Saturday, December 26, 2009

In 2010, Pakistani Priorities are Anti-terrorism, Modernization Pace

By Usman Ansari
Military and defense industry modernization and defeating an increasingly vicious terrorist campaign will top Pakistan's priorities in 2010.The Air Force has seen its modernization efforts progress, and retired Air Commodore Kaiser Tufail noted three issues that gathered momentum in 2009 and should bear fruit in the coming year: the JF-17 Thunder program, the arrival of midair refueling and airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) force multipliers, and the F-16C/D Block 52.

The Sino-Pak JF-17 is Pakistan's largest defense program."With the forthcoming induction of the JF-17 into the first fighter squadron, [along with the retirement of the aging A-5 and FT-6s], the PAF is poised to see a notable reduction of its fighter fleet age," Tufail said.The program is well on track, but foreign acquisition of technology is vital.

The arrival of the Saab-2000 Eyerie AEW&C aircraft and the Il-78 Midas refueling tanker in 2010 will "confer a much-needed boost in overall capability" for the Air Force, he said.As a former F-16 pilot, Tufail said the Fighting Falcon will remain a vital component of Pakistan's defense. The first new Block 52 was unveiled in November and "extended aircrew training on the F-16C/D Block 52 is currently in progress in Phoenix, Ariz., and the PAF is getting ready for induction next year."

The past year "can rightly be termed as the springboard to the PAF becoming a postmodern Air Force in the developing world," he said.If 2009 saw the beginnings of an Air Force transformation, 2010 may see the same for the Navy.

This Navy's first F22P/Sword-class frigate, built by China, was commissioned in September, and the fourth ship is to be built in Pakistan by Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works after the facilities were upgraded as part of the deal. This is part of an attempt to revitalize and expand Pakistan's shipbuilding sector, and progress is expected in 2010.

The signing of the much-delayed U214 SSK submarine deal with German company HDW and the Pakistan-Turkey corvette program are expected in the new year. Both programs involve a high degree of technology transfer, beginning with modernization of construction facilities and indigenous construction of the warships.

The head of the Turkish conglomerate behind the corvette package, retired Rear Adm. M. Savas Onur, said a key aspect of the deal is to increase Pakistan's public-private industry cooperation in a similar vein to that of Turkey's defense industry.In contrast, Army modernization efforts have been overshadowed by terrorism on the Afghan-Pakistan border and domestically.

Brian Cloughley, former Australian defense attaché to Islamabad and a South Asian analyst, has examined the issue of Afghanistan-Pakistan border operations. He reports his finding in a forthcoming paper for the University of Bradford's Department of Peace Studies, "Insurrection, Terrorism & the Pakistan Army," which was made available to Defense News.

Cloughley says the Army has done well to move large numbers of troops westward, and to retrain and re-equip them for a counterinsurgency mission. However, he cautions, "It is probable that the large increase in U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan will result in larger numbers of extremists crossing the border into Pakistan, in which case the Army will be presented with an even greater challenge than in 2007-2009."He claims more troops will have to be moved from the India-Pakistan border, and more casualties expected.

Claude Rakisits, a specialist on Pakistan and head of the independent consultancy Geopolitical Assessments, said the anti-terrorism struggle has been a mixed picture. Indiscriminate attacks on "civilians, including children and women, in market places and mosques" show "the terrorists have confirmed that they can strike anywhere and anytime at will," he said.

For 2010 he predicts "more of the same" due to ongoing Army operations and UAV strikes. However, he added that "Pakistan is not about to be overrun by the Taliban, as some Western analysts have carelessly assessed will happen."Some of the armed groups Pakistan did business with in the past will have to be abandoned as they have "increasingly turned against their former benefactors," Rakisits said.

Defense News


we are marching ahead in every

defense modernization to preseve

peace, and goodwill,we will prevail

whether it is india or pakistan a nations worth is not known by the arms it has but the standard of life,opportunity,security it gives to its citizens.

Anonymous said...

whether it is india or pakistan a nations worth is not known by the arms it has but the standard of life,opportunity,security it gives to its citizens.

December 26, 2009 7:01 PM
very rightly said and till what extent the security forces sacrifice there lives for the protection of there citizens!!!!
they sacrifice there today for our tomorrow !!!!

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