Pakistan’s intent to become self-reliant in weapons production
has resulted in recent years in the development of homegrown capabilities
to produce military equipment—ranging from lasers to complex
air defense systems and ammunition.
A number of government-owned companies oversee the process from
research to manufacturing. Now, based on their success with the
Pakistani military, these entities are pursuing a strong export
market, officials told National Defense.
“We are trying to create a market for ourselves,” said
Mohammad Salman, the marketing director of the Institute of Industrial
Control Systems, during a military show in Abu Dhabi, United Arab
Emirates. Exports only are directed to “friendly countries,”
and if the “government allows,” he added.
But there is more behind Pakistan’s desire to sell its weapons
than making a profit. Through exports, Pakistan is trying to strengthen
its industrial base and bolster its standing as a regional power,
said David Isenberg, an arms control analyst with the British American
Security Information Council in Washington, D.C. Pakistan has had
a long standing feud with its neighbor, India, over the Kashmir
One of the government-sponsored conglomerates now pursuing an aggressive
export campaign, especially in the Middle East, is the Institute
of Industrial Control Systems. IICS designs and produces weapon
systems for the Pakistani military, said Salman. The company has
managed to sell its products to Saudi Arabia and is in negotiations
with the United Arab Emirates, he said.
“Any conventional arms transfer from Pakistan needs to be
looked at very carefully,” said Matt Schroeder, an analyst
with the Federation of American Scientists. “The international
community needs to be aware of what is coming out of Pakistan.”
Countries, such as the United States and other NATO members, also
need to make sure that Pakistan’s export controls are rigorous,
Just last year, the father of that country’s nuclear program,
Abdul Qadeer Khan, admitted supplying nuclear technology to Iran,
North Korea and Libya.
On the conventional weapons side, among the products the IICS is
marketing internationally is the Anza MK-II surface-to-air missile,
which travels at a speed of 600 meters per second, with a range
of 5,000 meters. Another system is the Baktar Shikan, an advanced
anti-tank guided missile with a range of 3,000 meters and anti-jamming
capability. The system can be disassembled into four sub-units,
each weighing no more than 25 kilograms, thus making the system
man-portable. The weapon can also be mounted on Jeeps, armored personnel
carriers and helicopters.
The IICS handheld laser rangefinder has found success with the
Saudi military, said Salman. The system designates static and moving
targets from 150 meters to 10,000 meters. A lightweight version
of the rangefinder can acquire multiple targets simultaneously.
A larger system is used in artillery guns.
Engineers currently are working on enhancements to existing technologies,
said Salman. “We want to improve the range and penetration
power of some systems,” he said. One new endeavor he mentioned
is the development of an anti-bunker warhead.
Meanwhile, the Air Weapons Complex (AWC), another government-sponsored
entity, during the last four years, has developed an air-defense
automation system, said Amir Hussain Khan, a consultant and project
The system collects information from air defense sensors, processes
it, converts it into a standard format and displays it in real time.
The system allows the commander to view a fused picture of the entire
area of responsibility. The data compiled from the air defense sensors
is combined with the battle plan, projection overlays, current locations
and planned operations of ground, maritime and air units of friendly,
neutral and enemy forces, explained Khan.
The multi-radar tracker is an integral part of the system. It works
in high clutter environments and displays real time information
for any command and control function. The tracker automatically
initiates and monitors maneuvering targets.
Bangladesh also bought the system and has integrated six radars,
AWC also developed mobile command and control centers for forward-area
For the training of aircrews, AWC designed the air combat maneuver
instrumentation system. The technology is used to record aircraft
maneuvers during training exercises.
Three squadrons already are using the ACMI, and Pakistan plans
to outfit the air force fleet, said Khan.
Pakistan’s armed forces purchase their ammunition from the
Pakistan Ordnance Factories, a network of 14 facilities. They specialize
in ammunition for machine guns, small arms, medium and heavy artillery,
tank and anti-tank missions. Among the products now being made at
the factories are light machine guns, personal defense weapons,
submachine guns, anti-aircraft machine guns that use 12.7-mm ammunition
and automatic rifles.