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Reviewing Pakistan’s goals for the Kamra Aviation City initiative
July 26, 2017
Aircraft Manufacturing Factory at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC). Photo credit: PAC.

Reviewing Pakistan’s goals for the Kamra Aviation City initiative

Besides announcing Project Azm, a blanket initiative to develop next-generation weapon systems for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), the Government of Pakistan and the PAF set parallel long-term technology and industry goals for the Kamra Aviation City initiative.

These goals include building a strong linkage between industry, academic and armed forces organs; ‘down-streaming’ production work to local industry players; expanding Pakistan’s civil aviation space; and cultivating an environment for the development and production of tomorrow’s aerospace technologies.

In his inauguration speech, the PAF Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman affirmed that the he intended culminating impact of these goals was to strengthen Pakistan’s economy and to localize the supply of military and civil aviation goods.

“I believe that we have stepped onto the path which will … ensure indigenization of aircraft – both military and civil, weapons and avionics,” ACM Sohail Aman stated in his speech. “This is our dream to let Pakistan’s aviation industry grow and thus support the country’s economy. Surely, this is the path of self-reliance, and we are pledged to follow it.”

Pakistan’s Minister of Planning and Development Dr. Ahsan Iqbal affirmed ACM Sohail Aman’s statements, adding, “I hope that this … city will not only help us develop capabilities in defence or security domains, but I sincerely believe that this aviation city will also become the birthplace of [the] commercial aviation industry in Pakistan.”

Linking Academic, Industry and Armed Forces Research and Development Organs

The centerpiece of initiating this strategy is by expanding Air University (based in Islamabad) to include a campus in Kamra. Under the current phase of the program, the first cohort for postgraduate (Masters and PhD) engineering programs enrolled in April 2017. In earlier interviews with PTV, the PAF CAS stated that Air University Kamra’s launch programs will be focused on aircraft development and manufacturing.

Although Air University was established by the PAF, it is being geared – at least under the auspices of the Kamra Aviation City program – to be an entry-point for civilian and civilian-led work in Kamra. A significant aspect of the initiative is to stimulate growth in Pakistan’s commercial and civil aviation sector, which Air University – and other institutes – can feed with technical support and skilled talent. Opportunities borne from public and private sector activities could instigate private investment in these institutions – leading to growth of the higher education sector in relevant areas.

However, creating a trilateral linkage between academia, the industry and the armed forces could also foster an environment for bottom-up or grassroots research and development (R&D). With sufficient freedom, these institutions could be a major source for organic innovation, which could be driven in part from R&D funding from the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Defence Production. This would mirror the dynamic in place in the United States where Department of Defence (DoD) funding drives bottom-up R&D in places such as MIT and others. Pakistani and foreign partnering firms (e.g. TAI) could also invest in these projects, especially as joint-ventures. This would mirror the transnational investment some defence industry players make in overseas markets, such as Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems in the U.S.

The success of this project is contingent on the armed forces fulfilling their commitment to the idea presented as part of the Kamra Aviation City’s inauguration. Besides the risk of corruption and economic distress, it is imperative for the armed forces to balance vertical control over some programs with relative freedom in others, especially for organic R&D. Overarching objectives and aspirations are essential, but strict top-down management can be fatal to the initiative. The armed forces would be wise to learn from the R&D cultures cultivated in the West, where organic R&D is a source for subtle defence innovation, including materials (e.g. composites) and electronics. Flexibility is also vital if Pakistan intends to have Kamra attract overseas talent, be it from Pakistani expatriates or nationals of other countries.

Dr. Ahsan Iqbal hoped that the results generated from defence-driven R&D germinate to the civilian sector “…this is the model we have to learn from [the] United States of America, where all technology and research started in the defence sector, but … did not remain confined in defence and security.” Organic R&D gains can form the nucleus of high-value goods for the economy, which can significantly reduce the strain of imports and provide much needed fuel for exports. Dr. Iqbal added, “…engineering in our security sectors … must be leveraged for commercial opportunities and commercial applications so that it becomes a multiplier for national development.”

Generating Workshare for Pakistani Businesses

In his inauguration speech, ACM Sohail Aman said, “…the plan of Aviation City has [the] sponsorship of the Government of Pakistan for including the country’s industry as a downstream body … This is our dream to let Pakistan’s aviation industry grow and thus support the country’s economy.”

The core concept in the CAS’ statement is one of delegating production workshare and responsibilities to the private sector. In an ideal scenario, big-ticket PAF (as well as Army, Navy and Government of Pakistan) acquisitions would spur private investment in subassembly and subsystem production, which would then be steered to fulfilling armed forces and government aircraft acquisitions. However, the reality in Pakistan is different in several core respects, with the dearth of large private sector manufacturers being a factor.

From the onset, the majority of subassembly and subsystem manufacturing is likely slotted for the public sector, specifically the country’s defence industry organs. Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) will retain its role as the leading aviation manufacturer in Pakistan. The material infrastructure and human resources are already in place, thus, Pakistan will likely channel additional investment towards PAC’s growth.

