Tech Lahore

Pakistan’s growing software expertise increasing its defence capabilities

Posted in Economy, innovation, Politics and Society, SW Industry by techlahore on November 26, 2008
The glowing, omnipresent eye of the Desert Hawk

The glowing, omnipresent eye of the Desert Hawk

Over the last few days I’ve come across a number of articles and news stories about Pakistan’s IT expertise being applied to benefit the domestic defence industry. Two items, in particular, caught my attention. The first one was about our very own Integrated Dynamics having sold locally designed and manufactured UAVs to the US Border Protection service. These UAVs, with their sophisticated navigation and monitoring software, also written in Pakistan, have been deployed to protect the borders of the United States. Even Wired magazine covered Pakistan’s growing UAV capabilities in an article titled, “Pakistan Expands Unmanned Air Force“.

The picture on the right shows one of the many Integrated Dynamics UAVs. And by the way ID isn’t the only game in town; local UAV and UCAV development companies are mushrooming. Satuma is another Islamabad based business that designs and builds these robotic aircraft in Pakistan.

The other story that caught my attention concerns the development of anti-UAV air defence systems. Much of the magic involved is in networking disparate radar systems – a job that rivals the hardest B2Bi deployments – writing detection software and applications that can interpret large amounts of raw data emanating from passive sensors deployed over large geographical areas. Sophisticated UAVs, especially those covered with Radar Absorbent Materials, provide a very small Radar Cross Section (RCS). Herein lies the challenge of detecting them. It’s not very different to an air defence that can detect and tackle stealth aircraft. In some ways, perhaps even more challenging, since the audio signatures from slow flying stealth UAVs are smaller than those of their manned counterparts. Despite all the complexity and all the technical challenges, the scientists working for the Armed Forces of Pakistan are confident that a combat ready system will be deployed inside of a year.

Additionally, many of the systems being showcased at IDEAS 2008, currently being held in Karachi, include sophisticated, locally developed software technologies; whether it is guidance software for Anza Surface-to-Air missiles, or various pieces of command and communication software for the Sino-Pak JF-17 fighter.

The net-net of all these developments is simply that software expertise is becoming incredibly important for Pakistan’s military, as well as its economy. The experience gained by engineers and scientists working in Pakistan is being wisely used to strengthen the defence of the country and to give our military exports an edge in an increasingly competitive global market.

39 Responses

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  1. Muhammad Qasim Pasta said, on November 26, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    GIK has been investing huge amount on UAV while PAF-KIET is focusing on UGV.

  2. […] (Note :Inspired by techlahore coverage of the same topic) […]

  3. mohtashim said, on November 28, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    I was quite inspired by this post, great work techlahore!!
    I went ahead and wrote one too with more detail on as well.
    I think its amazing that pakistani companies are selling UAVs to the US border patrol!!! and we keep looking towards the US for advanced technologies! tsk tsk….

  4. […] (Note :Inspired by techlahore coverage of the same topic) […]

  5. Anwar said, on December 10, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    The high tech part of UAVs is the sensors and sensors management (software). Our universities therefore need to offer courses in sensors development and integration. The hardware part of the UAVs is actually low tech – even in the late 60s and early 70s we used to fly model airplanes (line control) in Peshawar and later, after I arrived here in the US, I was able to upgrade to RC (line of sight) control. Control beyond visual range is the name of the game and that is where the technological innovations are taking place.

    Impressive writeup – was delighted to know tech fever is catching up in Pakistan.

    One additional avenue of getting new generation into such hobbies is to have national competitions and science fairs…. It was very expensive back then but now for the price of ipod, one can fly a model airplane instead….

  6. techlahore said, on December 11, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Anwar, thanks for the feedback. As Qasim pointed out with his comment earlier, UAV work is being encouraged and undertaken at the University level also. Certainly, large military research institutions like NESCOM, NDC and AERO are neck deep in this work. The fact that multiple Pakistani companies have been showcasing increasingly sophisticated UAVs at IDEAS tangibly illustrates the country’s growing prowess. The physical UAV platform is also important since emissions, radar signature, noise signature, Time-on-Target (endurance), payload capabilities and ceiling are all very critical for a UAV.

