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Pakistan looks to make inroads in Azeri defence market
May 22, 2017

Pakistan looks to make inroads in Azeri defence market

Pakistan’s Minister of Defence Production (MoDP), Rana Tanveer Hussain, and representatives from Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) are attending the Azerbaijan International Defence Industry Exhibition (ADEX 2016), which is taking place from 27 to 30 September.

MoDP Hussain had also met with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, and the two sides have reportedly agreed to enhance bilateral ties, especially in defence and defence production.

Notes & Comments:

More than 200 defence vendors from 26 countries are showcasing their products at ADEX. In April, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Defence Industry had invited Pakistan to showcase the JF-17 Thunder, which is jointly produced by PAC and Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG).

With Nigeria slotted to ink a deal in November for an unspecified (possibly an initial order of three) JF-17s, the Pakistan MoDP will certainly be looking to expand its sales portfolio for the fighter.

Azerbaijan has been listed as a prospective customer since 2011. The Azeri Air Force (AzAF) currently flies 13 MiG-29s, 11 Su-25s, and five MiG-21s. With a probable aim at the MiG-21s, PAC will likely be marketing the JF-17’s low acquisition costs and flexibility in weapons and subsystems configuration.

Besides the JF-17, the PAC Super Mushshak would be another product Pakistan will be eager to market and sell to Azerbaijan. In fact, the Super Mushshak has seen a spate of recent success in sales; Nigeria and Qatar have signed on, and Turkey is expected to place an order for 52 Super Mushshak in the near-term.

POF’s presence at ADEX 2016 is also an important factor for Pakistan. In fact, POF had registered $100 million U.S. in export sales for the year, and Azerbaijan is a viable small-arms and munitions market. But POF will face strong competition from Russian and Turkish vendors.

Analysis: Prospects of a JF-17 sale to Azerbaijan?

It is important to understand that the JF-17 is a big-ticket item in Pakistan’s defence exports portfolio. A sale with even minimal profits would still generate hundreds of millions of dollars in technical work for Pakistanis in the short-term, and long-term after sale support opportunities in the long-term.

It is not as popular as the Super Mushshak, but in the context of the MoDP’s goal of steering the Pakistani defence industry to self-sufficiency (i.e. reduced dependence on government subsidies), the JF-17’s market success is a key factor. Of course, it still not the principle objective, which is to provide the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) with an accessible backbone fighter. But for the MoDP, the commercial aspect is central.

Russia has a strong defence industry presence and vendor-user relationship with Azerbaijan. The entirety of the AzAF fighter fleet is comprised of Russian combat aircraft, and while the MiG-21 and Su-25 are old platforms, Moscow has every incentive to drive a Yak-130 sale to one – if not both – areas. Moreover, Russian munitions – such as the FAB-100 – are produced under license in Azerbaijan. Russia can leverage a large number of mechanisms, such as offsets, financing, and access to surplus stocks, to secure sales. It will not be easy for Pakistan (especially without Beijing’s backing) to displace this presence.

  • U

    LoL, interesting, while I do somewhat agree to what you have said, I would like to mention that Pakistan itself has yet to demonstrate any such capabilities of the JF-17. There’s not even one video! that I’ve seen of the JF-17 conducting a precision strike during Zarb-e-Azb or it firing a SD-10.

    • Salman Khan

      is that it? Videos? Perhaps you should visit the currently going on air exercises.

  • Sami Shahid

    I’ve heard Azerbaijan is interested in JF-17.

  • Muhammad Khurram Bhatti

    I would have agreed if ISIS had even a marginal air power. The reasons westerners did not shoot Su-35 was the fear of escalation and not the performance of the plane. Flankers are good platforms but maybe just as good as an F-15, and definitely no where close to Raptor which is a true air superiority fighter of this time.

    • augustine

      @Muhammed, NATO fears escalation because it will bring USAF and her allies against squadrons of Russian flankers. Fear of Sukhoi flanker os real, NATO saw the older Su-27 kill MiG-29 in the Badme war year 1998-2000 Ethiopia Vs Eritrea. Now imagine more advanced Su-35 that is stealth-like design with new ~ 400km range AWACS killer missiles, plus Stealth hunter IRST and OLS, yes America fears Su-30SM and Su-35. In case you don’t know, the flankers have a longer missile range than the F-22 Raptor….

      Best air to air missile in USAF has range 80km, best AAM in Russia has range 400km, yes America has reason to fear, and China has seen the jet that NATO fears. Su-35 was built to kill the F-22.

      @U, what PAF should do is give NAF the GB-6 PGM and see Nigeria use it on Boko Haram, NAF has become one of the best PGM users in the world today, they have been very successful with launching and scoring big hits with guided missiles from drones and helicopters, their latest order of Hind E squadron is coming with PGMs.

      Trust me, Nigeria is the test bed of war Pakistan needs to sell JF-17 with by proving to the world that the jet can perfom, if NAF has done it with small CH-3 drones and Mi-171s helos, they will easily do it with a more capable platform like the JF-17. That is the most experienced strike air force in Africa and one of the only 5 nations of the world to use drones for precision strikes.

      • AMAN

        well said Augustine!!!!
        Su-35 is most advance fighter i have ever seen!!

  • Karly Johnston

    They would get used MiG-29s first.

  • AMAN

    I agree with Augustine i have also mentioned Su-34 in previous threads

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