By Syed Aseem Ul Islam
On 15 September 2021, the Pakistan Army (PA) Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) Air Headquarters (AHQ) in Islamabad. The COAS was given a tour of specialized facilities.
On casual inspection, the official video shows a VIP making a routine visit. However, a closer look reveals that the video is filled to the brim with details and could be thought of as a “soft” announcement of capability, or at the very least, an intention.
A shot in the video appears to show a lighted sign that seems to read “Pakistan Air Force Space Command.” Though this text is unclear and might be a misreading, the other contents of this video leave little doubt of a space-focused operating environment. This visit and video appear to a be soft announcement of a space command led by the PAF.
It is the author’s opinion that the facility shown in the video is a display facility usually meant for visiting dignitaries and/or a proof-of-concept.
The rationale for this assertion stems from the small size of the facility and its emphasis on displays, posters, callouts, and unusually empty workstations.
For comparison, the layout plan of the PakSat-1R ground control station shown below is significantly larger, and more akin to traditional operation centers seen throughout the world.
This of course points to the establishment of a much bigger and dedicated operational facility elsewhere. It is possible that the proposed Pakistan Space Center (PSC) near Chakri may form the future headquarters of the space command.
Some of the displays seen in the video, which can be seen as announcements of current or desired capability, are:
It appears that Pakistan Air Force Space Command (PAFSC) is linked to the PAF’s “Project Vision” and could potentially act as a node of the PAF’s growing C4I (Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence) capabilities…
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Author Profile: Syed Aseem Ul Islam is a Research Scholar at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA, specializing in adaptive and model-predictive flight control systems. He received his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad, and his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in flight dynamics and control from the University of Michigan.
For more insights on Pakistan’s strategic programs, see: