Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Türkiye and Pakistan Enhance Aerospace Industry Ties

Turkiye has made significant inroads in the Pakistani aerospace industry over the past couple of years with multiple contracts, MoUs and agreements being signed with Pakistani organizations. On the 4th of August, PAF’s flagship National Aerospace Science & Technology Park (NASTP) was inaugurated where Turkish firms: Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and Baykar Technologies have set up their offices. This is a significant development as these firms have not only been incorporated in Pakistan but are also collaborating with PAC, NESCOM, GIDS and SUPARCO on multiple R&D projects.

Baykar Technologies is the manufacturer of the well-known Bayraktar TB2 and Akinci UCAVs, which are now part of PAF’s arsenal. Baykar and PAF’s AvRID Division have set up a Joint Loitering Munition Design and Development Centre at NASTP for collaborative R&D activities. Displayed at the Park, the image of a KaGEM V3 intelligent cruise missile surfaced recently and is believed to be the result of this collaboration. In addition, the PAF and Baykar have integrated various indigenous munitions to the PAF’s Akinci and TB2 fleet, apart from the MAM-L micro-munition and Kemankeş cruise missile.

TAI on the other hand, first established its presence at National Science & Technology Park in NUST, Islamabad where Pakistani engineers have been working on projects associated with KAAN 5th Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA). Similarly, in NASTP a secure link with TAI has been established and 7 projects related to KAAN are underway. During IDEF ’23, TAI signed agreements with PAC Kamra and DESTO/GIDS for production of aircraft parts and cooperation on Wind Tunnel technology respectively. Whereas previously, TAI and NESCOM signed an agreement for the joint manufacturing of TAI Anka UCAV in 2021.

Pakistan and Türkiye are also collaborating in the space domain with TAI and SUPARCO signing a contract in 2022 for “joint studies on electronic communication satellites and other space projects”. It has since been reported that Turkish institute TÜBITAK UZAY has exported satellite-based cameras to Pakistan.

The boom in projects and associated infrastructure because of this cooperation has led to increased employment opportunities for Pakistan engineers, with firms recruiting talent from universities including NUST and IST.  Close cooperation in this sector is likely to catalyze once Pakistan formally joins the KAAN project. According to Deputy Defense Minister of Turkiye, discussions for Pakistan to officially join the project will take place in August, and this development can lead to Pakistan fielding a FGFA before the Indian AMCA project materializes.

Naturally, Pakistan will also be interested in the advanced TAI Anka 3 and Baykar Kızılelma UCAVs. However, for now, the Pak-Turkiye collaboration has provided Pakistan with state-of-the-art UCAV platforms armed with cutting edge munitions that can effectively counterweight India’s advanced SAM system inductions at a fraction of the cost.


Author: Muhaimin Zia is a student of Mechanical Engineering at National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST). He has keen interest in Pakistan’s defence industry and weapon systems.

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