Pakistan from the very early days, was dependent on western countries for its defense requirements. But with the passage of time it has made itself self-reliant in defense manufacturing. Pakistan started with a single ordinance factory inherited from its colonial masters in 1947, but the steps taken by the visionary leadership of the country in the right direction brought the defense industry to its current state, where it is not only meeting the requirements of its armed forces but also earning invaluable foreign exchange by fulfilling defense requirements of our friendly countries.
Pakistan has established various defense manufacturing unit that are producing high quality products such as Pakistan Ordinance Factory, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Heavy Industries Taxila, Karachi Shipyard and Engineering works etc.
Pakistan Ordinance Factory is the principal small arms and ammunition manufacturing unit whose primary purpose is to meet the requirements of the armed forces cost effectively. P O F currently not only fulfills the requirements of the armed force, but also exports quality weapons to other friendly countries. According to some media reports Pakistan is exporting small arms and ammunition to more than 40 countries. Saudi Arabia is the largest buyer of POF made weapons. POF mostly exports G3 assault rifles and its variants, M P-5 variants, S M G-P K-1, civilian guns, ammunitions, M G-3 Machine guns, sniper rifles, P O F-EYE corner shot gun to various Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries.
Pakistan Aeronautical Complex is another very important defense manufacturing installation which was initially responsible to undertake the maintenance, repair and overhaul services of the all the aerial assets of Pakistan Air Force. Later P A C became Original Equipment Manufacturer facility with the production of Super Mashaq turbo propeller basic trainer aircraft. Later on P A C start manufacturing K-8 Karakuram jet trainer in collaboration with China. In a joint venture with China, Pakistan developed the J F-17 Thunder/ FC-1 Xiolong advanced multirole combat aircraft, in the early years of 21st century. Pakistan has so far inducted 100 J F-17 Thunders in it Air Force fleet. P O F is also providing quality parts manufacturing services to friendly countries such contract is signed with Turkish Aerospace Industry for the manufacturing of parts for their Anka Unmanned Combat Arial Vehicle.
Another such facility is Heavy Industries Taxila, with the objective to provide Pakistan Army with reliable and cost effective defense solutions. HIT has provided various advanced defense solutions to Pakistan Army and Law Enforcement Agencies such as Al-khalid Main Battle Tank, Muhafiz A P C, Saad A P C Al-Zarrar Tank etc. Currently H I T is working on series of Armored vehicle in collaboration with friendly countries and domestic private sector. Hamza series and interceptor armored vehicles are example of such collaboration. Recently Pakistan has signed an initial deal for 6 interceptor security vehicles with Bahrain. It is expected that a follow on order for 50 more vehicle will be placed subject to successful completion of current contract.
To enhance the capabilities of Pakistan Navy Pakistan has established Karachi Ship Yard and Engineering Works which has undertaken various critical tasks in the past such as manufacturing of Augusta 90B Submarine, up gradation of various vessels, local manufacturing of F-22 P frigates, Fast Attack crafts, Puller Tugs, Missile Boats, and 19000 tone Fleet Tanker etc.
P O F and P A C has secured several export order in Asia, Africa and Middle Eastern countries notably 16 JF-17 Thunder Fighter aircrafts from Myanmar and 3 from Nigeria, 52 Super Mashaq from Turkey, 8 from Nigeria, and 10 from Qatar. Several other countries are also interested in purchasing Military equipment from Pakistan. In the Fiscal Year 2015-2016 P O F Secured $93.7 million worth sales, Saudi Arabia remained the largest buyer of P O F. The ministry of defense production has set $1 billion export target for the Fiscal Year 2017-2018. Pakistan is viewing Turkey, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Sri Lanka as prospective markets. According to ministry of defense production Pakistan is exporting weapon to more than 40 countries around the world. This speaks of the quality of the products produced by Pakistan.
In the last fifteen years Pakistan has achieved various milestones in the field of defense manufacturing, one such example is the manufacturing of advance Unmanned Aerial Systems. Pakistan is currently producing a range of U A V Systems locally, several public and private firms are engage in manufacturing Commercial and military UAVs. According to some media reports some of such U A V’s were also exported to US Border Police for the surveillance of the U S-Mexico border.
Pakistan’s Military leadership is keen on improving the existing infrastructure of these organizations, in this regard Ministry of defense Production has presented H I T modernization plan, project Azm (Fifth Generation Fighter and MALE UAV), Kamra Aviation City project and Gawadar shipyard project and several M O U’s were signed with various international firm such as Fiocchi, Berretta, CeskaZebroskova-C Z, Kalashnikov etc.
It is the need of time to provide necessary funds and government support for the defense industry to lessen the dependence on other countries for defense requirements. Keeping in the view the changing security environment in the region and the traditional threats to the country and the past experiences necessitates the establishment of a robust, technologically advanced and innovative defense manufacturing base within the country.