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Pakistan breaks ground on Air University campus in Kamra
February 22, 2018
Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi addressing the audience at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Air University’s Aerospace and Aviation Campus. Photo source: Associated Press of Pakistan

Pakistan breaks ground on Air University campus in Kamra

On January 02, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, along with the Pakistan Air Force (PAF)’s leadership, performed the ground-breaking ceremony of Air University’s Aerospace and Aviation Campus in Kamra, the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) reports.

Air University, which was established in Islamabad, is raising an expansion campus in Kamra as part of the PAF’s Kamra Aviation City initiative, which is envisaged to facilitate the PAF’s objective of sourcing its next-generation combat aircraft domestically instead of off-the-shelf imports.

Lauding the event and the wider initiative, Prime Minister Abbasi stated, “I am confident that this Campus will play a central role beyond the academics to integrate technology, training, operations, maintenance and management of our national assets.”

The PAF Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Sohail Aman outlined the objectives of the Kamra Aviation City initiative, stating, “I believe that we have stepped into a path which will ensure indigenization of civil and military aircraft, weapons and avionics.”

Pakistan inaugurated the Kamra Aviation City complex in July 2017 with the aim of having it serve as a key conduit for aircraft design, development and manufacturing. Besides markedly reducing Pakistan’s use of overseas original equipment manufacturers (OEM) for aircraft, the Pakistani government hopes that the initiative would also contribute to Pakistan’s human capital development, increase its high-value exports and spur wider industry activity, especially in Pakistan’s private sector.

Project Azm

In July 2017, the PAF CAS announced “Project Azm”, a program aimed at securing a domestically produced medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and a fifth-generation fighter (FGF) for the PAF. The newly established Aviation Design Institute (AvDI) at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) was officially tasked with the “designing, production and evaluation” work for the FGF.

In December 2017, the PAF CAS stated that Pakistan was “engaged with Chinese experts in manufacturing the next generation aircraft,” while adding that the MALE UAV and FGF will enter production in 18 months and five years, respectively. As per the CAS, 60% of the staff involved in Project Azm are civilians.

Civilian Commuter Aircraft

At the 2017 Dubai Air Show, PAC Chairman Air Marshal (AM) Ahmer Shahzad told the Khaleej Times that PAC was interested in producing a commercial commuter aircraft with a seating capacity of 10-30 passengers. Citing a forecasted increase in domestic and regional air travel, AM Shahzad believed that a commuter aircraft that is “cost-effective, with sustained logistics and maintenance” would be a viable and attractive prospect for the domestic Pakistani market and foreign markets, namely Africa and Central Asia.

Private Sector Engagement

In September 2017, ACM Sohail Aman called upon Pakistan’s private sector to participate in the country’s aviation sector. Although a start has been made with sourcing some inputs for the JF-17 from the private sector (starting with “non-technical” components such as rubber and cables), the intention to expand that scope through Kamra Aviation City and, ostensibly, Project Azm. In July 2017, the PAF CAS stated, “…the plan of Aviation City has sponsorship of the Government of Pakistan for including the country’s industry as a downstream body … let Pakistan’s aviation industry grow and thus support the country’s economy.”

Currently, there is a significant gap between Pakistan’s stated aspirations and the reality – be it its aviation design, development and manufacturing capabilities or the willingness of the private sector to participate. However, by strongly tying its next-generation fighter program to domestic sourcing, the PAF appears to be raising the possibility of sustained and long-term high-value work for prospective Pakistani suppliers. Granted, Pakistan’s fiscal state will be the main guarantor or determiner of viability, but the FGF could potentially spur private sector investment in materials, aerostructure and electronics development and manufacturing. This is contingent on both domestic orders and ensuring that a sizable portion of the FGF supply work is open to the private sector (instead concentrated in the public sector).

  • Steve

    The biggest bottleneck in any institutional development is not buildings and equipment such as lathes, wind tunnels etc. but manpower. I hope we are sending people all over the world wherever they get accepted for educational and technical qualifications. May need to hire some high quality foreign faculty (whoever agrees) to kick start all this. Let’s not underestimate the size of the task.

