Pakistani Military Launches Defense AI Program

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has launched a Cognitive Electronic Warfare (CEW) program at its Center for Artificial Intelligence and Computing (CENTAIC), according to media reports. Modern connected weapon systems generate vast amounts of data requiring artificial intelligence and machine learning software for speedy analysis and rapid decision-making on the battlefield. 

AI/ML in Military

Modern electronic warfare requires the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to analyze vast amounts of data coming from a large number of sensors mounted on various military platforms deployed on the ground, in the air and on the seas. EW systems can collect a considerable amount of data about an enemy’s frequency use, radar deployment, and many other factors. Here is how British defense contractor BAE Systems defines it:

"Cognitive Electronic Warfare (CEW) is the use of cognitive systems – commonly known as Artificial Intelligence (AI) or machine learning – to enhance development and operation of Electronic Warfare (EW) technologies for the defense community. Cognitive systems can sense, learn, reason, and interact naturally with people and environments, accelerating development and implementation of next generation EW threat detection, suppression, and neutralization technologies". 

Indian defense analyst Pravin Sawhney says Pakistan Air Force may have already begun using CEW  systems. In a recent video posted on YouTube, Sawhney believes PAF used CEW in Pakistan's successful Operation Swift Report launched in response to India's bombing of Balakot in 2019. 

Sawhney speculates that, after the success of PAF's Operation Swift Retort, Pakistani military has recognized the importance of using its air force as the lead branch for the deployment of AI/ML and CEW. The establishment of Center for Artificial Intelligence and Computing (CENTAIC) at PAF's Air University is a manifestation of Pakistani military's commitment to this strategy. 

Sawhney says that PAF's commitment to AI/ML and CEW is also a step toward achieving greater interoperability with the PLAAF, the Chinese air force. Pakistan and Chinese air forces have been conducting joint air exercises since 2011. 

PLAAF's General Hong is currently in Pakistan for Shaheen IX joint air exercises with PAF.  He has been quoted in Pakistani media as saying: “The joint exercise will improve the actual level of combat training and strengthen practical cooperation between the two air forces”. Welcoming the Chinese contingent, PAF Air Vice Marshal Sulehri has said, “The joint exercise will provide an opportunity to further enhance interoperability of both the air forces, fortifying brotherly relations between the two countries”. Shaheen IX started a week after Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met with President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to Pakistan.

‘Digital Silk Road’ project is one of 12 sub-themes agreed to at the Belt Road Forum 2019 (BRF19) in Beijing. This state-of-the-art information superhighway involves laying fiber optic cables in Pakistan which will connect with China in the north and link with Africa and the Arab World via undersea cable to be laid from Gwadar Deep Sea Port built as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The global project will include 5G wireless networks deployment in BRI (Belt Road Initiative) member nations, including Pakistan.

Watch Indian defense analyst Pravin Sawhney describe Pakistan's defense AI program:

https://youtu.be/xaAKlKoNoVU


 

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

China-Pakistan Defense Production Collaboration Irks West

Balakot and Kashmir: Fact Checkers Expose Indian Lies

Is Pakistan Ready for War with India?

Pakistan-Made Airplanes Lead Nation's Defense Exports

Modi's Blunders and Delusions 

India's Israel Envy: What If Modi Attacks Pakistan?

Project Azm: Pakistan to Develop 5th Generation Fighter Jet

Pakistan Navy Modernization

Pakistan's Sea-Based Second Strike Capability

Who Won the 1965 War? India or Pakistan?