Variance in consistency of Pakistan’s big-ticket acquisitions (e.g. a relative dearth from 2008-2013 versus a relative spree since 2014) will discourage private sector investment in large entities. In the absence of big-ticket acquisitions, these firms will have sunk costs in large-scale infrastructure and labour. Thus, it is unlikely that a private entity as large as PAC will emerge. That said, Pakistan can still delegate valuable aviation workshare to the private sector, but to local small and medium enterprises (SME).

While PAC (and other existing defence industry firms) can focus on costly and complex manufacturing, a portion of the subassembly manufacturing work can be undertaken by SMEs. The industry framework would be a partnership between the public and private sectors. For example, PAC can source specific parts and subsystems from private sector SMEs, while tuning its own infrastructure to efficiently and competitively supply complex inputs. PAC has begun reaching out in this respect by inviting the private sector to provide ‘non-technical’ inputs, such as rubber, batteries and cables.

‘Downstreaming’ more complex technical work to SMEs is difficult. A similar effort has been underway in Turkey whereby the Turkish Undersecretariat of Defence Industries (SSM) has been eager to push the bulk of manufacturing work from large players – such as Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) – to SMEs. While a sound and promising proposition in theory, especially since SMEs can generate organic employment and wealth creation opportunities, developing that organic technical base is a challenge. In contrast to Turkey, Pakistan has a significant deficit in terms of providing quality education to its general populace, leaving a relatively limited pool of capable persons in the industry. Moreover, SMEs need funding to acquire the requisite talent and technology infrastructure to support production (which is a challenge for Turkey).

SME development requires a holistic public policy program. Assuming Air University’s expansion begins building the human resource pool, funding mechanisms – such as loans, grants and investment – need to be available to budding entrepreneurs. Committing a percentage and/or tasks from domestic programs – such as the acquisition of combat aircraft, drones, transports and airliners –  may spur investors to back SME development. However, these investors need competent people and essential infrastructure already in place to cultivate before committing. Workshare can involve production in aerostructures, avionics, sensors, integration and testing, customization work and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) tasks.

Growth and activity in these realms, especially in the context of civil aviation, could potentially draw high-value foreign direct investment (FDI) as well. Assuming results start coming to fruition, Pakistan could look to fostering partnerships with Turkish, South African, Brazilian and Ukrainian (among other) companies to build a presence in Kamra, which could provide transfer-of-technology in the aforementioned areas. For example, marquee programs such as the Aviation Design Institute’s (AvDI) 5th-generation fighter could provide a case to invest in Pakistan’s aerostructures and electronics base.

While exports are an objective, the fuel for SME development will be faithfully executing upon domestic requirements and in building the underlying talent and material infrastructure. These are all contingent on consistent and healthy funding over the long-term, which in Pakistan’s case is uncertain. Sharp economic downturns, which was the case as recently as 2008-2013, would impact defence and civil aviation acquisitions alike, and will stress private sector activity to rely upon exports. While this should be taken for granted, generating foreign market access is upon Islamabad to proactively court large countries and market Pakistani goods and services accordingly.

As one might imagine, there is no single source for success in the economic growth aspirations of the PAF or the Ministry of Planning and Development. The Aviation City’s success requires a coordinated policy plan involving Foreign Affairs, Trade, the Ministry of Defence Production, Education, the armed forces and the private sector. SME development – i.e. human resources, high-technology infrastructure and organic R&D – is an essential piece to bringing the economic aspect to fruition. Partial implementation will, at best, result in partial results, and the failing areas could erode the transformative aspects of the initiative.

 

Near-term Execution Strategies

Long-term aspirations aside, several big-ticket programs could materialize and form the nucleus of activity under the Kamra Aviation City initiative. There is already the JF-17 Thunder, which has PAC manufacturing 58% of the fighter’s content under a workshare agreement with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). However, a crucial aspect of the Kamra Aviation City is to draw all major defence and civil aviation programs through the initiative, so as to provide maximum possible leverage and scale for activity.

The Pakistan Army Aviation Corps’ (PAA) forthcoming ‘plus-one’ attack helicopter program could provide that early investment in PAC and the Aviation City. In June, Alan Warnes reported that Pakistan will enter talks with TAI for 30 T129 attack helicopters, which it aims to finalize by early 2018. Warnes’ had also reported that the T129 deal could accompany a parts manufacturing work at PAC.

While modest, it is a credible start that pushes PAC into the field of helicopter production work. Aselsan and Roketsan, which supply the electronics – including electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) sensor pod – and munitions, respectively, could also delegate work to local firms. In fact, Aselsan’s EO/IR sensor pod and Roketsan’s munitions can be extended to the AvDI drone program and other defence programs.

Returning to the holistic policy discussion earlier, Pakistan’s defence planners may need to consider tying future aviation purchases to Kamra Aviation City. The main incentive to do so would be to instigate short-term activity and use those programs to save or recover foreign currency.