  • Mahmood

    i believe you are right. there are lots of things needs to be assessed and corrected in order to stay walking along the world otherwise well be left behind. In Pakistan every success or achievement is due to personal motivation/character, something like that, rest is paper work.

    One has to look from height/apart from the system rather then inside to undergo the objectives and the output of the system. everything has to be rearranged and synchronized with the output rather than wasting resources and cost effectiveness. We have to tune and re-tune again and again for the best, otherwise we are living in a paradise of fools. Approach must be scientific and logical rather then likes and dislikes.

    so Nasir keep up your work and best of luck, but as Luck is nothing, if one is doing good he will get good and those not doing bad will definitely not get good because everything is bound to some Law by Nature. So Lets pray to Almighty God ” May Almighty God Bless us with understanding and obedience of Nature/reality rather then personal gains and losses”

    • Nasir

      I think you are right. There is only so much one person can do to change a system which has the DNA of larceny in it.

      My only consolation is that I am a firm believer in the Day of Judgement. I grew up to a totally resentful of religion and I did not like the theology drilled into me as a young child and forced fasting when I was in the PAF. After all if I do not fear Allah enough to listen to him, is not being more fearful of my seniors exact definition of Shirk. This got me started to think critically about religion. A friend of mine gifted me a Tafsir of Qur’an in 1986. I started to read is mostly our of curiosity. There was something to it, although most of it was unsatisfactory. The translation and expounding were biased, wrong, or fearful. After that in fits and starts as time passed I studied Qur’an slowly and methodically. It has been 30 plus years of honest effort not to please anyone but to find out the truth about our existence and other such fundamental question.

      The more I study secular sciences, the more I believe that there is a God. You will find that most of the atheists and other people who speak about religion are not hard science people. People I know, the real scientists, believe in God in some shape and form, which is Good enough.

      As it says in Qur’an 3:65 to 3-67, believing in one God is the essential element of being a Muslim (since Abraham was a Muslim, he only believed in One God, and did not have Torah, Evengil (NT), or Qur’an). However that one belief was sufficient to logically encapsulate all the subsequent Books. For those who have studies Math or Physics. One postulate or Theorem result in all the logical entailment of which can form a subject. There are only a handful of Postulates in Physics, which when examined logically leads to the vast field of physics. Similarly an entire math area is based on only one statement. An example will the Lebesgue Measure, or integral. or just the statement of what an open interval is.

      Similarly, just believing that there is one God, has logical entailments which basically address everything which confirmed in Qur’an and other books. Again, read those Ayahs I mentioned above to get a taste for it from the Qur’an itself.

      So yes, religion too has been co-opted to engage in pissing matches to essentially shout down others, instead of using it for good. It was never meant to be used for picking fights but its only purpose was to improve ourselves and put our energies towards improving ourselves and our fellow humans.

      Sadly, people are so lazy that they do not even read and understand Qur’an although it takes out the mental gymnastics and very hard work to work on the precept of Abraham. That would have been very hard. However, these days it is only sufficient to let your bread grow out, dress like a clown, rote memorize some portions of Qur’an to start calling yourself a religious teacher or become an Imam. This is shameful abdication of duty. This is why Muslims are now the garbage and a burden on this earth. Lip service and enticement to violence is not enough. If we were to accept the current state of affairs as good enough, and our actions as those a Muslims, how do we justify our status of lap dogs of either China or US or others whom our government, military, and Scholars call heathens?!

      No, we have to earn respect, knowledge, prosperity, justice, and fairness by our own hard work. In the end Allah will judge individuals not their families, no their cliques, not their governments, not their scholars, not who sowed the seed of laziness and ignorance: Just the acts of an individual.

      So yes, a belief in Day of Judgement will allow us to get over rough patches, despair, and hardship. However, we must never give up making ourselves better. We cannot expect others to save our Bacon. We can not really depend on anyone else other than ourselves.

      This begging has to stop, this urge to follow or consume anything velayati has to be suppressed. The only question we should ask ourselves is what are we doing improve ourselves, and help others (all humans). What did we do today toward this end? Not beat our chest like kids if China develops a great killer of supercarriers. That is being stupid and irresponsible.

      Using acronyms do not make us smart, it is just for earning fake/undeserved adulation.

