KARACHI: Pakistan is secretly racing to develop its own armed drones but is struggling in its initial tests with a lack of precision munitions and advanced targeting technology, the Associated Press (AP) reported on Sunday.
It was reported that China has offered to help by selling drones it has developed to the country. But industry experts said there is still uncertainty about the capabilities of the Chinese aircraft.
Federal Minister for Defence Syed Naveed Qamar had said that Pakistan’s own drone technology is at its initial stage and has been used only for air surveillance.
In a chat with media during his visit to International Defence Exhibition and Seminar IDEAS-2012 Pakistan in Karachi, the defence minister had said that these drones do not have the capacity to carry arms, yet.
Pakistan has demanded the US to provide it with armed drones, claiming it could more effectively carry out attacks against militants. Washington has refused because of the sensitive nature of the technology and doubts that Pakistan would reliably target US enemies.
Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf had indicated, during the Ideas 2012, that Islamabad would look for help from Beijing in response to US intransigence, the AP report said.
“Pakistan can also benefit from China in defense collaboration, offsetting the undeclared technological apartheid,” said Ashraf.
Whereas, Pakistan has also been working to develop armed drones on its own, said military officials and civilians involved in the domestic drone industry, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the work.