However, potential drawbacks to this strategy relate to the reality that Pakistan’s technical base is still relatively limited. Thus, offsets will remain modest in scope (e.g. parts manufacturing and assembly) until the national technical base is expanded to absorb more complex tasks. These offset agreements may help to an extent, they will not decisively propel PAC and other companies towards the originally set goals.

Pakistan has the option of investing in near-term programs, but that course may escalate costs to unsustainable levels. Unless a program has a long-term scope – spanning several decades, many aircraft orders and/or several domestic users – Pakistan is unlikely to incur that expense. The K-8 Karakorum basic and intermediate jet trainer was a victim of this issue. When the PAF reduced its orders in the 1990s, PAC was unable to raise a final assembly plant (though it continued manufacturing 18% of the airframe).

If the Pakistan Army decides to use the PAA as its principal close air support (CAS) arm, then the T129 (or plus-one) attack helicopter purchase could expand to include dozens of aircraft. This might spur spending in creating a robust local supply channel for the helicopter, which could involve depot-level maintenance, spare parts manufacturing and potentially even supplying aerostructures parts and/or dynamic parts.

There are several other possible avenues (e.g. possible Puma utility helicopter successor or replacement for the T-37 Tweet basic jet trainer), but it is not known if Pakistan will seek to develop original platforms or to embrace an existing program as a partner. If new acquisitions are slotted for the near-term, then the latter avenue is the likelier outcome, but to varying levels of local engagement.

Civil Aviation

Though it does not elicit as much attention as defence aviation, civil aviation does constitute a noticeable portion of public sector and private sector expenses. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA)’s infamous follies notwithstanding, the prospect of recapitalizing its domestic, regional and transcontinental fleet presents a major cost challenge. If PIA’s business side operations can be rectified, the airline can – theoretically – comfortably repay its acquisition overhead. However, it appears that the Pakistani government does not want to see PIA’s fleet-side activities and civil aviation as a whole overshoot domestic industry activity. In fact, the local industry would also be an option for privately owned Pakistani airlines, providing a possibly lower cost and more accessible market for acquisition and after-sale support and MRO services.

As far as Pakistan is concerned, civil aviation may also be a bigger market than defence, opening Pakistan to engage for businesses from foreign airlines. Granted, this market is also flush with more competitors and options, but comparatively marginal inroads could yield relatively valuable results for Pakistan. In fact, growth in this realm may be an easier draw for FDI and SME development, especially for SMEs that rise to also service defence needs. If there is a remote chance of a large and privately-owned aviation vendor to rise in Pakistan, it would occur on the back of private and public sector civil aviation activity. Technology sensitivity and security are not significant factors on either side of the equation, and investment in this realm can (theoretically) survive on healthy private sector activity.

Dr. Ahsan Iqbal stated, “I am hopeful … that this aviation industry will give us not only the next-generation fighter aircraft, but … in the years to come, we will also have jetliners rolling out of Kamra … which will give Pakistan great pride in the international aviation industry.”

Civil aviation programs can the form of airliners and commuter aircraft, helicopters and lightweight utility aircraft. The only demand Pakistan can assuredly leverage are those borne from public sector, state and armed forces requirements. In some respects, the three realms could be amalgamated to expand scale, but unique operational requirements (especially when high-altitude or maritime elements are introduced) may limit the extent to which Pakistan can rely on standardization. But there are opportunities for inter-services alignment, especially in the realm of commuter aircraft and, to a lesser extent, helicopters.

PAC is already a parts supplier to Boeing, which had agreed to an offset deal as part of its sale of 777 jets to PIA. However, the Pakistani government’s goal is to eventually see a jet airliner roll-out from Kamra. In this respect, supply channel deals – while helpful – are not a direct path to the objective. Broadly speaking, Pakistan’s best opportunities to assume large-scale supply channel work will rest in emerging – but risky – programs. In other words, Pakistan will not get as much (with its limited upfront scale) from established OEM designs (e.g. Boeing 737) than it would from smaller OEMs with new designs (e.g. Embraer E190).

The latter field will likely require Pakistan to commit to some of the development costs, but the payoff is the opportunity to supply significant portions of the aircraft. A comparable situation would be that of the Czech aircraft company Aero Vodochody and the Embraer KC-390 from Brazil. As a result of its risk-sharing partnership with Embraer in the KC-390, Aero Vodochody is responsible for supplying the KC-390’s rear fuselage. However, Embraer is still pining for overseas sales, so Aero Vodochody has yet to assuredly see a period of lucrative work, hence the risk element. There is also the risk of ultimately acquiring a costlier platform (in comparison to the competition) due to insufficient scale, technical issues, fewer MRO service suppliers and/or expensive subsystems.

In June, the Russian Minister for Industry and Trade Denis Manturov had reportedly offered Pakistan an opportunity to invest in the Sukhoi SuperJet 100 narrow-body twin-engine regional jet airliner. Alternate avenues for comparable aircraft, which could form the mainstay of the PIA and Pakistan’s privately-owned airlines, include those from Comac (C919), Embraer (E-Jets), Bombardier (CSeries) and Antonov (An-158). For a jetliner program to be successful, Pakistan will have to generate the right incentives for its private sector airlines. These incentives would include having a locally supported aircraft with sufficiently low acquisition, after-sale support and maintenance costs. In turn, the Pakistani market would need to demonstrate strong growth in air travel – specifically domestic and regional – to spur demand for regional jetliners. Pakistan will also need to secure overseas markets for sales of its jetliner, so as to ensure continual production work. This aspect will likely push any Pakistani initiative to merge with a program managed by an OEM with relatively large and diverse market prospects and government backing.

