Pakistan’s Minister of Defence Production (MoDP) Rana Tanveer Hussain is on an official visit to the Czech Republic, along with the Additional Secretary of the MoDP Maj. Gen. Tariq Ghafoor, to promote Pakistan’s defence industry. The two-member delegation left on October 30 to undertake the three-day visit.
According to Pakistan’s state-owned Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), the MoDP delegation will meet with the Czech Republic’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Martin Tlapa and the Deputy Minister of Defence Tomas Kuchta. The MoDP will also visit Aero Vodochody and OMNIPOL.
Notes & Comments:
The Czech defence industry has the following interests in the Pakistani market. First, to follow-up on the letter-of-understanding (LOU) Česká zbrojovka (CZ) had signed with Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) in November 2016 to negotiate the sale and transfer-of-technology of small arms to POF. It is believed that the LOU was signed in reference to the Pakistan Army’s rifle trials of 2016, wherein the CZ-807 modular – i.e. 7.62×39 mm and 5.52×45 NATO – assault rifle was tested. The current status of Pakistan’s program is not known, but in April of this year, CZ did confirm signing the LOU during a promotional event in Pakistan.
PBS Velká Bíteš had exported its TJ100 miniature turbojet engine to Pakistan’s National Engineering & Scientific Commission (NESCOM). The TJ100, which has a thrust of 1.25 kN, powers target drones. In terms of technical specifications, the PBS TP100 turboprop engine could be a potential option to power Pakistan Aeronautical Complex’s (PAC) medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which is being developed under ‘Project Azm’ (resolve).
The MoDP’s visit to Aero Vodochody could suggest that the Czech aircraft manufacturer is interested in marketing its newly revived L-159 advanced jet trainer to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). It does not appear that the PAF is interested in such a platform. In 2015, the PAF’s Chief of Air Staff (CAS) stated that current lead-in fighter-trainer (LIFT) platforms are over-equipped for the role, with operating costs close to those of the JF-17 and F-16. For the L-159 to draw the PAF’s interest, it would have to maintain markedly lower acquisition and operational costs, whilst also providing substantive performance gains over the K-8.
Considering the MoDP’s intent to promote Pakistan’s defence industry interests in this vist, it is plausible that Pakistan is interested in collaborating with Aero Vodochody, perhaps in subassemblies or spare parts manufacturing. If not partnering, then learning from Aero Vodochody on how to enter the subassemblies and parts manufacturing space, especially for commercial aircraft, could be of value to Pakistan in its efforts to grow its aviation industry (Kamra Aviation City). Aero is a risk-sharing partner in the Embraer KC-390 tanker-transport program, it produces the KC-390’s rear fuselage.
OMNIPOL is a defence trading, consulting and support services company. Besides marketing various Czech defence solutions, including the VERA-NG passive sensor system, OMNIPOL is also a supplier of machinery for defence manufacturing purposes. With POF and Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) gearing to upgrade their respective facilities, the MoDP could be potentially be interested in engaging OMNIPOL for solutions. HIT is already using CNC (computer numerical control) machines from Škoda Machine Tool. The MoDP might also be interested in forging partnerships between OMNIPOL and Pakistani companies, especially in terms of jointly engaging third-party markets.