Pakistan is now equipped with two new unmanned aerial vehicle designs - a "very effective force multiplier", according to military officials.
Developed in Pakistan, the Burraq and Shahpar are both surveillance UAVs and, said General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, they'll give the Pakistan Army and Air Force a new level of "target acquisition capabilities", delivered "in real-time."
Both new Pakistan UAVs were inducted during a ceremony, attended by officials, engineers and scientists. Each was conceived and produced after the US refused to export its own advanced UAVs, such as the Predator.
First flown in 2009, the Burraq UAV was co-developed by the Pakistan Air Force and the National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM). It takes its name from Al-Buraq, the winged horse from heaven on which Islamic prophets travelled.
Strictly speaking, the Burraq is a UCAV (Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle), since - according to reports - it can be armed with laser-guided air-to-surface missiles, according to specific mission requirements. Military analysts have likened the Burraq to the Rainbow CH-3 UCAV, made in China, although very little is known about it beyond that comparison.
The Shahpar UAV is the brainchild of Pakistan's Global Industrial Defence Solutions. Powered by a single Rotax 912 engine, producing 100 horsepower, it cruises at 93 miles per hour at altitudes of around 17,000 feet. To date, ten examples have been built, each one capable of autonomous launches and recoveries, either end of unmanned operations lasting more than seven hours at a time, during which data can be transmitted across a 250 kilometre range.
"It is a landmark and historic event, wherein a very effective force multiplier has been added to the inventory of the armed forces", said the Pakistan military's press office, ISPR (Inter-Services Public Relations) in a statement on the UAVs' inauguration.
Beyond military operations, the Burraq and Shahpar "...could also be gainfully employed in various socio-economic development projects", ISPR added.