Pakistan defence conglomerate Global Defence and Industrial Solutions (GIDS) has unveiled an armed version of its SHAHPAR-II medium altitude long endurance (MALE) reconnaissance drone at Egypt Defence Expo EDEX 2021. The drone is armed with two new Burq (advanced) semi-active laser guided air to ground munitions with a range of 8 kilometres, developed by NESCOM #Pakistan, on two weapons stations able to handle 60 kgs of municipal each. The drone has a service ceiling of 20,000 feet for surveillance and 18,000 feet for attack missions, an endurance of 14 hours for surveillance and 7 hours for attack missions, and a real-time data link range of 300 kilometres plus SATCOM BLoS capabilities at the drone’s full ranges of 1,050 kilometres. The drone also features automated takeoff and landing, retractable landing gears, asymmetric landing and incorporates composites in the airframe to make the drone lighter and more aerodynamically maneuverable. Several types of surveillance payloads can also be integrated into the armed drome, including the new Zumr-II EO/IR turret, and targeting pod, and synthetic aperture radars (SAR) as well as COMINT/ELIMT payloads.
The drone is Pakistan’s entry into the mid-range tactical MALE UCAV market, to complement the TB-2 but with a more competitive price.
It is expected that the Pakistan Armed Forces will be the first customer of the drone, before being offered to likely several countries in Africa, South America, and the Middle East. The Pakistan Armed Forces would be able to produce the drone in large quantities as and when needed, giving it a considerable boost in tactical armed drone capabilities and a versatile, relatively cheap, indigenous armour-killer for use on the eastern front.