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Romania and Pakistan eager to strengthen defence ties

According to a press release issued by the Pakistan Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP), Romania and Pakistan have – in principle – agreed to enhance their defence relationship.

The visiting Romanian delegation was urged by Rana Tanveer Hussain, the Minister of Defence Production, to visit Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF), Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT), and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) to identify potential areas of cooperation.

Officials from the Pakistan MoDP have expressed interest in acquiring Romanian-built Puma medium-lift transport helicopters, which were originally designated as the IAR 330. Although the production of IAR 330s had ceased in 2004, Airbus Helicopters (the principal owner of the Puma design) is currently in the process of reviving the production line in Romania, but for the improved H215 Super Puma.

Airbus Helicopters is eager to market the H215 Super Puma as a cost-effective alternative, particularly to developing world militaries. It appears Pakistan is keeping an eye on Airbus’ plans to transfer the H215 production line to Romania, hence its interest in the platform. Pakistan could potentially even get its Puma helicopters upgraded in Romania as well, perhaps re-build airframes with enough life in them.

It is important to note that the Puma has proven to be a generally versatile and durable platform in Pakistan, if an avenue exists to keep those birds flying or to replace them affordably, Pakistan will likely pursue it. The H215 Super Puma built in Romania could be a viable route.

Besides the Super Puma, it is unclear where else Romania could assist Pakistan, at least in a manner where its support would yield substantively improved results. A lot of what Romania produces could be sourced from China, Pakistan’s leading supplier of big-ticket weapon systems. At this stage, Romania is looking to revitalize its defence industry, it will be some time before new solutions emerge.

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  • by jigsaww
    Posted April 26, 2016 2:13 am 0Likes

    Well it seems like Pakistan is looking in all directions to place one egg in every basket.
    Perhaps too many baskets to deal with this time around.

    Anyway, don’t forget Dacia in wake of new automobile policy.
    That’s one thing people could benefit from running that tincan suzuki mehran for ages without even a facelift in last 30 years.

  • by saqrkh
    Posted April 26, 2016 3:07 am 0Likes

    Yep. The MoDP’s interest in the Puma is a direct indication of it being interested in the H215 Super Puma, which Airbus is planning to produce in Romania soon.

    The civilian company Starlite Aviation got four H215s for $100mn (all inclusive), which is pretty good, lines up with Airbus’ claims about it being a cost-effective product.

    I can see the armed forces picking up a big number of H215s, at least enough to phase out Pumas, which we may not be able to upgrade. Pick up a healthy number for $20-25mn a unit, get MRO, maybe even parts manufacturing.

  • by U
    Posted April 26, 2016 2:18 pm 0Likes

    Where do Army’s Mi 171 come in the picture of its helicopter fleet? Will it not be better to get more Mi17s to replace the old Pumas? I believe Mi 171 is also a medium lift heli and Pakistan already operates a number of them and as per some old news Pakistan is also interested in developing a maintenance facility in Pakistan with the help of Russia.
    Why include so many different platforms?

  • by Bilal Khan - Quwa
    Posted May 6, 2016 7:40 pm 0Likes

    The Mi-171 still has to be acquired from Russia, and it is not clear if that avenue is dependable enough yet to keep on buying new helicopters. Pakistan is simply keeping its options open and is trying to open up as many suppliers as possible. The cost to this is having many different platforms, but this is the long-term problem of not producing a transport helicopter domestically.

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