Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pakistani Drones in America

By Noah Shachtman

America's killer drones are getting all the attention, in the fight against Pakistani militants. But Pakistan's military has plenty of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, too. And they're being used to spy on suspected insurgents, and listen in on their phone calls.

Since 2002, Pakistan has dramatically expanded its robotic fleet in the sky, Defense News reports. The Pakistani Air Force has two UAV squadrons -- and is looking to build up to six.

"Al-Qaida and Taliban fighters use not just mobile and satellite phones for communication, but also sophisticated military radios," Defense News notes. So companies like East West Infiniti are building SIGINT [signals intelligence] for small drones and robotic blimps, to capture those conversations. Designed for militaries unable to afford high-end, dedicated SIGINT platforms, East West's Whisper Watch system can detect and monitor electronic emissions up to 250 kilometers away and then retransmit to a ground station located out of harms way.

Karachi-based Integrated Dynamics actually exports its Border Eagle surveillance drone to the United States for border patrol duties. The company also makes drones the turbojet-powered Tornado decoy, which can fly up to 200 kilometers, and emit false radar signals to "confuse enemy air defenses into thinking they are attacking aircraft," Defense News says.

Note: Pakistani UAV gear were on display in November, at IDEAS, Pakistan's big military trade show.

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Anonymous said...

This is not a phony web site to scare Mr. Jadev and Associates ... Riaz??

We want peace!!!

BiLo said...

The drone attacks are indeed a menace and the ultimate consequence isfar more troubling that it could be imagined.
I have tried to depict the scenario in my blog:

Anonymous said...

^^ I have heard this story a long time ago of this Pak-based mini-UAV company. Its totally cool that US Border Patrols are using Pak-made drones.I hope we Indians can bridge the gap with help from master of UAVs..the Israelis ;-).Indian Special Forces are reportedly in process of inducting these kinda of mini-UAVs for tactical reconnaissance. Hopefully, we can see all these gizmos in action in short while in much awaited Ind-Pak military match across the border.

Anonymous said...

And Jaydev is a peace loving terrorist, secular extremist, blood sucking compatriot, liberal bigot from Kerala...Uhhhh..Phew.

Anonymous said...

checkout movie "Eagle Eye (2008)"..The opening scene in the movie is US special forces using these mini-uavs to identify taliban commander in a convoy which when confirmed, they call in the (abnormally fast) Reaper(Predator-B) attack drones to assassinate him. I guess UAVs are the future then.

Anonymous said...

Jaydev - for you, even babpu (Gandhi) was and Arundhati Roy is a cross border terrorist. You don't need drones for the manner in which you killed police officer Kirkerey or for that matter anyone who differs in his point of view with you. No wonder, the "big bald bigot" a.k.a Riaz wrote that 21st century challenges piece. The bad news for you is that there are millions back there on each side who will provide you with a crushing defeat.

Riaz Haq said...

Thx for the suggestion.
I guess counter-insurgency and anti-terror wars will depend more and more on tactics involving reliable signal intelligence and armed drones. But most nations, incl US and Israel, are not going to succeed by military means alone. A more comprehensive strategy is needed to defeat insurgents and terrorists.

Riaz Haq said...

A website called Democracy Arsenal asks the following about this post:

Fine, Pakistan is, in some sense, technologically advanced. None of Tech Lahore's indicators, though, discuss what I would call underlying structural factors. In other words, these are primarily dependent rather than independent variables, meaning that it is unlikely that the feedback loops are going to run from technology to politics or culture, whereas politics will obviously be an engine of reform in non-political sectors.

Here's what I think:

Without going into the specific accomplishments in Pakistan during Musharraf-Aziz regime, I believe it can be safely said that the communications revolution (accompanied by dramatic growth in vociferous electronic and new media) as well as a significant enlargement of the middle class in Pakistan helped sow the seeds of the end of arbitrary actions by President Musharraf. In other words, Musharraf pulled a Gorbachev ( a la perestroika that unleashed uncontrolled energies) by enabling powerful resistance to arbitrary rule. Some of these changes are durable and I hope will make our rulers more accountable. There will still be abuse of power but the sunlight will shine brightly on it to the detriment of the abusers. Eventually there will be real participatory democracy with appropriate checks and balance imposed by a much larger and more powerful and aware middle class essential for true democratic governance in Pakistan.

Anonymous said...

Drones and UAVs now have a very lethal role to play. They are much advanced and have a greater capability of carrying payloads. So, their usage would increase by time, my friend.

For a detailed study about UAVs, their employment, and future prospects, visit >Unmanned Aerial Vehicles - A DETAILED STUDY

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Navy Pilotless Drone Aircraft Crashes Near Karachi, according to Bernama:

KARACHI, July 19 (Bernama) -- A Pakistani navy pilotless drone crashed near an oil refinery after hitting a bird in the country's largest city of Karachi on Tuesday,the navy said.