The jet airliner realm is complex and fraught with considerable risk. It is not something Pakistan will pursue in the near-term. However, Pakistan may have lower-risk opportunities that could help it build concrete steps towards that eventuality. In the beginning of July TAI and PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) agreed to collaborate on PTDI’s N245 turboprop commuter aircraft program. The N245 will be based on the CN235 prop-powered light utility transport aircraft, but with a commercial focus. With the N245, PTDI hopes to have lower acquisition and life-cycle costs than the CN235. Pakistan may benefit from considering the N245 as a gateway to civil aviation production as well as future mainstay commuter aircraft.

Foreign Industry Opportunities at PAC Kamra

As part of AvDI’s medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) drone and 5th-generation fighter programs, PAC may begin a process of infrastructure development. While SME growth is ideal, assured development can only occur through PAC as it is an existing vendor – Pakistan’s first priority will be to expand it. Machining OEMs and experts in aerostructures and other material sciences may find opportunities in this regard.

New Technologies at AvDI

As per the Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP), AvDI was established “to spearhead design and development activity … [of] state of the art next generation (sic) aerospace vehicles.” While this in obvious reference to the 5th-generation fighter program, AvDI could potentially be steered to explore other programs as well. For example, AvDI could consider building upon its MALE unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program to stealthy ‘attritable’ UAVs analogous to the Kratos Valkyrie in development in the U.S.

The Kratos XQ-222 Valkyrie is essentially an amalgamation of attack UAV, loitering munition drone and air launched cruise missile (ALCM) technologies to create a low-cost unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV). It has an internal payload (of 226 kg) and one-way range of up to 4,700 nautical miles. Its proponents cite the XQ-222’s low-cost (under $5 million a unit) and scalability as advantages, which will enable end-users to saturate enemy air defence systems, carry out high-risk strikes and serve as decoys for manned fighters.

Considering Pakistan’s threat scenario, it need not match the Kratos Valkyrie’s range, but by binding the Ra’ad II ALCM and AvDI MALE UAV programs, Pakistan could seek to develop a low-cost attritable UCAV. Such a project could also be the gateway to AvDI’s endeavours in low radar cross-section design, which could feed into the 5th-generation fighter program. Rocket-assisted launching could also enable the Pakistan Army to deploy an airborne attack element without the need of runways or bases.

The MoDP’s recent yearbook also listed the development of a “multi warhead bomb” and “anti soft-avionics bomb” for the PAF. It is not clear what these munitions refer to, but they at least hint towards new sub-munitions and electronics neutralization efforts. Although structurally limited in its options, the PAF appears to be orienting its efforts towards acquiring future-oriented asymmetrical weapons, and its domestic organs are to play a central role in fulfilling those requirements.

Obstacles

Pakistan’s governance challenges and structural economic uncertainty is a perennial problem, and it will serve as a potential dampener to the Kamra Aviation City initiative and the projects conducted under its scope. Holistic policy implementation, especially on the economic side, is integral to providing the Aviation City initiative its best chance of success. That said, the PAF appears to value this program as strategically vital to its future operational requirements, which could see certain elements, such as AvDI and the 5th-generation fighter, UAV and air-launched munition programs, benefit from relatively healthy support. But the ambitions and aspirations presented at the inauguration ceremony will require policy continuity and commitment spanning decades to have a chance at coming to fruition.

  • John Rue

    Wondering why everything is built within the parameters of 40-50 KM. This may be one of those ambiguous projects that are always there on the paper.

  • Steve

    We also need a nuclear city by expanding Khushab and a naval city down south as well, working on the same conceptual basis.

    • mazhar

      I strongly agree with you.

    • ahmria

      that’s a lot of cities. We also need an army city as well. 😛

      • Ali Afzal

        Rawalpindi is a Army City … don’t be sarcastic !

  • Mohsin Ali

    Long and difficult journey to 5th gen fighter, but everything has a price.

  • Khalid Riaz

    The armed forces are into a lots of comervial activities: banking, insurance, health, manufacturing, and even education (many universities, including Air University). If the linkages with academia and industry are going to be only with entities linked to armed forces then this would not be the right way to go about it.

    Linkages with academia should be more inclusive than just being limited to armed forces own univesities. Likewise, genuine private sector participation should be sought.

    I feel these are not among the priorities so far. Defense technology and defense manufacturing are dominated by armed forces themsrlves. In more dynamic economies, these are in private sector.

    • Ali Afzal

      Anybody can go & study in these universities… what are you talking about ? Armed forces are involved in commercial activities so that they can survive for longer time in case of war & aggression ! What are you talking about !