Comments

Riaz Haq said…
2020 Gave #India a Sharp Lesson on the #Chinese Military. With its #AI #tech, #China is not just a #military threat. If it goes to war, #Pakistan too will join the war, & #Kashmiris will not be left behind. With India becoming a #US ally, all this is real. https://thewire.in/security/pla-china-military-india-lessons

Worse, even now, the Indian military is refusing to accept that its 2009 two-front war fighting strategy, predicated on Pakistan being the primary threat, has been rendered irrelevant. Hence, General Rawat’s structural reforms pivoted on the two-front thinking too stand superseded. China is more than a military threat now. If it decides to go to war, Pakistan too will join the war, and the people of Kashmir will not be left behind. Given China’s assessment of India becoming a US ally, all this is real.
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Being non-contact and invisible, intelligentised war places a premium on Artificial Intelligence and has four distinctive technology features: Dominance of the electromagnetic spectrum; autonomy; drones and unmanned systems; and human-machine collaboration and combat teaming. Such a conflict will not be a border war limited to salami slicing, as the Indian military believes. It will be war of occupation where there would be minimal loss of PLA soldiers’ blood. Given the unbridgeable mismatch between the conventional capabilities of the two sides, India’s nuclear deterrence would be rendered useless.

The Indian military – even seven months into the crisis – remains oblivious about what lies ahead. Under the Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, the Indian military is three decades behind the PLA in its war concepts (for campaign); and tactics, techniques and procedures (for battles). While it is preparing for war with ‘human soldiers in the lead’, the war that the PLA will fight would have ‘machines with autonomy in the lead’.

For General Rawat, a war with China would be fought in the physical domains of land, air and sea with the army leading the campaign. For the PLA, the war-winning domains against the Indian military would be the virtual ones – of cyber, electronic and electromagnetic spectrum. General Rawat believes that time, effort, and finances should be spent on creating the organisation for supporting physical domains of war. He is pushing for raising of a joint integrated air defence command, integrated theatre commands and a maritime theatre command by 2023.

This is when the PLA would be ready with its de-centralised war where the sensors-to-shooters cycle, now called data-to-decision cycle, would have the human role largely limited to fast decision-making to remain ahead of the enemy’s kill chain. General Rawat believes that speedy infrastructure building on India’s side would help the operational and tactical movement of forces. The PLA, on the other hand, is focused on unmanned systems.

Ameer said…
Pakistan Air Force now has the central role in defense of Pakistan. Mission Planning, Machine Learning, Sensor Fusion, Data Links and Cognitive Learning in Full Spectrum all converge to provide an effective Electronic Warfare. Pakistan needs a large number of very talented PhDs and System Experts to provide rapid solutions.
Riaz Haq said…
Ameer: "Pakistan needs a large number of very talented PhDs and System Experts to provide rapid solutions."


PAF has a very ambitious agenda with its Project Azm to build a 5th generation fighter jet in Pakistan. 


Development of a new advanced fighter is a wide-ranging effort that will encompass building human capital in a variety of fields including material science, physics, electronics, computer science, computer software, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, avionics, weapons design, etc etc.


Pakistan Air Force's Air University, established in 2002 in Islamabad, will add a new campus in Kamra Aviation City. The university already offers bachelor's master's and doctoral degrees in several subjects. Ex Pakistan Air Force Chief Sohail Aman told Quwa Defense News that the campus will “provide the desired impetus for cutting-edge indigenization programs, strengthen the local industry and harness the demands of foreign aviation industry by reducing … imports and promoting joint research and production ventures.”


https://www.riazhaq.com/2017/08/project-azm-pakistan-to-develop-5th.html
Riaz Haq said…
China and Pakistan are currently doing joint air combat exercises codenamed Shaheen IX at PAF Bholari AFB to increase interoperability of the nation's militaries in the event of war with India. These exercises are the 9th in a series started back in 2011.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/756852-pak-china-air-exercise-shaheen-ix-underway

KARACHI: Pakistan-China Joint Air Exercise ‘Shaheen-IX’ is underway at a PAF’s operational base since December 8th, officials said.

The contingents of People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and Pakistan Air Force (PAF) comprising various aerial platforms, combat pilots, air defence controllers and technical ground crews are participating in the exercise.

The opening ceremony of the exercise was jointly witnessed by Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Operations) Air Vice Marshal Waqas Ahmed Sulehri and Assistant Chief of Staff, PLAAF Major General Sun Hong, it said.

