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Pakistan Air Force enhancing base defence capabilities
July 26, 2017
Photo credit: Associated Press of Pakistan

Pakistan Air Force enhancing base defence capabilities

According to a listing on the Federal Business Opportunities website, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had submitted a sole-source request in November 2016 for a Warrior Skills Trainer (WST) simulator from Cubic Defence Applications. On March 15, the request was revised into an open bid valued at $2.5 million U.S. including spare parts and support for one year.

Under the bid, the PAF required a WST system comprising of a simulator with 180° field-of-view and VBS3 image generation; five untethered AK-47 simulation weapons with two simulation magazines; a tethered AT4 portable single-shot simulation rocket; one “high fidelity” HMMWV simulation vehicle with tethered M240B vehicle mount and two simulation ammunition belts; a tether-less charging system.

Described by Cubic as an “extension” of the Engagement Skills Trainer (EST) system, the WST was designed for training infantry for “convoy, mounted and dismounted operations.” This is an aspect of small-team infantry operations for built-up urban environments and quick-response tasks.

Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) photos from June 26 show PAF infantry personnel – specifically an anti-terrorism unit – armed with AK-47 assault rifles, side-arms and handheld radios. In those same images, a Navistar MaxxPro mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle is in the background, indicating that the MaxxPro is one of the PAF’s assault vehicles for small team operations.

In August 2012, the PAF’s Minhas Air Base suffered a terrorist attack which had resulted in the loss of three Saab 2000-based Erieye airborne early warning and control aircraft (AEW&C) – one written-off and two damaged. This attack – along with ongoing threats to bases and other sensitive sites – prompted the PAF and its sister service arms the Army and Navy to improve their respective base defence capacities.

Interestingly, the WST mirrors a recent Pakistani purchase, namely its acquisition of Instalaza Alcotán AT (M2) 100 mm anti-tank rockets, which is analogous to the Saab AT4. However, the Alcotán-100 was listed as a Pakistan Army purchase. It is not known if the PAF will be allocated some of the Alcotán-100 systems (there are 158 VOSEL M2 firing units and 1,413 rockets on order) or if it is buying the Saab AT4 instead.

Introduced in 1987, the Saab AT4 is an 84-mm single-shot recoilless rocket that is seeing use by dozens of militaries, including the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps. It is available in anti-armour, anti-structure and anti-personnel forms, some with integrated red-dot sights.

On March 17, Saab had announced a sale of AT4 CS ER (Confined Space Extended Range) and AT4 CS HP (Confined Space High Penetration) to an “undisclosed” customer, which Pakistan has been on occasion (e.g. recent sale of Erieye AEW&C systems). Whether this AT4 buyer is Pakistan remains to be seen.

At the biennial International Defence Exhibition and Seminar, which took place in Karachi in November, Spain’s UROVESA demonstrated its VAMTAC. The VAMTAC is similar in design to the HMMWV. However, there are no VAMTAC orders listed in the Pakistan Ministry of Defence Production’s 2015-2016 yearbook. It is not clear if the PAF will acquire another light armoured vehicle model to complement or supplant the MaxxPro MRAPs. In fact, Pakistan has 40 additional MaxxPro MRAP vehicles on order from Navistar. The “Light Armed Vehicle Assault” program may also be a factor should additional vehicles be required.

  • Steve

    They need badly to upgrade force protection. Keep prized assets outside of bases located inside encroaching crowded cities to prevent indirect fire, MANPADS, and infiltration. Physical infrastructure like hardened aircraft shelters, walls, wire, and watchtowers, and more than anything screen out the extremist misguided types. All our base attacks had inside help. Spend 10’s of millions to save 100’s of millions. Not a bad deal. Low tech is also ok in our context. Don’t need to have motion sensors and other fancy stuff, that will be bought from abroad and will go bad in a year and then gather dust unused. Do need night vision and get a LOCAL company to make them. The stuff mentioned in the article is a glorified video game and one would have though we have enough real life experience to not need it. But PAF know best.

  • Ali Afzal

    Pakistan can or should purchase the Counter-Terror strike system from Russia & should buy more Night vision goggles or thermal imagers which can be installed on assault rifles. Getting various simulators for the enhanced training purpose is also good. Pakistani Military should develop or buy a multi purpose vehicle which can be deployed against Mines as well although HIT is already producing Dragoon MPV but I haven’t seen much Dragoon vehicles with the Armed Forces.

    • The MoDP said that MVRDE will be responsible for a ‘Light Armed Vehicle Assault’ (LAVA) platform – likely light armored vehicle.

  • jigsaw
    • Abdul Rashid

      Thanks for sharing the link, Jigsaw. I must have overlooked the report during a quick scan of The News earlier in the day (how imaginatively named?).

      “………equipped with state of the art air defence guns, surface to air missiles and air defence radars“.

      Just how state of the art are the systems used, would you say? We have become accustomed to hearing a lot of state of the art, impregnable defence, pin-point accuracy (yes really!), latest and modern, etc, etc.

      • Steve

        Our public love this sort of talk, along with religious phrases thrown in for good measure lol. But people interested in the real facts never find out until a lot later, data like CEP, range, payload, etc etc

        • Abdul Rashid

          I know. That’s why I very deliberately posed the question to Jigsaw. A very switched on knowledgeable guy is Jigsaw but a touch reserved. We need to gently, gently tease out some input from him.

          • jigsaw

            Sorry weekend here everywhere. I’ll try my best.

          • Abdul Rashid

            Thanks. Have the migraines subsided?

          • jigsaw

            Nah…that’s a lifelong blessing 🙂

          • Abdul Rashid

            Lol, we all have something that is the bane of our life. With me it is pollen allergy. Ruins every summer.

          • jigsaw

            Sounds like a better deal…:P

          • Abdul Rashid

            The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, my friend!

        • Abdul Rashid

          Doesn’t look like Mr. Jigsaw is going to take the bait.

        • jigsaw

          I guess those who specifically know aren’t allowed to talk, particularly with strategic weapons – unless they want to be picked up and vanished from face of earth. If you know what i mean…

      • jigsaw

        Hi,

        It’s a pretty new initiative and mostly linked to CPEC. I’m not sure what kinda systems they’re actually deploying there, hopefully details should come in time, but this is relatively newer tech, whatever is getting deployed.

        I think the focus here is to have a buffer zones by coastal areas to have CPEC traffic come and go normally in time of peace and war. Hence we see more land based systems being deployed.

        Let’s wait for details to come out.

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