    I completely agree with you in general, though, science fairs and competitions absolutely need to be encouraged. I earlier wrote about the Maker Faire held in the US; something along these lines in Pakistan would just be fabulous…

    Here’s the first article in my 3-part Maker Faire series:

  7. […] US is importing UAVs designed and built in Pakistan to protect America’s […]

  8. Anwar said, on December 17, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    I think Engineering University, Lahore, NED, and GIK can initiate a program similar to what is in the US for UAVs – Design, Build, Fly.. sponsored by national organizations.
    Since there is a lack of aerodynamics design expertise in these universities, an off the shelf platform will work well if focus is on sensors and autonomous control.

  9. techlahore said, on December 17, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Good idea Anwar. The aerial platform can be developed at the Air University in Islamabad, the private companies listed in the article (internships anyone?), PAC Kamra or Karachi University and Punjab University both of which have very active modeling communities as well as great fluid dynamics and other aerospace classes.

  10. Anwar said, on December 18, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    techlahore, please email me at

  11. Osama Shafqat said, on January 2, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    You know what JF thunder 17 software was also written in PAKISTAN

  12. redline said, on January 2, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    thanks for sharing the info with pakistanis bro!!! thank you very much

    great job is being done I had never thought pakistan dealing UAV’S AND UGV’S AND COMP SOFTWARE THANKS AGAIN!!!!!!!

  13. redline said, on January 2, 2009 at 1:55 pm


  14. redline said, on January 2, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    bro post something about ugv’s and pakkiet or gimme some link

  15. redline said, on January 2, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    the only thing on google about pak kiet and ugv is thsi link :-)

  16. techlahore said, on January 2, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    redline, yes, the PAF has recently taken delivery of about a dozen UCAVs from PAC Kamra. UCAVs (unmanned combat aerial vehicles) can be equipped with weaponry.

  17. M.A.Siddiqui said, on January 6, 2009 at 5:18 am

    Great !!!!!!!!

    In these depressing times, when there is hardly any news that cheers you up, the write up was really heartening.

  18. Ghulame Mustafa said, on January 6, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Dear my young generation and pakistan k beto, AssalamOAlekum.
    I dont have much time. make a speedy team for this project. arrange or invie true pakistani and islamic lover from around the world and tell me the cost of this project including your efforts for time. I will arrange a funding, whatever it would be. I want to Pakistan lead all the islamic countries. Fully stable and powerfull. Please help me. Its not joke. Just give me the project cost.

  19. Lt. General Ayub Khan said, on January 6, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Pakistan Zindabad.

    Our defence industry is booming. We are already an arms exporter and our weapons and strategic assets are NATO standard.

    I do hope we can also develop in other regards –such as solar power and giving back to our people (education education edcuation!!!!)

    We are going through a difficult time and we must unite to confront the challenges, regardless of our province or religious beliefs. That said — we are always proud of the accomplishments of our hard-working people. May Allah bless our country, and each and every one of you out there.

    Allah Hafiz.


  20. Lt. General Ayub Khan said, on January 6, 2009 at 8:40 am

    and for the record, our Air Force is inducting a UAV Squadron –as per our Air Marshal.

    Our defences from outside threats is strong. But i urge Pakistanis to unite and work very hard and equip yourselves for YOUR future and the future of YOUR country.

    We have everything we could ever need in Pakistan. Lets take advantage of what our ancestors and founders of Pakistan fought for!

    Every Pakistani has a role to play here!! Jeetay rahon!!


  21. Warrior said, on January 6, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    AOA all

    Hope Pakistani students and intellectual chase all the stuff out there at Israel arsenal and make better one. Similarly if Pakistanis with hard work have hard belief no body on this earth can challenge Pakistan.. This we see in present time when follies only try to attack with words

    Pakistan Zindabad

    Pakistan Islam se hai Aur Pakistanion ki nisbat Pakistan se hai.

  22. techlahore said, on January 6, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Lt. General Ayub Khan, why did you get demoted from Field Marshal to Lt. Gen? Just kidding.

    Thanks for the positive feedback, everyone.

  23. Raheel Ashrafi said, on January 6, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Good to hear that, also I want to add that world recgnised Pakistan’s defence technology more superior to India and even to euorpe , India’s defence is 25% Missiles while 75% aircrafts, white Pakistan is 75 % Missiles and 25% Aircrafts defence. No wonder India dont have anyIdea about our this defence system.. but there is one more system that most of you dont know some NED engineering students made spy Naval ships which can be controled from karachi….obviously we have to think how save out soldiers in numbers……!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Lt. General Ayub Khan said, on January 9, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Our missiles are not superior to those of Europe. We dont have ICBM. But compared to india ours are superior in terms of range and accuracy.