Maj-Gen Hong said, “The joint exercise will improve the actual level of combat training and strengthen practical cooperation between the two air forces”. Welcoming the Chinese contingent, Air Vice Marshal Sulehri said, “The joint exercise will provide an opportunity to further enhance interoperability of both the air forces, fortifying brotherly relations between the two countries”.

The joint exercise started a week after Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met with President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to the country.

The ‘Shaheen-IX,’ would last until the end of December. The joint training, part of the 2020 China-Pakistan military cooperation plan, will play a positive role in promoting military relations, deepening practical cooperation between the air forces of the two countries, and improving the actual level of combat training of the two forces.

It will involve variety of air combat missions, rigorous training missions, near realistic combat scenarios, consolidating interoperability.Shaheen-IX is the ninth in the series of joint air exercises which is conducted each year in both countries on alternate basis. The first training was held in March 2011, in Pakistan, and the last one was held in Northwest China in August, 2019, and had lasted for half a month. The training in 2019 involved some 50 aircrafts and complete combat units.
Riaz Haq said…
The emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its use in battle space allows military commanders to develop concepts for Mosaic Warfare. Human innovation, combined with AI will create its own tactics and strategy.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2268682/mosaic-warfare-a-peep-into-multi-domain-battle-space

After discussing the contours of Mosaic Warfare, we need to highlight the contemporary concepts and weapons systems; Chinese and Russian development of weapon systems and new concepts of war fighting and strategy against US concept of net-centric warfare are important to analyse.

Pravin Sawhney, in a recent article published in The Wire, states that with the arrival of new disruptive technologies, new war domains surfaced, and to remain relevant for real-time warfare, the kill-chain became complex and vulnerable. Complex because more war domains got added and vulnerable because there was more to be secured. By early 2000s, the People Liberation Army of China, fixated on the US military, identified six war domains, namely, land, air, sea, cyber, space, and electromagnetic spectrum management. The PLA’s ‘Informationised’ warfare was about building capabilities in these domains, especially new ones which were uncontested and uncongested. The pivot of this warfare was cyber capabilities which it has been honing since the turn of the century.

Once disruptive technologies like AI came into warfare by 2012, China’s 2015 military reforms took place. The singularly important issue which would transform the character of war, and went unnoticed in the Indian military was this:

Focus had shifted from domains and geography to time-sensitive mission-sets. Called the ‘Intelligentsised’ warfare, the PLA intends to fight this in the Western Theatre Command (WTC) against the Indian military. It would be ready for this by 2025. The US military, keeping pace with the PLA, calls this fusion or Mosaic Warfare.

Surely, if war happens, the PLA will pull back its border forces which are engaged with the Indian army. It would unleash its informationised warfare predicated on cyber, space and its projectile-centric strategy based around long-range ballistic and cruise missiles. Since the projectile-centric strategy depend upon kill-chains for command and control, the Indian military, unlike the US military, lacks capability to disrupt or destroy them.

PLA at present may not go to war, but it will prepare for intelligentsised war. For that, it needs information on enemy’s habitat, ecosystem, operational logistics, enhanced winter stocking, operational and tactical infrastructure vulnerabilities, deployment patterns, command and control, recalibration of weapons, training and everything on how the enemy proposes to fight under Airland Battle Doctrine.

The PLA will be in no hurry to disengage and will certainly not de-escalate or de-induct forces since it wants to observe the Indian military’s growing war preparedness through the winter months. Make no mistake, the PLA threat is permanent.

Coming back to Mosaic Warfare, the major challenge is the flow of battle space data. At present no military in the world has the capability to deliver all available data to all entities operating in the battle space e.g. the data on an F35 superjet may not be available to a ground-based rocket launcher commander or a submarine-based platform in the sea and vice versa. This restriction is based on the good old principle of ‘need to know basis’, where a groundforce commander may not have much utility of looking through the data available with a pilot in a fighter jet, and since it takes time to sift through useful intelligence and utilise it, there was no need felt to develop multi-domain battle space systems. However, this is going to change.

