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Pakistan Aeronautical Complex arming Super Mushshak trainer
October 18, 2017
Photo credit: Pakistan Air Force

Pakistan Aeronautical Complex arming Super Mushshak trainer

Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) is tailoring its Super Mushshak trainer for counterinsurgency (COIN) operations.

As per IHS Jane’s, PAC configured the Super Mushshak to carry an L3 Wescam MX-10 electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) pod. This was done in response to customers probing if the Super Mushshak can be offered as an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform.

Weighing 16.7 kg, the lightweight MX-10 EO/IR pod with optional laser rangefinder and illuminator.

PAC is also working to integrate the Chinese FT-10, a 25-kg precision-guided bomb (PGB), to the Super Mushshak. If successful, the Super Mushshak would carry one FT-10 on each wing.

The FT-10 – like its FT-siblings – is a free-fall satellite-aided inertial navigation system (GPS/INS) PGB; its range varies at its launch altitude.

These subsystems will also accompany a new digital cockpit, one enabling the aircrew to view the MX-10 EO/IR pod’s feed as well as to manage the increased workload from deploying guided weapons.

It is not known when the attack and ISR-enabled Super Mushshak will be ready for use, IHS Jane’s was told by PAC that “it would take some time to verify and physically validate the findings of the aerodynamic analysis” done to the platform.

Notes & Comments:

As a GPS/INS-guided PGB, the FT-10 is intended for lightly protected fixed installations. A lightweight laser-guided munition, such as the 22.5 kg Roketsan MAM-L, would enable the Super Mushshak to engage both moving and fixed targets (provided the MX-10 EO/IR pod is equipped with a laser-illuminator).

While this will add to the Super Mushshak’s portfolio of roles, the armed Super Mushshak would not be in the same category as larger COIN platforms. It has a substantially lighter payload, less defensibility against anti-air warfare threats, and is not as agile (especially when armed). However, current and potential Super Mushshak users could view the Super Mushshak as a versatile basic trainer, one capable of undertaking special mission roles when required.

  • Hashim Rasheed

    This is a pretty significant development as it shows that the PAC is able to develop and upgrade its current fleet. However, with limited speed and agility, I dont see the Super Mushshak being deployed in active conflict zones. however, it could be useful to deploy these bombs from an altitude beyond the range of small arms in the current operations being conducted in the tribal areas, at a considerably low cost than that incurred by fighter jets of the air force.

    The next logical step would be for the PAC to arm the K-8 with similar targeting pods and weapons as it can serve as a far better platform and potential export option in the market for similar aircraft.

  • Aamir

    The armed Super Mushshak is in an odd place; on one hand it is not in the same class as the AirTractor Archangel or the A 29, where it can carry 1000+ KG’s of ordnance & sensors, on the other it is larger & more expensive to buy & to maintain than a drone and carries about the same amount of weapons & sensors.

    • umar rana

      the basic purpose of Mashak is a trainer AND how good is it in this field>We should work closely with SAAB to produce a trainer

      • Keyser

        They have a trainer……They have several……Why recreate what you already have? The trainer (Super Mushak) has sold in hundreds and is used by multiple nations…..

      • Aamir

        So is the A 29, the AirTractor Archangel is a crop duster. Both aircraft are great in their primary task & has transitioned very well to their secondary tasks. This because they have a larger more powerful engines which allows them to carry a larger payload. The Mushak is a upgraded Saab Safari an aircraft designed & developed in the late 60’s & flew in 1971.

    • Atif

      It seems that the PGB and MAM-L munitions on the upgraded MUSHAKs are not meant to be used in actual combat. The trainee pilots can now use these bombs in training missions while flying the Mushaks.

  • SP

    Super Mushshak is a success story for Pakistan, and these modifications will will add to its usefulness and further improve its export potential.

  • jamshed_kharian_pak

    Excellent Idea goes ahead

  • Aaif khan

    Bilal sahab could have use the pic that was posted by dawn in which mushak was seen with an orange colour Chinese missile under it wing.

    I think The only advantage mushak will have over drone is that it will be able to carry a large missile and that too not more than two.

    • Aamir

      The max payload that the Mushak is 300kg.. which about the same as a large drone Like the CH 4.

  • John Rue

    That is one noisy plane to be a bomber.

  • Steve

    I agree that a drone may have similar capacity, however we already have the plane, and uparming them may be cost effective rather than procuring an entirely new drone. Also it may give target practice to pilots, possibly army aviation rather than PAF, and better battlefield coordination in a low tech type solution suitable for Pakistan. If we need a new trainer or COIN turboprop plane it’s got to be in the Pilatus class. Congrats to Bilal for a slew of new interesting articles.

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