    We have an upcoming joint venture with Turkish navy to jointly create a modified sea-based version of the Babur cruise missile.

    We have the infrastructure to protect ourselves. But once again i reiterate –every Pakistani has a role here not just to defend Pakistan against pests/threats, but also help develop and build the country. It takes rocket scientists to design our missiles, but not to realize that we are in difficult times.

    Education and pro-active attitude is the name of the game. Dont worry about indian, they can sabr-rattle all they want. They can’t do nuthin to us.

    Long live Pakistan

  25. Haji Muhammad said, on January 9, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Pakistan Zindabad

  26. Asad said, on January 10, 2009 at 6:53 am

    Yeah, Pakistan’s defense capabilities are increasing. The local industry deserves the credit.

    It was highly encouraging to see such developments in fields of hardware and software based defense equipment in Pakistan. Kudos to Integrated Dynamics and Satuma for the UAV development.

  27. Imran rashid said, on February 13, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    I was reading Mr.Anwar’s remarks given back in December regarding science fairs, this is very good idea to generate ideas and bring youngsters to some possitive activities plus also to give them chance to check their own abilities and to tell the world that we may be poor but we are enriched with brain, we may have some culprits and bad people but we also have millions of those who can give their lives, their dreams and their every thing to this great country.
    Why don’t youngsters make Science clubs and share their ideas with others and then those clubs can compete among them and win loads of love, appriciation and success. I beleive that if there is such thing and there is some organization that announces some mega project with full sincierity and request funds from over seas they will open their hearts to help those youngsters but somebody have to start this. May be you! Yes may be You if you reading this.

  28. liferockzzzz2008 said, on February 14, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    good this is a great effort this is right engineering universities can contribute in this thing

  29. Postmodern Pakistan « Tech Lahore said, on March 25, 2009 at 3:27 am

    […] own Tanks. It’s own APCs. It’s own Submarines. It’s own Frigates. It’s own UAVs. And, of course, it’s own nuclear weapons. And every day all the above get stronger and grow […]

  30. Postmodern Pakistan « Pak Tea House said, on March 25, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    […] own Cruise Missiles. Its own Tanks. Its own APCs. Its own Submarines. It’s own Frigates. Its own UAVs. And, of course, its own nuclear weapons. And every day all the above get stronger and grow more […]

  31. shafi ullah said, on April 1, 2009 at 2:33 am

    Its a great pleasure for me to write in respect of Pakistan,s defence capabality. Pakistan defence is becoming stong and strong by the passage of time. Air defence is the backbone of our defence and therfor we must concentrate on it. We must see to repidly update our nuclear program so can meet the future challenges. It can be utilaized to improve our lives as well.To close the chapter of old weapons and to work on the technologicaly most advanced weapon system shall be the First priority of the presnet government.

  32. TechLahore 200 « Tech Lahore said, on May 7, 2009 at 1:48 am

    […] has the world’s largest WiMAX network – will America catch up?”, wonders TMCnet 5. Pakistan’s growing software expertise increasing its defence capabilities 6. Is Linux EVER going to make it to the desktop? 7. On Identity, growing up in Lahore and subjects […]

  33. […] The US is importing UAVs designed and built in Pakistan to protect America’s borders […]

  34. […] development spend and bringing alternate energy projects online, developing new dams, increasing high-technology exports and expanding its universities. And of course, a country where increasingly large numbers of […]

  35. […] US is importing UAVs designed and built in Pakistan to protect America’s […]

  36. webdevelopmentservice said, on June 16, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Pakistan has made great advancements in technology especially in defense and computer related technologies. Socially our nation lack patience and tolerance.

  37. Muhammad Hamza said, on July 9, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Pakistan is our beloved country and we will do everything to protect it. Click the link below for more information.

  38. […] Of course, in typical NYT style when it comes to articles about Pakistan, the accusation is not justified with even a shred of evidence beyond the “leak”. But why do they need proof, I ask? I mean it’s not like those brown skinned idiotic Pakistanis are capable of inventing anything? Right? I mean it’s not like they’ve developed nuclear weapons, IRBMs, fighter aircraft, UAVs, tanks of other sophisticated military gear?! […]

  39. Web Development Pakistan said, on October 14, 2009 at 6:13 am

    o great !!! nice to see the technologies of our beloved country ….

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