Mosaic warfare will result into development of weapons and platforms suited for multi-dimensional missions, duly supported by AI tools, and will need an innovated and agile soldier and officer cadre that delivers the goods in the entire spectrum of battle space.
Anonymous said…
So, while India continues to induct new fighter jets and other military platforms in haphazard manner, it seems PAF is making very calculated and strategic decisions in order to offset these acquisitions by India. The February 26/27 skirmishes last year proved that subsystems and integrations trump platforms. In the next few years, how institutions such as the center for artificial intelligence and cognitive electronic warfare fare will in many ways decide the outcome of the war.
Riaz Haq said…
MOSAIC WARFARE: SMALL AND SCALABLE ARE BEAUTIFUL
BENJAMIN JENSEN AND JOHN PASCHKEWITZ

https://warontherocks.com/2019/12/mosaic-warfare-small-and-scalable-are-beautiful/


It is 20XX. A limited war breaks out involving a territorial dispute in the South China Sea. A U.S. Marine Corps assault team moves out of the back of an MV-22 pulling boxes containing a mix of computer chips, printable explosives, and communications gear, and prepares to strike a high-value target. They look more like the cast of MythBusters than Marines. They link up with prepositioned quadcon containers delivered by an unmanned logistics system. The team opens the container and starts assembling a mission payload. After analyzing the different options generated by the Athena computer-assistant, the team leader opts for a mix of hunters and killers: three surveillance drones to find and fix the target, two electronic attack systems to isolate the objective, and three explosive drones trained to target the critical vulnerabilities. One grunt 3D prints explosive charges while another loads new attack profiles for the mission in a tablet using blockly code. They cross check the cloud-based intelligence database and download updates to help the machine-learning algorithm recognize the target and ignore new enemy decoys and civilians. After launching the mission package, the team boards the MV-22 and plans its next attack as it proceeds to a new firing site.


The rapid and creative combination of small, cheap, flexible systems described above represents a new theory of victory: mosaic warfare. The idea emerged in the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), parallel to service concepts like Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment, Multi-Domain Operations, and Multi-Domain Battle. Like these concepts, mosaic warfare describes how to conduct multi-domain maneuver against adversaries possessing precision strike capabilities. Unlike these concepts, mosaic warfare places a premium on seeing battle as an emergent, complex system, and using low-cost unmanned swarming formations alongside other electronic and cyber effects to overwhelm adversaries. The central idea is to be cheap, fast, lethal, flexible, and scalable. Rather than building one expensive, exquisite munition optimized for a particular target, connect small unmanned systems with existing capabilities in creative and continually evolving combinations that take advantage of changing battlefield conditions and emergent vulnerabilities. Put simply, it’s Voltron on the cheap: a human-machine team combining flexible unmanned systems with coup d’oeil (strategic intuition) at a tempo that an adversary cannot match. As forces attack simultaneously from multiple directions they produce a series of dilemmas that cause the enemy system to collapse.

Over the past two years, a unique collaboration between DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office, Marine Corps University, and the U.S. Army Reserve 75th Innovation Command resulted in a series of war games to test this concept. This article explores the results. Based on the initial findings, the mosaic concept is a viable way ahead for developing 21st century multi-domain formations and capabilities. The U.S. military should accelerate and support the development of the concept through unified experimentation encompassing people, process, and technology. We need more marines and soldiers, along with coalition partners and scientists, fighting war games and conducting field experiments to transition the mosaic concept into new equipment and tactics that define how America fights.

Riaz Haq said…
How Pakistan planned to hit India back for Balakot -- the mission, the fighters, the tactics



https://theprint.in/defence/how-pakistan-planned-to-hit-india-back-for-balakot-the-mission-the-fighters-the-tactics/291522/

The PAF F-16s are known to be utilised as the long range aggressor component for these BVR engagements, clandestinely operating with the PLAAF during the exercise in Pakistan. The worthy ELINT capability of Saab 2000 ERIEYE AEW&C system, the Falcon DA-20 EW platform, as well as the ALQ-211 (V)4 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites (AIDEWS) on the Block-52s — would been very useful towards building a credible threat library and jamming techniques towards the Russian radars carried by the PLAAF.
The PAF thus would perceive itself to have a good measure of the IAF’s Su-30MKI fleet, which is seen as the primary & most numerous threat for the PAF’s wartime missions — focussing its energy on developing a range of anti- Sukhoi tactics. Hence in any IAF vs PAF contemporary aerial engagement — PAF effort would aim to deny the SU-30MKIs any tactical operational latitude.

