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Pakistan’s Defence Industry Lays Out Ambitious Future Roadmap

Global Industrial and Defence Solutions (GIDS), the commercial representative of multiple Pakistani state-owned defence suppliers, released its roadmap for future products.

The roadmap can be accessed from GIDS’ official website, and it contains a wide variety of potential arms ranging from, among others, new high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV), active phased-array radars, surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, and torpedoes.

Overall, GIDS’ future roadmap ranges from improved variants of existing, mainstay solutions – such as the Fatah-series of surface-to-surface missiles (SSM) and Burq-series air-to-ground missiles (AGM) – to newly revealed systems, like the “Group 5 UCAV” or “LOMADS” SAM system.

It should be noted that GIDS itself does not develop or manufacture any of the systems it is promoting and selling. Rather, GIDS serves as the commercial wing of a conglomerate of Pakistani state-owned enterprises that specialize in defence, such as NESCOM, for example. Basically, it is these state-owned enterprises that carry out the development and production work of GIDS’ products.


According to GIDS, there are two HALE UCAVs are under development: the 3,000-kg “Group 5 UCAV” and the 1,650-kg Shahpar III (also designated as “Group 4”).

The Group 5 UCAV seems to leverage twin turboprop or piston engines. The Group 5’s designers (possibly, if not likely, NESCOM) is aiming to achieve an endurance of over 35 hours and external payload in excess of 450 kg. Though it is called a UCAV, it seems that NESCOM is optimizing the Group 5 for the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) role, especially imaging-related missions.

The Group 4 UCAV carries the designation of NESCOM’s flagship MALE UAV series, the Shahpar. Being the third drone of the Shahpar family, the Shahpar-III will be larger and offer over 20 hours of endurance and a payload of 400 kg to 530 kg across six external hardpoints. Though a single engine design, it appears that the Shahpar-III will follow a similar airframe design approach as the larger Group 5 UCAV.

Like its smaller predecessor, the Shahpar-III will carry air-to-surface munitions, though its inventory could grow to carry stand-off range weapons (SOW), such as cruise missiles and glide bombs. Interestingly, GIDS also highlighted that the Shahpar-III will have a range of 3,000 km when paired with SATCOM.

The decision to develop the Shahpar-III and Group 5 indicates that Pakistan wants to reinforce its growing investment in large UAVs. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is a launch customer of the Turkish Bayraktar Akıncı, which is a larger design; hence, the Group 4 and Group 5 could, potentially, complement it.

New Air Defence Systems

GIDS also revealed multiple potential systems that may speak to the future of Pakistan’s ground-based air defence (GBAD) environment through new SAMs and radars.

First, there is a ‘LOMADS’ SAM with a range of up to 100 km and maximum engagement altitude of 20 km. According to GIDS, each of these LOMADS units would comprise of a multi-function radar and six multi-cell launchers carrying four missiles each. GIDS did not reveal the guidance and seeker details of the SAM, but it likely leverages active radar homing (ARH) like the majority of its current-day contemporaries.

GIDS also revealed an ‘E-SHORADS’ system, which it has also designated as the ‘FAAZ-SL’. The FAAZ-SL will offer a maximum range of 20-25 km and a maximum engagement altitude of 6-8 km. GIDS stated that the SAM will be truck-mounted (seemingly similar in design to the NASAMS).

Second, GIDS listed a ‘multi-function air defence radar’ (MFADR). This system is a fully solid state, 3D active phased-array X-band system. GIDS did not reveal the range and target bandwidth of the MFADR, though this system (or a variant of it) will likely accompany the LOMADS. In addition, there is a ‘GRAD’ radar system for low-to-medium altitude coverage. It will have a detection range of up to 100 km.

Improved Variants

Finally, GIDS has also shown that Pakistan is committed to continue developing upon the systems it already has, such as the Fatah, Azb, Burq, Zumr, and Ribat.

The Fatah-II is an evolved variant of the Fatah-I, an indigenously developed multiple launch rocket system (MLRS). Whereas the Fatah-I has a range of 140 km, the Fatah-II will improve upon it with a range of equal or more than 250 km, while also continuing to leverage the same GNSS-aided INS guidance suite.

GIDS also announced an Azb-VI range-extension kit (REK) for MK-84 general purpose bombs (GBP). Using this specific REK unit, the PAF can start leveraging its heaviest bombs (925 kg) for precision-guided, long-range strikes of up to 100 km. This will join a growing family of modular kits for GBPs on offer by the wider Pakistani defence industry (e.g., Harobanx and Qaswa).


Overall, GIDS has revealed a relatively ambitious product roadmap. In some respects, it may have revealed a number of critical in-house programs under development across Pakistan’s state-owned enterprises.

It is unclear how far Pakistan has developed each of these systems. However, given that GIDS has revealed them to the public (and, potentially, to potential overseas buyers) could suggest that the institutes behind each of these are relatively confident about completing these projects.

This would be significant, especially in terms of the forthcoming air defence solutions. To date, there had been no word of Pakistan actually developing a SAM with a range of 100 km. However, bringing a project of this nature to completion would help Pakistan close a number of gaps. These include replacing the PAF’s aging Spada 2000-Plus SAMs and, potentially, providing the PN with a scalable medium-to-long-range anti-air warfare (AAW) solution for its forthcoming Jinnah-class frigate and, possibly, future ships.

Though GIDS’ disclosure could be surprising, it was never implausible. Ultimately, Pakistan could have been developing each of these systems for years prior to this point. Granted, the extent to which these systems draw on indigenous inputs is unclear. It would not be surprising if there is a significant reliance on foreign expertise for critical inputs, such as the dual motor pulse rocket stack for the SAMs, for example.

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