A spokesman said that there were no casualties and that the drone had been on a surveillance flight when a bird accidentally flew into the aircraft and it came down in the Karachi suburbs.

The aircraft burst into flames after hitting the ground but the flames were extinguished after a short while, reported China's Xinhua news agency on Tuesday.

It was the third aircraft crash in Karachi in eight months.

Pakistan is developing its own drone technology for surveillance and reconnaissance missions because the United States, which is running a bombing campaign with drones in the country's northwest, refuses to give Pakistan the technology.

Two companies in Islamabad, Satuma and East West Infiniti, make drones for the Pakistani military. It is not known if the crashed drone belonged to either company.

China's Xinhua news agency, citing local press reports, that the aircraft crashed in the highly sensitive area where three major oil storages are located.

Rescue teams were sent to the area to check if anyone was hurt on the ground, police said, adding that the fire fighters rescue team were called to control the blaze after some time, police said.

The police sources earlier said they were investigating if it was an act of terrorism as it crashed in the sensitive no-fly zone due to big oil storages.

Riaz Haq said...

The first squadron of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) has been formally inducted into the Pakistan Navy fleet, according to The Express Tribune:

The induction ceremony was held at Pakistan Navy Mehran airbase in Karachi. The indigenously developed drones can be employed in support of Maritime Interdiction Operation (MIO) in the coastal areas.

Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Noman Bashir congratulated everyone involved in the UQAB-II programme and expressed satisfaction on the induction of UAVs. He said the induction was a manifestation of the navy’s commitment and resolve towards self-reliance and indigenization.

Earlier, a UAV of the Pakistan Navy had crashed inside the premises of the National Oil Refinery in Korangi.

Officially, Pakistan Navy had stated that the ill-fated UAV was a “small remote-controlled aircraft” on a “routine mission” that crashed when it “hit an eagle” during mid flight between 9:30 and 10 am. Officials said that the aircraft had a wing span of around 10 feet which is typically used for target practice. One spokesperson said that the aircraft was almost ‘toy like’ and nothing serious had occurred.

However, sources within Pakistan Navy and the local drone manufacturing industry told The Express Tribune that the pilotless aircraft was a mid range tactical UAV called the Uqaab, which is typically used for surveillance missions.

The locally-manufactured Uqaab has a wing span of about 20 feet, weighs more than 200kgs and its 550cc engine runs on gasoline.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Prime Minister #ImranKhan approves establishment of Civil #Drone Authority to regulate the use of drones and also boost local production | Pakistan – Gulf News

Developing a policy framework for the adoption and management of drones is essential for businesses, agriculture, research and development, and other areas, said Khan.

The new drone authority would not only fill the regulatory void but would also be instrumental in the promotion and domestic production of drones. “Efficient use of drone technology will help improve utilization of resources and service levels,” the premier said. He urged to speed up the formation of the organization after the cabinet’s approval.

Pakistan’s first drone regulatory authority will supervise and implement several regulations related to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones including licensing or drone permits, import, local manufacturing of drones and develop the standards for drone production, operations, training, research and development. It would also provide guidance for operating and flying drones to ensure public safety. The authority would also be empowered to undertake enforcement actions through warnings, fines and imprisonment.

The new organization would be headed by secretary aviation division Shoukat Ali and would comprise of top officers from Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Ministry of Defence Production, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Science and Technology and representatives from each federating units. Three independent experts, whose names have not been decided yet, would also be part of the organization.

The public safety and national security challenges posed by unmanned aircraft demand a strong regulatory framework. Experts have welcomed Pakistan government’s drone regulation move but some believe that the country needed a ‘drone policy not an authority.’

“There is no reason to have a separate drone authority when civil aviation authority already exists. Drones are unmanned aircraft and that comes under aviation authority” Mosharraf Zaidi, public policy professional, told Gulf News. He says that a new organization with a few high-paying jobs could add a significant burden on the national exchequer. More importantly, “the new body would make the execution of public policy and regulation less coherent and more open to misuse”, he said.

The policy is seen as the first step towards building the drone industry in a country where the import of drones is practically banned due to security concerns. Experts say the regulation would help Pakistan tap into the commercial drone market, which is expected to touch US$43 billion by 2025 with an annual 20 per cent growth rate.

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry described the development as a new “milestone” and said that the ministry’s current focus is agricultural and police drones. Pakistan’s police recently started using drones to ensure public safety and the country also utilized locally developed drones to fight the locust attack.

Incentives for private firms
Pakistani drone manufacturers insist the federal government must encourage the private sector by offering direct support and tax incentives to develop the local industry and attract foreign investments and joint ventures.

“Pakistan is missing out on a huge potential to build its drone industry due to excessive red tape and high custom duties” Imran Wazeer, the COO of ABM SATUMA, a private company with two decades of drone manufacturing and integrated technologies experience, told Gulf News.

The private sector has been at the forefront of developing drone technologies with the support of government all over the world, he said