radar in the Block 3 JF-17s. 

BLOCK 3 JETS
The JF-17 Block 3 enhancements will involve new avionics, including a helmet-mounted display and a holographic wide-angle head-up display, better electronic warfare systems with integrated self-protection kit, as well as a missile approach and warning system, an increased payload, and more sophisticated weapons like a fifth-generation short-range air-to-air missile. It will be the ultimate JF-17, and with an AESA radar will have the capability to employ longer-range weapons and track multiple aircraft. 

A decision on a new AESA radar for the Block 3s is expected to be made by the end of the year. There are now three Chinese contenders, which were all shown at last year’s Zhuhai Air Show, while Leonardo’s Grifo-E is still on the table.

Nanjing Research Institute of Electronics Technology's KLJ-7A is being marketed by China Electronics Technology Group Corporation in air- and liquid-cooling options. The second contender, which was displayed at the Zhuhai Air Show last November along with the two Nanjing examples, comes from Leihua Electronic Technology Research Institute (LETRI), another air-cooling AESA known as the LKF601E. AVIC has thrown its weight behind this option and claims it was the first air-cooling radar. Replacing the JF-17’s original KLJ-7 is simply a case of taking out the old system and inserting the new one. The PAF’s Flight Test Group is currently working the options.

WEAPONS OPTIONS
The PAF’s JF-17s are operational with the SD-10 beyond visual range air-to-air missile (AAM) with a data link and initial mid-course guidance, PL-5EII infrared short-range AAM, C-802 anti-shipping missile, and a stand-off capability courtesy of its Indigenous Range Extension Kit integrated with the Mk80 series of general-purpose bombs. The PAF chief of air staff recently told AIN that the JF-17 is better than many contemporary aircraft in three areas but would not provide any more details, although the air-to-sea mode is undoubtedly one of them.


At IDEF 19, held in Istanbul in early May, an Aselsan source confirmed that deliveries of the first of 50 Aselsan targeting pods for the JF-17s will commence "within a few months," which will provide the JF-17 with a laser-designator capability, working with JTACs on the ground in the air-to-land integration role. 

Air Commodore Rashid Habib, JF-17 deputy chief project director, told the audience at the IDEAS 18 Air Power Conference in Karachi, that the JF-17 had flown 40,000 operational hours. He added that the JF-17B would be fitted with a missionized rear cockpit for combat training and operations, a three-axis fly-by-wire kit, and a fifth-generation advanced short-range air-to-air missile.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 25, 2019 at 8:00am

#Pakistan to develop private sector #defense industry. Pakistan's Integrated Dynamics (ID) has exported its #drone to U.S. Border Patrol. It also developed Shahpar #UAV, later turned into Burraq. #China weaponized & exporting it as the CH-3/5 series.
https://www.defensenews.com/global/asia-pacific/2019/07/25/pakistan...

The Pakistani government is promoting aims to increase public-private cooperation and develop a self-reliant, self-sustained defense industry. But the private sector is skeptical.

The aims were outlined by Army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, in a government-hosted seminar earlier this month, which included public and private sector representatives.

The seminar recommended establishment of a task force to develop a roadmap for aiding indigenous defense production, establishing a raw material industry in conjunction with the private sector, utilizing surplus production capacity for export, and establishing ‘digital parks’ to exploit software industry potential and promote university level research and development.

However, Shehzad Ahmed Mir, managing director of Bow Systems Ltd, a private sector defense contracting company, says bureaucratic resistance needs to be overcome.

“Army chiefs come and go, only policies stay. So far there is no government policy to support such repetitive statements made by many an armed forces chief,” he said.

Mir blames Pakistan’s civilian bureaucracy for resisting change.

“The problem lies in the acceptance of the bare fact that private industry can do the job far better, and at much lower cost than these bureaucrats. Unless the defense ministry in Pakistan seriously invites the private industry to sit across the table, go through a lengthy and complex process of negotiations to formulate a standard policy for such matters, such statements are worthless in the business world.”

Exports are a key aspect of the drive, but the problems Mir highlights have already taken their toll. Among other things, Pakistan may already have killed off a golden egg laying goose.

The head of UAV firm Integrated Dynamics (ID), Raja S Khan, says the once thriving private UAV industry essentially collapsed when state bodies took their projects in house.

