RAWALPINDI: Pakistan’s first homegrown armed drone Friday successfully test-fired a laser-guided missile with pinpoint precision, Samaa reported.
According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the military’s media wing, the indigenously developed advanced Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) ‘Burraq’ armed with a new air-to-surface missile ‘Barq’, which means lightning, were tested at an undisclosed location Friday.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif and other senior commanders were present on the test site, said a tweet posted by DG ISPR Asim Bajwa.
After witnessing a successful test-fire, the COAS patted on the backs of all the engineers/scientists who worked day in day out to stand Pakistan on the map of the developers of hi-tech UCAVs.
Bajwa quoted the army chief as terming it a great national achievement, which would help the armed forces rev up their anti-terror crackdown.
The drone, Burraq, was jointly worked up by Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and the National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM), a civilian defence research and development organisation.
According to Islamic traditions Burraq is a steed, described as a creature from the heavens which carried the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) from Mecca to Jerusalem and back during the Isra and Mi'raj or “Night Journey”, which is the title of one of the chapters (Sura), Al-Isra, of the Quran.
It is pertinent to note that United States has run a controversial drone programme against militant hideouts in northwestern tribal areas bordering Afghanistan since 2004.
Pakistan publicly opposes the missile strikes by US drones, terming them a violation of its territorial sovereignty and has long asked the US to give them the technology required to run their own programme.
Washington pressed Islamabad for years to wipe out the Islamist militant hideouts in the North Waziristan tribal area, which has long been a safe haven for Al-Qaeda and the homegrown Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as well as foreign fighters such as Uzbeks and Uighurs.
Pakistan has been battling Islamist groups in its semi-autonomous tribal belt since 2003, but stepped up its fight last June when it launched a major military offensive.
The US has carried out a series of drone strikes in the tribal regions over the last ten months, raising speculation that the two nations' militaries are working together on Pakistani soil.
According to the independent Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the CIA has carried out 413 drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, frequently prompting public protest from the government and civil groups.–SAMAA/Agencies