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IDEX 2017: Pakistan Ordnance Factories aims for growth in UAE market

Participating in the 2017 International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) taking place in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) is aiming to expand its share in the UAE small arms market. POF is the Pakistani military’s primary small arms and ammunition supplier.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, the POF’s chairman Lt. Gen. Omar Mahmood Hayat noted that POF’s sales to the UAE sit “between [US] $5-10 million”, but the company is aiming to vastly grow in the market. In that vein, POF will be opening a sales and marketing office in Dubai in 2017.

Lt. Gen. Hayat also outlined POF’s modernization work. As part of its efforts to upgrade its obsolete manufacturing facilities, Hayat noted that POF is collaborating with six overseas companies to upgrade its machinery. POF is also working to supplant its legacy product catalogue with new offerings, such as the Light Sniper Rifle (LSR) and PK-16 Heavy Machine Gun (HMG), among others.

Notes & Comments:

Besides increasing sales, POF’s growth strategy also involves linking to the supply channels of other arms vendors. For example, POF signed a letter-of-understanding (LoU) with the Italian ammunition maker Fiocchi to supply the latter with brass and gliding metal clad steel. This will help POF secure foreign currency, but it is likely that the bulk of its sales success will stem from a modern product catalogue.

Besides the LSR and PK-16 HMG, POF is pursuing a new generation standard-issue rifle to replace the legacy Heckler & Koch (HK) G-3 battle rifle. FN Herstal, Beretta, Česká zbrojovka (CZ), Kalashnikov and Zastava had competed for the program.

During the 2016 International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS), POF signed a LoU with CZ to “intensively negotiate the delivery of complete technology of small arms … to POF … [with] gradual launching of production in Pakistan, ranging from light assembly to maximum localization of production.” It has not been confirmed if this LoU is in reference to the CZ-807, though it is likely considering it was the only CZ system known to have been examined by the Pakistan Army.

If a new assault rifle design, especially a modular one that can be chambered for 7.62×51 mm, 7.62×39 mm and 5.56×45 mm rounds, is secured (or developed), POF would have a comprehensive new small arms catalogue. Thus, POF should be able to compete with others vendors vying for the UAE market, including the UAE’s own Caracal, which manufactures a compelling range of small arms, such as the AR-16-based CAR-816 assault rifle and CSR-308 bolt-action sniper rifle.

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