      • Khalid Riaz

        Lots of emotion. I meant no offense.

        Pakistan is spending siginificantly more on defence, including on weapons production, because of the threat environment. It is important that this money be efficiently used.

        Now there are many universities in Pakistan, why not let the research effort be more widely distributed. This is the practice in many advanced countries. I think the best universities in Pakistan should participate.

        The same goes for the private sector participation, it should be more inclusive and not limited to commercial organizations under armed forces own umbrella. Again, I would say, the work should go to the most competitive private sector company.

        Both the above conditions are necessary if we want to get the best out of our spending on the production of weapon systems.

        Now before making up mind on the above points, let me share some anecdotal information that this is already happening, though not to the extent needed.

        I am aware of at least one instance of cooperation between a defence production unit and a Pakistani university not run by armed forces.

    • Steve

      There is a niggle of worry here. Army making cornflakes via Fauji foundation is not what we should advocate. Just follow a model that works like Western countries have proved. Involve private sector and keep army to only do what they do best. Remember the Chinese also stopped their army from making money by muscling into commercial activities.

      • Khalid Riaz

        Agree with you 100 percent

  • Abdul Rashid

    Such a brilliant article yet for some unknown reason Quwa’s esteemed regulars seem to be struggling what to say, lol. Maybe the subject matter is too intense and broad to take down in one bite.

    Bilal, any chance of giving this article a multi-part treatment with a series of follow-up pieces looking at each aspect covered individually in more detail? One small, easily digestible nibble at a time. I think it would be of immense interest to many.

    What do you reckon guys?

    • Shakeel

      Hello Abdul. It was a brilliant piece of work by Bilal. I could not pluck the courage to say it, bcz I already praised him in the last analysis. Bilal deserves to be a Honoury member of the aviation city.
      The work he has produced goes over & above usual high standard of work he produces. All hail to Bilal, without sounding fascist like our arch rivals.

      • Abdul Rashid

        I’m inclined to think there must be multiple Bilal Khan’s producing quality content at this rate!

        • Shakeel

          He’s got too much originality about him to be cloned.

          Let’s hope we pursue a policy of substance & not mere slogan’s.it was 12 yrs ago that Mushy announced that Pak had the expertise to create their own nuclear propulsion submarine & we are left to ponder whether this was a false start. The same comparison can be made of the Burraq UAV. The latter turned out to be a Chinese CH-3 .We need to exercise prudence against such disingenuous achievements,and really make a go of it this time, before we tell our future generations what we should have done & what we actually did.if not we deserve to be tagged the lost generations.

          • Abdul Rashid

            Hi Shakeel. I wrote a long 3-paragraph response to your comment but Disqus did me a great injustice and vaporized my entire effort in the blinking of an eye just seconds before I clicked “Post Reply”. Oh well, in a nutshell I had said the intentions of the leaders when they announce their optimistic plans might be sound but perhaps they overlook the volatile nature of Pakistan’s politics and economy.

            Anyway, how is Azad Kashmir? I sorely miss it.

          • Shakeel

            Life in Azad Kashmir is just swell. The Pound continues to rule the roost.

            We are thankful to the Pak army for giving us a more stable region, in stark contrast to Indian Occupied Kashmir.

          • Steve

            Once spent a summer in Rawalakot as a child. The alpine scenery is amazing and the fruit some of the best in the world. Far better than the regular stuff seen in American and U.K. supermarkets.

          • Abdul Rashid

            Kashmir really is a place of breathing beauty. I have many fond childhood memories of it. While growing up in Jhelum, Punjab I, an ethnic Kashmiri, would often spend time there during school holidays. Laying on traditional rope bed at night, I would never tire of gazing at the sky. I would identify familiar constellations or look at the Moon behind drifting clouds and I would perceive the clouds as stationary and the Moon in motion until I would become frustrated when the Moon never reached the horizon.

            I last visited Kashmir, after many years, in the winter of 1993. A small village on the outskirts of Mirpur district. I stepped out one cloudless night with minimal moonlight and of course next to zero artificial light pollution due to lack of street lighting or traffic at night. I casually glanced up and……. I just froze on the spot awestruck, mesmerized. The stars! Densely packed clusters of diamonds they were wherever I looked. I slept little that night. I could not bear to part with the experience. With the help of a few friends and much well-intentioned cursing I arranged my bed to be located atop the flat roofed house I was staying in. I lay there gazing at the diamond clusters and the childhood memories came flooding back. I would not relive an experience of similar spiritual magnitude (and aye, it is spiritual regardless of how our nutty mullahs define the word) until a visit to the Shetland Islands in recent years.

            Given my childhood attachment to the stars, it is perhaps no coincidence one of my favourite, and oft-quoted, Allam Iqbal verses is:

            Sitaron se aage jahan aur bhi hain
            Abhi ishq ke imtehan aur bhi hain
            Tahi zindagi se nahin ye fizayen
            Yahan siakdon karwaan aur bhi hain
            .

            Awesome, awesome poetry!

            I still to this day retain a decent grasp of the Mirpuri dialect though seldom find a chance to speak it.

            Anyway, before I side-tracked where were we? Yes, Kamra Aviation City. I will get back on track next comment (just maybe).

          • Steve

            Bravo Abdul, eloquently described. Azad Kashmir is indeed beautiful, and is appreciated more by someone with Kashmiri heritage. Of course lack of light pollution makes the stars seem clearer, and all the constellations seem more densely packed than when seen in Western skies. A lot of the visible stars still carry Arab names, from times of ancient glories. For instance the red giant star Betelgeuse in the winter constellation of Orion is a corruption of the Arab name Yud al-Jouza or the hand of the giant. Our heart goes out to our kinsmen on the other side under the boot of the occupiers. One day they shall be free, God willing. Right..back to aviation city.

          • Shakeel

            I’m glad that you enjoyed your visit to Poonch district (Rawalakot).it is beautiful. Would encourage all our Pakistani brethren to visit the area.
            Other than fruit,the area of Mirpur & Bhimber is renowned for producing some of the best top ranking General’s in the Pak army.Sher Afghan Islam is currently serving as corps commander .It would be interesting to see if we continue with this tradition.Long live Pakistan & it’s valiant army.

          • Steve

            Did not know that. One learns something every day. Great to see Kashmiris so well integrated into the fabric of Pakistan. My ancestors were from Srinagar, so every death and atrocity had a personal element to it.

          • Agreed. There are 2 sides of this Kamra Aviation City initiative: (1) AvDI and (2) civil aviation, industry linkage, progress etc, etc. The PAF has basically staked its future on AvDI and it 5th-gen fighter program, so that can’t be allowed to fail, even under the worst known circumstances. I think the chances of us seeing PAC eventually expand and transition to sourcing 70%+ of a fighter is plausible considering it is a vital strategic program (like the nukes). However, (2) is about as lofty right now as SUPARCO SLVs. The PAF will back its 5th-gen fighter, but it won’t go out of its way to govern the country, which is what the civil aviation and economic growth aspirations basically amount to…

          • Steve

            I remember that too. What’s happened to that tall claim? Nuclear propulsion sub requires a sustained national effort. We see no signs of that unless they are working away like mad in a small room hidden in NDC lol

          • MT

            Making a nuclear bomb from scratch isn’t lofty job in today’s world but nuclear submarines, SLBM are limited to selected 6countries excelling in space and nuclear fabrication industry

            A desktop computer is 10times powerful than 80s supercomputer. Markov chain Monte Carlo simulation on current desktop can help model most of theoretical configurations nd parameters for a fission device if knowledge of nuclear physics is available.
            Manufacturing of timing mechanism for the bomb nd enrichment facilities are the only technically cumbersome tasks.

            Slbm and nuclear-powered submarine require extensive r&d with availability of local precision manufacturing capabilities.

            Only countries who can design/build/fabricate a civil nuclear reactor having experience of marine propulsion can attempt it.Slbm again require space based industries and
            Its nt something china ll gift as compared to cruise nd old ballistic missile technology.

            PAK ll hv to develop its own home grown solutions something which nescom nd NED aren’t accustomed to

          • Steve

            Thanks for jumping into the conversation uninvited Indian fanboy with weird English. Everyone knows what the task involves. We know it is not easy. Miniaturising a reactor is the key bottleneck and if we have decided to do it we will. What is the point of your post. To praise India and obliquely criticise Pakistan as usual? India was ‘gifted’ a nuclear submarine for years and all your tech, design etc plus rocket engine tech comes directly from Russia, as ours will likely come from China. Indians were not born with nuclear sub plans in their brains. Don’t get ahead of yourself in your patriotic fervour, or your salary requirement for number of trolling posts written whatever the case may be. One thing you can be sure of, whatever you do we will match.

          • Headstrong

            ‘One thing you can be sure of, whatever you do we will match’
            That is the raison d’etre of the existence of you people. But here, the cliche comes to mind – one has reached Mars, the other is still attempting to get into Kashmir 🙂

          • Steve

            Of course. You have to keep up with your enemy 🙂 As far as Mars go we don’t mind that. Scientific endeavour is good for the human race as a whole. Your mission though commendable is duplicating ground already covered by advanced nations 30 years ago, and the only claim to fame is that it was advertised as “cheap”, Just like JF17 :). Still not a bad effort for 3rd world country.

          • Headstrong

            No ‘Steve’, you didn’t get the thrust of my comment. You people cannot keep up. Mars is just an example 🤗

          • Steve

            And you guys can’t stop believing your own propoganda that India is more advanced than US and Europe. Others may belive your propoganda, but we don’t as we have seen you first hand. India is a third world country with more poverty than sub Saharan Africa. Get out of a plane at any Indian airport, drive into the city and it is immediately apparent just how ‘advanced’ India really is. Indians have got a bigger mouth than the rest of the world combined, I’ll give you that lol.

          • MT

            When has pakistan ever developed a simple civil energy nuclear reactor.