ID has had notable export success, including with U.S. Border Patrol. It is most renowned though for developing the Shahpar UAV, later developed into the Burraq armed drone. China weaponized the drone, further developing and successfully exporting it as the CH-3/5 series, for which Pakistan appears to receive nothing.

Khan believes the “major element” required to revive the industry and make it an export competitor is a UAV regulatory policy to “allow private sector entities to develop and test their designs.”

“India has recently introduced its UAV regulatory policy and is far more proactive in allowing its private sector a foothold in the global UAV industry by freely allowing test zones, development and access to regulatory permissions for registered users," he noted. “Nothing of the sort exists in Pakistan and even a company with the track record of ID is at a loss to test new developments in the absence of regulatory permissions and no accessible or designated flight test zones.”

He is not optimistic for the future.

“The future of development and our export potential looks bleak unless these issues are addressed with policies formulated with UAV professionals on board.”

Mir agrees.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 29, 2019 at 10:54am

After #ImranKhan's meeting with #Trump, #Pakistan's F-16 P&W engines to be upgraded with some advanced F-22 Raptor and F-35 features, according to #Indian defense/security analyst Bharat Karnad. https://bharatkarnad.com/2019/07/27/payoffs-post-trump-imran-meeting/ via @BharatKarnad

Imran returned home a hero having consolidated Pakistan’s status — surprise! surprise! — as the indispensable front line state the US desperately needs to zero out its military presence in Afghanistan at any and all cost, along with a goodies bag for the Pakistan armed services, which indubitably is the first tranche of upfront payoffs — a $125 million package to retrofit 12 PAF F-16Cs and six two-seater trainer version F-16Ds with the technologically updated Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 jet engine with 79 kiloNewton dry thrust and 129.7 kN with afterburner. Most likely, senior PAF officers accompanying the COAS General Qamar Bajwa, who was part of Imran’s delegation, wangled the EEP (Engine Enhancement Program) version.

The P&W website reveals the EEP as incorporating advances in such areas as turbine materials, cooling management techniques, compressor aerodynamics, and electronic controls, from the F-22 Raptor’s turbofan engine and from the propulsion system in the latest American combat aircraft F-35 jet power plant, thereby increasing the “Depot maintenance interval” of the warplane from 4,300 to 6,000 hours or, to put it differently, from 7 to 10 years, while easing upkeep procedures and reducing the lifetime costs by almost a third. In other words, PAF is well on its way to at once refurbishing its entire F-16 fleet, lengthening its life, and making it more affordable.

Again by design and, perhaps, to suppress any hard reaction from Delhi, the US insisted on placing 60 Lockheed representatives in Pakistan (whether on PAF air bases, is not clear) constituting a Technical Security Team (TST) to monitor the end-use of these revamped F-16s. Except, a Pentagon official told Indian news agency, PTI, that the Americans would be there to also, as he put it, protect the engine technology, presumably from being onpassed to China — one of the usual channels Beijing has used over the years to access US technologies. Pakistan, for instance, shipped an F-16 for Chinese engineers to study and reverse engineer its many technologies when it was first inducted into PAF in 1982 and, likewise, moved the high-performance, silenced, rotor system in the US helicopter that crashed during the 2011 American Operation Neptune Spear to take out Osama bin Laden, to China for a decent amount of time before returning the damaged ‘copter to America.

The fact is even with Americans exercising physical oversight of the revamped F-16s, there’s no way they can prevent these aircraft from being flown to satellite air fields ostensibly on routine exercise either for the Chinese aviation designers and engineers to closely inspect them there, or to embark them on offensive sorties (assuming the TST is really there to deter such uses, which is doubtful).

Curiously, at the same time as the F-16 deal was announced in Washington a couple of days after Imran’s departure, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency issued a statement saying that India had asked to buy spare parts and test equipment for IAF’s C-17 transport planes, and that it “is seeking personnel training, among other things, “for an estimated cost of $670 million.” India, it added, “needs this follow-on support to maintain its operational readiness and ability to provide Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR) assistance in the region…[and] will have no difficulty absorbing this support into its armed forces.” Both the press releases announcing the F-16 upgrade and the the Indian buy of C-17 support, iterated that these sales “will not alter the basic military balance in the region.” 

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 16, 2019 at 7:43pm

Pakistan close to buying 36 fighter jets from Egypt

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190905-pakistan-close-to-buying...

Pakistan’s Air Force is close to closing a deal with Egypt to buy Dassault Mirage-V aircraft after long negotiations head towards a close.