      I can go on and on, so May Allah give us the Ilm (knowledge) and Hikmat (Wisdom) to be better. Only one of the two is of no use: you may know everything but if you are not able to connect the dots, you are use less. Of if you can connect the dots but you don’t know squat , you are still useless.

      As an aside, when people think that IVY LEAGE schools are better, it is an admission of boundless ignorance. It does not matter which schools you attend, rather on what you know. You may not have attended school at all but you can learn a subject better than anyone else.

      The schools in UK (Oxbride) are better than the US schools, the reason is that you do not have to take garbage electives. You can take at most three subjects. People usually stick with one. Learning fine arts is not really the purpose of going to study.

      Furthermore, those who are interested to learn these days, can study from home by watching lectures on any topic and doing homework on all subjects. MIT OCW and other sources are available to everyone.

      Lets all learn the habit of learning about things, instead of just accepting the word of our teachers, and others who take up leadership positions.

      These day you are the Scholar yourself!

      Sincerely,

      Nasir

  • Steve

    Furthermore some people especially Pakistani origin abroad are not working in cutting edge top notch institutions but are in pretty mediocre provincial positions. I’ve got colleagues who though foreign based are in very average positions, whinge about Pakistan nonstop, and just because they got out think they are better than hard working colleagues in Pakistan. That tendency is to be avoided and constructive criticism only should be used. Pakistan cannot afford to pay western salaries and we have to very careful to get value for money when assessing foreign faculty for remuneration, as everyone talks big. How many Pakistani origin persons do you see working for MIT, Caltech or DARPA for instance, or being professors in Ivy League universities?

    • Nasir

      Myswelf for one! MIT, STANFORD, NASA, USAF, and

  • Abdul Rashid

    Rizwan, your comment has been posted now. Not sure why it ended up on our spam list.

  • Nasir

    Come back and then what? Do you think I am here in the US because I had a choice to serve in Pakistan?

    They don’t want anyone who can tell them that “the emperor has no clothes”

    Nasir

  • Nasir

    1n 1850’s! When people were fighting in over pig and cow fat cartridges, most of the state universities were funded here on Land grants.

    Why say ignorant things?

    • Sunny Ahmed

      Why not ask the question of 1850’s to the best schools in the world. The British. For they were here to RULE.

      Secondly all your points about government and people maybe right but the question is what have you done in your capacity to mend the ways apart from criticism. Please come back and start investing your acquired knowledge in your nation. That way you may bring a small amount of change. However sitting on international platform and doing criticism will not help mend anything.

  • Nasir

    Great. I have a philosophical reason for the actions of Pakistan and Pakistani people: including myself. However, it is a topic which is probably not suitable for this site. I like to know my audience before I talk to them. The internet has made things very difficult to speak to worthwhile people. Anyone who can string two coherent sentences can cause distraction, and one does not have the time or energy to deconstruct and analyze the writings of every single person who posts. I used to run a group called PAF_OPENFORUM for the members of Pakistan Airforce, Defence Forces, and general well wishers of Pakistan. I had over 10 K members, however, the site depended on my writings for the most part. There were not good writers, logical writers, critical readers, or most of them felt entitled to demand respect based on their rank in the forces, or their age in the previous life. I closed it down this year, after I got sick of writing to a dead audience. The past glory is no reason for continued presumption of competence.

    Anyway, I am in the process of securing land in Pakistan for setting up a Foundary/Fab in Pakistan with my own money. My objective is to do this without any government interference. We will see how it goes.

    About Aviation city or Air University: has someone asked themselves why we need one? Why does PAF need to run a University? Do other countries do this as well? If other countries do not do it is there a sound logic behind it?

    My view is that it is another power power play by the military. Keeping resources away from the people. BTW, in my own personal observation the graduates of Pakistani general universities, are much better than the Graduates of College of Aeronautical Engineering. At undergraduate level, you have to invest more time in math, physics, and chemistry. Which civilian universities (even the worst of them) do much better than PAF. The Military is all about chest thumping, looking pretty in their uniforms, and about sucking up. More importance is given to drill than mental ability.