            Most of pakistani missiles inventories are chinese in origin by resemblance, design, fuel efficiency but I havent found one russian missile resemblance to Agni, K series, Nirbhay.
            India did reverse engineer some of russian missile technology subsystem in 70s but its very different from Pakistans strategy of buying entire tested system from abroad and assembling them inhouse with minor modifications.

            India have 3 decades of experience in designing,fabricating PWHR : Pressure water heavy reactor. It is second nation after Russia to research, design and fabricate 500+ MW Fast breeder reactors.

            Russians have assisted India in miniaturization of the Arihant S2 reactor based with in 10 Meter diameter hull but India have been working on S1 land variant of marine propulsion since 1980s

          • Steve

            Proves my point that almost all of India’s nuclear reactor, sub and missile tech is Russian. We will make a nuclear sub with Chinese tech too. You are allowed to worry and write long essays to reassure yourself lol

    • Steve

      The article is great. People are just busy and can’t comment all the time. We are not being paid for this unlike some Indians, for trolling Pakistan related forums haha 😂. Foreign collaboration will be crucial for this project, helping shorten development time, and Bilal mentioned a number of military and civilian possibilities that should be explored. If I’m reading this correctly, local assembly and progressive manufacturing is not what this is about, but an attempt to start a genuine indigenous effort. We have bad examples of that in the region where after many decades substandard products are produced. That’s got to be avoided at all costs. Seriously this project will also succeed earlier and better if Pakistani expat experts are paid to come and work there, allowed to function freely, not followed by agencies (or very discreetly lol) and not be subject to incompetent Pakistani trained bosses who hate foreign trained guys, and make sure they make their life hell to extent that they get fed up and leave. Like Abdus Salam was hounded out of the country. Just being open here. Remember our nuclear deterrence project was kick started by foreign trained Pakistanis.

      • Abdul Rashid

        That’s more like it, Steve. Now we’re cooking on gas. Always great to read reader response and feedback to Quwa articles (whatever the opinion). Makes things more interesting.

    • jigsaw

      That unknown reason would be … ermm…Calibri? … Yep That’s it. 😂

      • Abdul Rashid

        Sarcasm aside, you have to give credit where credit is due. Pakistani politicians (apparently) gave the world Calibri font a few months before Microsoft matched the achievement.

        • MT

          It was available in free trial version of office 2007 widely available on torrents much before the official launch

        • jigsaw

          LOL…just read the comment below. Someone’s beating Sharif’s family IQ.

          • Abdul Rashid

            Oh no, Jigsaw. Really not my intention to denigrate any Pakistani politician let alone malign an entire political family. It was just an innocent observation.

          • jigsaw

            Oh no, they’re pretty much self sufficient now in denigrating themselves.

            I think we all deserve a quwa piece on Calibri … eh bilal?

          • Abdul Rashid

            I wonder if Bilal is using Calibri font on Quwa. If he is our discussion could not be more on topic.

  • Ali Afzal

    If we can jointly produce JF-17 then we can jointly produce a fifth generation fighter as well. It’s not a big deal. All we need is a stealth technology.

    • TruthWarrior

      All we need is money*

  • jamshed_kharian_pak

    If you wish your way in this world filled with fantastic Atomic thermal hydrogen Bombs you will have to work hard to have your way!

  • TruthWarrior

    In the end, it all boils down to the “KNOW HOW” the main difference between rich countries and poor countries. Doesn’t matter how many natural resources a country has.
    A developed country will stay ahead forever until the country starts to worry about the Know How which has a very important role in all sectors of economy.

    And seeing that Pakistan is trying to fix this, is just wonderful.
    That’s how you reach other countries level, and leave another countries behind.

    • ahmria

      This is why it is so important to get transfer of technology written into contracts because with the infusion of proven technology and the ability and knowledge to make it indigenously then the country is able to go forward and nurture its own technical know how and eventually after a lot of time, money, mistakes achieve independence from fickle western allies.

  • Cookie

    Either there’s multiple quality writers putting out copious amounts of quality articles on this website or Bilal is an AI writer robot that never sleeps.

  • Asif Khan_47

    A great step for the future. PAF!

  • Shahzeb Hassan

    What a great article…. hope our PAF guys also read this…!!!
    I have a question , Is Pakistan going to develop its own AAMs..?
    What about the deal which Pakistan was going to sign it with South Africa..?
    Any news….

    • With AAM, the PAF’s general approach has been to just buy a lot upfront (e.g. 500 AIM-120-C5) and then replenish/restore shelf life until the missile is obsolete.

      Local AAMs would only be required if good options simply can’t be bought from abroad (including China). This hasn’t been the case and options tend to be available, e.g. China has some programs (e.g. PL-15) in development, while the Turks just revealed their own (Gökdoğan and Merlin).

      Personally, I do support the idea of sourcing this stuff in-house, and from the tone set at the Aviation City inauguration, I think it’s possible.