The Egyptian Air Force has retired the aircraft from service which means they will have to be refurbished before going into service.

Last year Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi met with Pakistan’s Joint Chief of Staff Committee Chairman Generl Zubair Mahmood Hayat to discuss military cooperation and the fight against terror.

The two countries have had a long and steady relationship. Last year they celebrated 70 years of diplomatic relations after Egypt was the first country to open an embassy in Pakistan after it achieved independence.

In June Egypt’s ambassador to Pakistan said his country values relations with Pakistan. In May Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Al-Sisi and the leaders agreed to upgrade cooperation.

Egyptian Minister of Planning Hala Al-Saeed said she was keen to promote and develop bilateral relations in various fields and has said: “Long live Egypt. Long live Pakistan.”

Pakistan also has strategic relations with some of Egypt’s major allies, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Yesterday Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir and UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan met their counterpart Shah Mamood Qureshi and Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss the issue of Kashmir in a symbolic show of unity, according to Pakistan.

The visit comes after the UAE honoured Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi in a highly controversial decision.

After India revoked the special status of Kashmir neighbouring Pakistan said it would downgrade diplomatic ties with India and called on New Delhi to reverse its “illegal annexation of Kashmir”.

On Sunday, thousands of Pakistanis protested for the fourth week against India’s decision

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 16, 2019 at 7:44pm

Pakistan has kept its ageing Mirage jets flying after 50 years with DIY repairs and upgrades
Fifty years after Pakistan bought its first Mirages, many planes in the venerable fleet are still being patched up, overhauled and upgraded for use in combat

https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/south-asia/article/2143898/pakistan-...

The sprawling complex at Kamra, west of Islamabad, reverbates at the thundering take-off of a Mirage Rose-1, the latest ageing fighter jet to have been gutted and reassembled by the Pakistani Air Force.
Fifty years after Pakistan bought its first Mirages, many planes in the venerable fleet are still being patched up, overhauled and upgraded for use in combat, years after conventional wisdom dictates they should be grounded.
That includes one of the first two planes originally purchased from France’s Dassault in 1967, which was in a hangar at Kamra after its record fifth overhaul.
The techniques they have developed are reminiscent of – but far more hi-tech and lethal than – the improvised methods used to keep classic American cars running on the streets of Havana.
“We have achieved such a capability that our experts can integrate any latest system with the ageing Mirages,” says Air Commodore Salman M. Farooqi, deputy managing director of the Mirage Rebuild Factory (MRF) at the Kamra complex.
Pakistan bought its first Mirages to diversify its fleet, which in the late 1960s largely consisted of US-built planes: F-104 Starfighters, T-37 Tweety Birds and F-86 Sabres.

----

But Mirages flew on, also carrying out reconnaissance missions in India, and intercepting and shooting down Soviet and Afghan planes that violated Pakistani airspace during the Soviet war.
Usually the jet has two or three life cycles, each spanning around 12 years. But overhauling them abroad was expensive for Pakistan, a developing country whose budget is already disproportionately tilted towards its military and which has historically received billions in military help from countries such as the US.

So, with the help of experts from Dassault, the air force decided if you want something done for the right price, you’ve got to do it yourself.
The Mirage Rebuild Factory was established at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) in 1978, and in the years since has saved “billions” of dollars for Pakistan, according to Group Captain Muhammad Farooq, in charge of one of the maintenance hangars – though he said the exact figure was difficult to pin down.
The planes take some seven weeks to be overhauled and repainted, he said, adding that usually the MRF has the capacity for more than a dozen planes a year. Its calendar for the next decade or so is already booked up.


At least eight different Mirage variants, including the Mirage 5-EF, Mirage III-DP and Mirage-III Rose-I, were in one of the maintenance hangers when AFP visited.
Engineers and technicians were dismantling cockpit instrument panels and landing gear while undertaking a “non-destructive inspection”, essentially an X-ray to detect faults in the wings and airframe.
Dozens of engines awaiting overhaul were piled in one hangar. Even planes that had suffered accidents such as fires breaking out have been patched back together at the facility.
Pakistan has also been buying up discarded Mirages from other countries to bring through the facility, said retired Air Marshal Shahid Lateef.

The most important technological improvement, developed with the help of South Africa, is the ability to integrate air-to-air refuelling, Farooqi said.
The “identification of friend and foe” (IFF) system, which detects when a Mirage has been locked on to by the system of another plane, was also a key development, he said.

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