The Chairman of the European Union Military Committee, General Claudio Graziano, visited the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) Air Headquarters (AHQ) in Islamabad on 06 November 2019.
According to a PAF media release, Gen. Graziano met with the Vice Chief of Air Staff of the PAF, Air Marshal Aasim Zaheer, where the two sides discussed “matters of professional interest and mutual cooperation.”
The following day, Gen. Graziano visited Naval Headquarters and met with the Pakistan Navy’s (PN) Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi.
According to the PN’s Director General of Public Relations (DGPR) via social media, Adm. Abbasi and Gen. Graziano discussed “matters of mutual interests and [defence] collaboration.”
Prior to being appointed as Chairman of the European Union Military Committee (EUMC), Gen. Graziano was the Chief of Defence Staff of the Italian Armed Forces. In November 2018, Gen. Graziano was selected by the 28 Chiefs of Defence of the EU’s Member States to lead the EUMC.
For More on Italian-Pakistani Defence Relations:
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Notes & Comments:
Gen. Graziano’s trip follows a series of high-level visits by the heads of Italy’s defence industry, especially the CEO of MBDA Italy, Pasquale Di Bartolomeo, and President of the Italian Companies for Aerospace, Defence and Security (AIAD), Guido Crosetto (read more: Italian Defence Industry Heads Visit Pakistan).
Aside from facilitating more training, exercises, and officer exchange programs between Pakistan and the EU, one aspect of Gen. Graziano’s visit may have been to promote the interests of the European defence industry in Pakistan. Though fiscally constrained, it appears that at least some Pakistani defence programs are proceeding, with Italy approving $762 m US in arms sales to Pakistan in 2018 being a major example.
The PN in particular has evident procurement requirements. First, contracts to fit its forthcoming Jinnah-class corvettes (MILGEM) and Damen Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV)/Corvettes with sensors, weapons and other subsystems may still be open. Second, the PN’s fleet expansion will necessitate new helicopters of various kinds, which is likely of interest to the Italian defence giant Leonardo.
Likewise, the PAF has a requirement for lead-in-fighter-trainers (LIFT) and gap-filler/low-level surveillance radars that Leonardo could also potentially fill. Moreover, Leonardo’s Grifo-E active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and Elettronica Group’s electronic warfare (EW) systems are on offer for use on the JF-17 Block 3, the upcoming variant of the PAF’s mainstay fighter.
For More on Italian Systems of Interest to Pakistan
How the Leonardo Grifo-E AESA Radar is an Option for the JF-17| Read More
The Leonardo M-346 is a Candidate for Pakistan’s LIFT Requirement | Read More