      As for South Africa:

      This snippet is from 2015 … it almost sounds as though the PAF was set on the A-Darter. So a deal with South Africa is possible, but we’ll have to wait and see.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/77092d4e5669a7a00ac69f39320a92dc4f980672c41f3c3261f6050b7e7c5974.png

  • ahmria

    I personally would like Pakistan to start research and development into indigenous turbo prop and especially military jet engines. Obviously this will require lots of capital, time, R&D and also collaboration with western engine manufacturers but the goal must be eventually to develop self sufficiency in propulsion technology which can then be developed further into gas turbines for helicopters and warships. Pakistan has to dream big and the government has to provide the cash for these investments and the skilled labour and educated scientists for this endeavour.

  • Steve

    I think someone else is foaming lol. The last chapter of this saga has not been written and you know it. We have seen many many celebrations by Hindu people just like you over the years and decades, only to be turned into depression and worry when Pakistan achieves something. Keep rejoicing and congratulating yourself. Your parliament was in chaos with people screaming at each other when Pakistan did it’s nuclear blasts, after you had been rejoicing hysterically as always, after you did your 1998 bomb test. There are many surprises down the line, your hysterical propoganda notwithstanding. We shall see. Game on! I’ve no desire to get into trolling matches with you lol.

    • Headstrong

      Ok Steve. I thought we were talking about the present. You people of course live in the distant past or distant future, depending on the context or convenience. India shall keep trying new scientific heights with our modest resources. You people can keep trying to get into Kashmir for the foreseeable future.
      PS – funny how you keep stating that you don’t want to get into trolling matches. Typical of you people. Start something, then cry off when you can’t handle the response. ‘Steve’, here’s some unsolicited advice – don’t start something you can’t finish. That can work well as a national motto for you people too 😄

      • Shakeel

        Steve has touched your raw nerves too many times. & if you wanna behave like an imbecile I suggest you drown yourself in the river Ganges, bcz your jargon does not wash with us. Find a full time job as a marketing employee for India elsewhere. Your barking up the wrong tree.

        • Steve

          Now now Shakeel. I don’t want to put you off your dinner but I would not even recommend an enemy to go anywhere near the Ganges. It is full of bloated and rotting cow and animal carcasses, half burnt human bodies which dogs eats few miles downstream, and heavy metals and toxic chemicals from unregulated tanneries with zero waste disposal upstream. Human and animal waste adds to the toxic mix. According to most experts it’s the most polluted river in the world. We are definitely far far behind Indians in immunity like our verbose adversary was trying to imply. They all seem to drink and bathe in the stuff and still live! We should admit that we will never catch up in this field. Lol

      • Steve

        Your verbal gymnastics and unilateral self-declaration of ‘winning’ is part of your national character and does not fool us at all. Go try these tricks on your clueless public. Like the 56’er is trying to self-declare 1965 a ‘victory’ and even started celebrations! The whole world is bemused by your obsession with a smaller neighbour, and we are laughing, but your public, brought up on anti-Pakistan propoganda have been worked up into a hysterical incandescent rage and are looking to fight and ‘win’ a nuclear war hahaha. I’m only doing this for light entertainment of my brothers on this forum, and to burst your propoganda balloon that only Indians can write coherently and frame a proper argument. You guys have been brought up on the myth that we are all madressa educated and can’t think or speak rationally. Bad news for you lol. Mods we are way off topic. Apologies.

        • Abdul Rashid

          Off-topic discussion has unfortunately been a feature of Quwa comments section from the beginning despite my and Bilal’s frequent requests to the contrary.

          Although we have rules in place we try not to be altogether unreasonable. We do try and accommodate a bit of banter, cricket (for those sad folk who love the sport), the odd political snippet and just recently even the Calibri font. The issue is with the discussion often drifting towards the usual seen on many lesser South Asian defence-related forums. We all like to see the debate and discussion on Quwa remain a clear cut above these other forums, and for that we need the support of everyone posting here.

          Ideally no threads should ever be closed to comments. There is so much accumulated absorbing content on Quwa now and it would be great to allow comments on older articles, particularly for the new site visitors.

          • Steve

            Well said Abdul. We understand your need to keep this as professional as possible and avoid slanging matches and abuse seen in a hundred other places. It’s a bit difficult to stop whacking these guys though when fanboy type trolling comments are made, plus the usual over-effusive and often misleading praise of their country and industry. There also seems to be a paid and contrived presence here, as in many other places.

  • Shershahsuri

    Only PAC cannot tasked with everything. There is not for another organization which is state run but not directly under the control of armed forces. That organization should explore opportunities in rotary wings air crafts, civil aviation, and even in combat air crafts etc.

  • Abdul Rashid

    Maybe it is Calibri. My quick check seems to suggest it is Arial font but I could be wrong. We need to send a sample article to Raiwind Palace for a thorough examination.

  • amar

    Do you really think preaching your ideas about science and technology will make sense to these people? Most of them do not know what research is or how it is conducted. Their research output in top rated impact Journals is miniscule . Let’s not waste your time here, instead go and do something productive. The fact is their programs have a thick veil of secrecy around which allows them to write and even claim majestic things. You’ll never be able to have a meaningful and technical conversation with most of them except bilal and a few others.

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