Pakistan's Global Industry and Defence Solutions (GIDS) is in the process of enhancing the capabilities of its Shahpar unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and working to develop a larger system.
Speaking to Jane's at IDEX 2017 in Abu Dhabi, Asad Kamal, GIDS' director of sales and marketing, said that enhancements to the Shahpar tactical UAV will focus on the introduction of a new powerplant.
The aircraft is currently equipped with a four-cylinder, four-stroke Rotax 912 ULS unit, developing 100 hp; the new, more powerful engine will also be sourced from overseas, Kamal said.
Pakistan's military currently operates two systems procured from European manufacturers - the Luna and Falco. Kamal said that as indigenous capabilities progress these will be phased out of service and the enhancements to the Shahpar are part of that process.
Shahpar provides a tactical-level intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability and does not feature an offensive capability - unlike the Pakistan military's other tactical system, the Burraq, which is manufactured by the National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM). The aircraft features a canard and swept-wing configuration with a pusher propeller, a belly-mounted gimballed payload, and a tricycle undercarriage.
The aircraft has a payload capacity of 50 kg, an endurance of more than 7 hours, a ceiling of 17,000 ft, and the ability to operate to a range of 250 km via its standard datalink.
Development of a medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) system, Kamal said, is a logical step for GIDS as the company looks to enhance its and Pakistan's capabilities in the field of UAVs. The effort is in its early stages and the company is awaiting more information from the military as to what its requirements might be.
Elsewhere GIDS is developing an enhanced version of its Zumr-1 electro-optical/infrared ISR payload. The Zumr-2 is set to complete testing at the end of the year and among other improvements will introduce a laser designator; however, with a projected weight of around 32 kg, it will be roughly the same as the earlier model, which weighs 30 kg.
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