Not long ago, Pakistan’s Military dependence was totally on the western world. Soon, Pakistan realized that the western world has some limitations, especially when the US embargoed the F-16s deal under the ‘Pressler amendment’ thwarting Pakistan to buy F-16s. The embargo was a blessing in disguise for Pakistan to understand that the country should be indigenous in Military production, particularly, when you have a weak economy and enemies on every front. After 6 years gap and a long search of acquiring cost-effective Fighter jets, Pakistan went to China to understand the art of designing “Indigenous” fighter jets. Which resulted in a 4th generation JF-17 fighter jet. Now after 10 years, Pakistan has become fully capable to build JF-17 in PAC karma with importing some electronic accessories from China. The gap in the Airforce was filled with procuring JF-17 but what about the other areas?
Pakistan was fully dependent on China from ordering Navy frigates, Surface to Air missiles, and drones. But China itself is developing its Navy through Russian technology, which is expensive and is far from being indigenous in this chapter, fully. In 2018, Pakistan ordered a 17000-Tons Fleet tanker from Turkey, that was built in Karachi shipyard by a Turkish defense company.
Soon after this completion, Pakistan ordered 4 corvettes, a small frigate with similar features, from turkey in a whopping deal of $1.5 billion. As per then-Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli of Turkey, the $1.5 billion is the largest ever export deal of Turkish military history. The two “ADA class corvettes” will be built in Turkey while 2 others will be built in Karachi shipyard under the “transfer of technology” agreement.
Even after being dumped by the US, Pakistan had to reach the US again for Apache Helicopters, this time again, the US refused to sell these Helicopters and Pakistan had to look for other options to replace the aging Bell AH-1 Cobra Helicopters. Under the exercise to procure Attack helicopters, Pakistan chose two attack helicopters: Chinese Z-10 and Turkish T-129 Atak. After rigorous months of the drill of using the attack helicopter from the Hot desert of Baluchistan to the coldest Place of North, Pakistan decided to choose the T-129 Atak of Turkey due to its more powerful engine, which has been designed by the US. On 25 May 2018, Pakistan signed to procure 30 T-129 Atak helicopters but the production, even after 2 years, has not started due to the US refusal to provide the export license for the engines of these Attack helicopters.
Not only this, after US refusal to deal with Pakistan for F-16s, Pakistan had to approach turkey to give MLU(MIDLIFE UPDATE) to the aging Block 10/15 F-16A/B. Under this MLU, Turkey upgraded Pakistan’s F-16 to the level of the latest F-16, by equipping them with Beyond visual range technology; moreover, Turkey is also upgrading 3 of Pakistan’s submarine and jointly building another fleet tanker. As per experts, the military cooperation will increase more in future areas as Pakistan can order Military drones, rifles, and Turkish anti-ship missiles.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Dunya News’ editorial stance.