Thursday, January 21, 2010

US to Provide RQ-7 Shadow Tactical UAVs to Pakistan

The United States will provide a dozen unarmed aerial spy drones to Pakistan for the first time as part of an effort to encourage Pakistan’s cooperation in fighting militancy on the Afghanistan border, American defense officials said Thursday.The unmanned Shadow drones, which are smaller than armed Predator drones, would be a significant upgrade in the Pakistanis’ reconnaissance and surveillance capability and would supply video to help cue ground or air strikes.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who is in Pakistan on a two-day visit, made the initial disclosure about the drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, in an interview Thursday with a Pakistani television reporter.Asked if the United States planned to provide the Pakistani military with drones, something it has long requested, Mr. Gates replied, “There are some tactical U.A.V.s that we are considering, yes.”

American defense officials said that the drones would be for use in Pakistan’s tribal areas and would be restricted to defensive rather than offensive operations. One major concern for the American military is the possibility that Pakistan could use the drones against India, its archrival in the region.The latest version of the Shadow is used by the United States Army and the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has a wing span of 14 feet, is about 12 feet long, is launched from a trailer by ground units and can fly about 70 miles.

Mr. Gates, who is on his first trip to Pakistan in three years, met Thursday with the Pakistani Army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, as well as with, Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the director of the country’s spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence. He attended a dinner in his honor given by the Pakistani president, Asif Ali Zardari, and is to deliver a speech on American policy on Friday before a military audience.

American officials said that Mr. Gates urged the Pakistanis in the meetings to do more against the militants, a constant American theme that the defense secretary also sounded in an opinion article published on Thursday in the News, Pakistan’s largest English-language daily newspaper.In the same article, and in his public comments in Pakistan, Mr. Gates lavishly praised the Pakistani Army for its efforts so far against the militants in the Swat Valley and South Waziristan, and noted that the Army had suffered nearly 2,000 casualties in the last three years.

He also sought to reassure Pakistani citizens that Americans had a long-term interest in their country, not just in a short-term strategic gain across the border in Afghanistan.Mr. Gates said in the article that he regretted past injustices in the American-Pakistan relationship that he himself has been part of since the late 1980s, when he was No. 2 at the C.I.A. At that time, he helped funnel covert Reagan administration aid and weapons through Pakistan’s spy agency to the Islamic fundamentalists who ousted the Russians from Afghanistan. Some of those fundamentalists are now part of the Taliban and fighting against the United States.

Mr. Gates said that the United States largely abandoned Afghanistan and cut military ties with Pakistan once the Russians left Kabul, which he called “a grave mistake driven by some well-intentioned but short-sighted U.S. legislative and policy decisions.”He also repeated an assessment that the militant groups on Pakistan’s border were an inter-connected syndicate, a view that General Abbas rejected as not as “black and white” as Mr. Gates described.


Why Pakistan is getting these drones for intelligence and surveillance only and without arms. Pakistan has already developing and making such planes at home why wasting time and intentions on different technology. I think if US is giving the drones without arms and missiles then Pakistan should not go for it doesent matter if it is free it would be waste of time and should remain concentrate on home grown technology afterall they got thousand of scientists working in their labs now.

I getyour point Naeem, regardless of whether the drones are armed or not, the technology is definately superior to what we may have at this time. Would have been nice to have a few Predators or Reapers but I am sure there is a plus side for Pakistan in this transaction. Lets watch and see what happens.

i dont think so pakistan already have falco uav which is almost same as this uav i think its waste of time when u have already and assembling italin falco system which r latest by the way and works both day and nite i think gate ahve nothing to offer for pakistan except promises ...

I am sure the Pakistani armed forces know better and would evaluate this system to see if it even serves our needs.
Maybe you are right, the Falco drones serve the same purpose as well. What we need are drones that can take out these targets in shortest time possible, something the US govt is not willing to give to Pakistan. From what I have read on various forums is that Pakistan is developing an armed drone with Chinese collaboration. Would be interesting to see what comes out of that.

They have taken extreme care to give the sort of UAV to Pakistan which has virtually no chance of carrying arms!

But anyway I am sure Pakistani Engineers will be able to learn a lot about these and perhaps use some in future development of an indigenous UAV.

There is nothing wrong in accepting
these non tactical UAVs.Let us try
and find out how best we could use
them presently and later arm them.

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