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Pakistan Defence Review: News Updates
December 11, 2018

Pakistan Defence Review: News Updates

Swiftships Says Talks are Still Ongoing with Pakistan for Ships

In an interview with Mönch during EURONAVAL 2018 (23-26 October 2018), the CEO of Louisiana-based Swiftships, Shehraze Shah, said that talks are still ongoing with Pakistan for an undisclosed program.

Responding to a question regarding Swiftships’ activity in Asia, Shah stated:

“In Pakistan, the nation is attempting to fund kits to build their own platforms for a class that I cannot name yet. We are assisting them so that, starting this year [or] hopefully next year, they can build these at the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works Ltd. (KSEW), with whom we’re setting up a joint venture.”

In 2017, Swiftships announced that the Pakistan Navy (PN) placed an order for two 75 m corvettes. The PN had sought the corvettes for “anti-surface and anti-air operations, maritime security, day-and-night helicopter activities, combat search and rescue, and surveillance and intelligence gathering” operations.

However, with Pakistan finalizing contracts for four MILGEM Ada corvettes and two Damen Shipyards 1900-ton offshore patrol vessels (OPV) from Turkey and the Netherlands, respectively, the Swiftships deal seemed uncertain. Based on Shah’s recent statements, it appears that a program of some kind – though not necessarily the Swift Corvettes – is still viable.

As for the potential program in question, there are several possibilities. The PN is already an operator of the company’s 11 m Special Operations Craft Riverine (SOC-R) – follow-on ships (built at KSEW) could be plausible. Alternatively, the Pakistan could be interested in Swiftships’ patrol vessel platforms, such as its 35 m and 45 m cutters (it had sought GRC43M cutters in 2014 from the US).

Swiftships intends to see this undisclosed ship-class enter production at KSEW in 2018 or early 2019. It is unclear what Shah meant by “setting up a joint venture”; on the surface, that would imply an offset where Swiftships would invest in Pakistan in-exchange for the contract.

Pakistan Greenlights $184.3 m JF-17 Sale to Nigeria

In October 2018, the Pakistani cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) greenlit the sale of three JF-17 multi-role fighters to Nigeria.[1] In July 2018, Nigeria approved the transfer of $82 million US for these aircraft (adding to the $14 million US it allotted in 2016).

However, the contractual value of the deal is significantly more than estimated on Quwa’s end (of $96 million US). Besides training, munitions and after-sale support, logistics might be a major cost driver. But if the overhead is scalable, then subsequent Nigerian orders could come at a lower per-aircraft cost.

Given that the JF-17 is a partnership between Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), profit and workshare will be split evenly between the two sides. Of course, this split does not include the value owed to third-party suppliers, such as Klimov (RD-93) or the munitions manufacturers (which could involve AVIC and potentially others). In other words, PAC’s share is unlikely to be as high as $92 million US, it will be lower.

The Pakistan Air Force is Now Reportedly Seeking a LIFT Platform

British aviation journalist Alan Warnes reported (via Twitter) that the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is planning to procure a lead-in-fighter-trainer (LIFT). The type/make, configuration and origin of the PAF’s LIFT needs are not yet known, but the bid departs from a previously held unwillingness to procure such aircraft.[2]

Quwa – with input from retired PAF Air Commodore (AC) Kaiser Tufail – had previously discussed why the PAF was unlikely to procure a new LIFT platform. To summarize, PAF observers and analysts were skeptical about the value offered by LIFT platforms. AC (retired) Kaiser Tufail noted, “if a student has undergone jet training in an advanced trainer with a glass cockpit, and a speed of around 300 knots, (the pilot) should be ready to move onto the F-16 and JF-17 via their respective dual version.”

[Quwa Premium subscribers can access the full version here]

Pakistan Aeronautical Complex to Upgrade Leonardo Falco UAVs?

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Pakistan Imports Kit-of-Materials (KoM) from Damen Shipyards

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The full article is available to Quwa Premium subscribers here.

[1] Zafar Bhutta. “ECC okays sale of JF-17 to Nigeria for $184.3m.” The Express Tribune. 24 October 2018. URL: https://tribune.com.pk/story/1832482/2-ecc-okays-sale-jf-17-nigeria-184-3m/ (Last Accessed: 12 November 2018).

[2] Alan Warnes. “Exclusive interview with new Pakistan Air Force Chief: PAF’s Cutting Edge Grows.” Air Forces Monthly. June 2015. Issue #327.

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