Pakistan Has Maintained Progress on Modernization Programs to Strengthen Its Military Forces

ISLAMABAD, (BM) – Despite its economic challenges, Pakistan has maintained progress on critical modernization programs to strengthen its conventional military forces, according to a recently revealed government document, learned, quoting Defense News.

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Spiraling debt and rising cost of imports along with low government revenue hit military modernization efforts hard. That, combined with an economic restructuring imposed by the International Monetary Fund as well as currency devaluation, increased the need for indigenous solutions.

Details of ongoing development, the replacement of foreign equipment as well as acquisition programs were recently released by the Ministry of Defence Production in its “Year Book 2017-18” document. The ministry oversees all aspects of state-owned military industrial enterprises, indigenous development programs and foreign acquisition.

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The document highlights the prioritization of armored platforms and air power.

Efforts toward improving armored capabilities include finding substitutions to component imports and indigenous development, specifically:

  • The manufacturing of auxiliary power units for the Al-Zarrar and T-80UD tanks.
  • The development of a driver’s thermal imaging/night vision periscope.
  • The assembly of engines for the Al-Khalid and T-80UD tanks.
  • The rebuilding and upgrading of 160 Type-85IIAP main battle tanks between 2019-2020 and 2021-2022.
  • A pilot effort to rebuild T-80UDs (completed in August 2019).
  • The continued rebuilding of M113-series armored personnel carriers.
  • The continued upgrade of Type-59 main battle tanks to the Al-Zarrar version.
  • The low-rate production of 20 Al-Khalid I tanks, plus the final-stage development of the Al-Khalid II (featuring an enhanced power pack and fire-control/gun-control system).

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A program for a tracked infantry fighting vehicle, or IFV, was also mentioned in the ministry’s document. State-owned armored fighting vehicle manufacturer HIT developed the Viper to meet this need. The static prototype was displayed at the IDEAS2018 defense expo. The platform was based on the M113 series, but was armed with a Slovak Turra 30 unmanned turret.

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Source: Defense News