In the lead-up to the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS), which will begin in Karachi on 22 November, Quwa will overview some of the scheduled events.
Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) will unveil what it describes as “Pakistan’s first indigenous APC [armoured personnel carrier]” at IDEAS 2016. The form of this APC is not known, but there are multiple possibilities, at least considering the Pakistan Army’s known requirements and HIT’s competency base. In June, IHS Jane’s projected that a portion of Pakistan’s armament procurement funding – specifically $1.1 billion U.S. – could be committed towards a new APC. In other words, this could be a significant program.
HIT has extensive experience with the venerable and widely adopted M113 APC. The Talha, Saad, Hamza, and Sakb are each derived from the M113, so the notion that HIT’s next APC design would be based on the M113 should be expected. The Pakistan Army has extensive logistics infrastructure and experience in using M113-derived APCs, and the benefit of a new tracked APC line could be too marginal to warrant its induction – much less licensed production at HIT. That does not preclude HIT from swapping out the powerplant, upgrading (or adding) an electronics suite, and incorporating composite armour, but in the end, a ‘new’ tracked APC will ultimately draw its lineage from the M113.
If not a new tracked APC, HIT could be in the process of showcasing a wheeled APC. HIT did showcase the Dragoon, which is a wheeled APC based on the M113, but it does not appear that the Pakistan Army has opted for the Dragoon, at least in substantive numbers. In 2014, there was word that Pakistan could sign an agreement with NORINCO for the VN-1 8×8 wheeled APC with transfer-of-technology for domestic manufacturing. If an 8×8 wheeled APC is still being sought, NORINCO could see competition from South Africa’s Paramount Group (Mbombe 8) and Serbia’s Yugoimport SDPR (Lazar 2), among others.