    When I was in the CAE, I was in G-17, people can check it out (i was also in 69th GDP). We thought that we were the gift of God to the world. We were the best, other were idiots, civilians had crooked postures, people who did not know how to stand properly (whatever that is) were clowns. One of our teachers told us that “Scientists” (physicists, mathematicians, and chemists) were low lives, and the best of the best were engineers.

    We were taught “control systems” in time domain, when the rest of the word was studying it in the State-Space framework. When I came to the US, I was full of myself. The first courses I took were Control Systems, Optical Electronics, and Electromagnetics. All three courses went over my head, I had to spend 8 hours per problem and in the process of unlearning and relearning the basics, I cursed CAE and wished death on my CAE teachers and seniors for being retarded. That first semester I lost 40 pounds. It took me two semesters of taking math and physics from the 101 level to get back to par. It took me a couple more years to become at par with my other class mates, and it took me perhaps another couple of years to finally earn my masters and Ph.D in Math, and then Masters and Ph.D in Electromagnetics.

    IT took me a couple of years of Post-doctorates, and three years of working as an Assistant Professor to finally feel that I was actually as good as anyone else, and I was not a fake and deluded person who was the beneficiary of hard work and other trickery but lacked the big picture.

    It is criminal in my mind to teach people something wrong. It is a crime akin to murder, and should be punishable by death. Destroying a young mind is a worse crime than killing, raping, stealing, because you are sowing a seed which will produce evil for as long as the progeny (professional or biological) exists of that mentally brainwashed victim of the evil teacher.

    When I came here I had no humility, I was full of myself, and I thought that my sh#t smelled like roses. This is what happens as a result of a closed society which is deliberately lied to by its elders, teachers, politicians.

    So that is my opinion. I worked with Kamra when I was in the PAF and I can assure you that it is garbage. If the military runs it it will most assuredly screw it up. I recall that they used to turn on the induction furnaces in the morning and by the time the metal metal melted, it was 2:00 pm and time for pack up, so they would turn the damn things off. Factories all over the world run 3 shifts a day, but when are you going to have time to gossip, play cards, have dinner parties, if you work like that? So in the end most of the stuff was bought and assembled. I was a cadet in the PFT in the PAF when Mushaks were assembled in a hanger in Risalpur, after Kamra was made, and I had commissioned, there was nothing different they were doing to the Mushaks. If they had to assemble the damn kits, what was the point in moving it to Kamra.

    In the end all those who barely passed even the CAE criminal curriculum, “C” graduates, they to my shock were not only teaching at the NEW CAE at Risalpur, they were also working in Kamra. This is beyond excuse!

    Nasir

    • SP

      Its true that the armed forces personnel have a chip over their shoulder and think they are too good and know it all. However I have learnt that the people that truelly know, accept how little they know. I think that society is to fault for putting some people on a pedestal which is wrong and gets to their tiny heads.

      To break this cycle it is important to get foreign faculty to inject some realism and mentoring which can go a long way.

      Most of the problems of Pakistan can be solved simply by having the right person in the right job as there are also committed and capable people around but unfortunately they rarely make it to the top as yes people are required.

  • Nasir

    Where is my comment in Reply to Mr. Rizwan?

    I see that censorship is alive and well.

    Nasir

    • Abdul Rashid

      Not censorship, Nasir. Just a little busy with other tasks. Your reply to Rizwan has now been posted.

      • Nasir

        Thanks.

  • TZK

    I think the point is that there is lack of technological base in Pak and professionals who want to progress in their particular fields have to move abroad. The comments about lack of infrastructure are not meant in any derogatory way but basically pointing out that it would not have been possible to achieve the same result in Pak. The common mistake many make is to compare Pak with USA or Europe and everyone agrees that this would be unfair. Universities in the west tend to have the latest equipment as do state and privately run R&D facilities. The whole of western technological superiority is reliant on this massive R&D infrastructure. Last year UK spent $130B on education and USA spent $634B in 2013 and that is just primary and secondary education. Increasingly as the middle classes in India and China grow they are sending their children to western universities for education. It is very rare to see an overseas Pakistani student on a typical university campus in the west. From my own experience Pak students are severely handicapped from lack of basic sciences even those with undergraduate degrees. The surprising thing is that once they grasp the basics they fly through even out performing their peers.

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