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Incidentally, a major focus area for the PAF during the Sino-Pak ‘Shaheen’ air exercises —  has been to extensively evaluate the operational capability of the PLAAF’s Su-27/ Su-30MKK/ J-11 aircraft. Practice close combat and BVR air melees with these aircraft has revealed significant intelligence on the performance and electromagnetic signatures of the Russian origin Su-27/30/ J-11 platforms and BVR missiles like the R-27 and RVV-AE (R-77 export version) to the participating PAF aircraft. Significant would be the digital mapping and knowledge of the Minimum Abort Ranges (MAR) of these missiles — which could give an edge to the PAF in planning effective BVR tactics against the IAF Sukhoi Su-30MKIs.
Riaz Haq said…
Though the PAF lauded the role of EW/ECM in Swift Retort, it did not reveal much about what it deployed against India, except for its modified Dassault Falcon 20 EW/ECM aircraft. The PAF disclosed that it used the Falcon 20 EW/ECM aircraft to jam the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) communications.

https://quwa.org/2020/04/12/pakistan-must-diversify-its-electronic-warfare-assets-2/

However, by the PAF’s own admission, its success in jamming the IAF’s communications had more to do with gaps within the IAF – notably the lack of networking/data-linking between IAF aircraft at the time.[1][2]

The IAF is now working to solve the gap by acquiring the BNET software defined radio (SDR) from Rafael. SDRs are the basis of secure and high-speed voice and data communication between combat aircraft and other assets (i.e., tactical data links). This is an important step for the IAF, but it speaks to a bigger issue – the IAF is systematically working the gaps it knows the PAF had exploited in 2019.

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This is the third article in Quwa’s series on the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) modernization goals by 2030. ‘Swift Retort’ was the first – and only – large-scale air operation in South Asia in recent years, and Quwa contends that its outcome will shape much of the PAF’s asset acquisition activities in the 2020s.

From the PAF’s viewpoint, Swift Retort validated a number of strengths, such as its ability to accurately hit targets using long-range weapons from 60-120 km away, or deploy a large number of aircraft with several support assets in one mission, among others.

However, while Swift Retort may have shown that the PAF is capable of operating as a contemporary or modern air force, it also magnified the need to maintain the supposed edge in those areas.

So, for example, if large scale operations can work against India, then it would make sense for the PAF to build the capacity to mount such campaigns more frequently (if not simultaneously). However, it would need a large force of modern multi-role fighters, which is why Quwa highlighted that the PAF should focus on acquiring more JF-17 Block-IIIs and JF-17Bs in part-two of this series.

In the third article of this series, Quwa will continue this discussion, but this time with a focus on the PAF’s little known – but important – electronic warfare (EW) and electronic countermeasures (ECM) assets.



The PAF may have only revealed a small part of its actual EW/ECM capability, but by that same logic, the IAF could be working to reactively close its gaps and proactively deprecate the PAF’s EW/ECM capabilities…

[1] Sanjeev Verma. “IAF lacked ODL during Balakot strike, fighters jet went incommunicado.” Times of India. 15 December 2019. URL: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/iaf-lacked-odl-during-balakot-strike-fighter-jets-went-incommunicado/articleshow/72633716.cms

[2]  Alan Warnes. “Operation Swift Retort: One Year On.” Air Forces Monthly. April 2020. Page 33
Riaz Haq said…

Why China’s Latest Jets Are Surpassing Russia’s Top Fighters

https://www.forbes.com/sites/sebastienroblin/2020/11/10/why-chinas-latest-jets-are-surpassing-russias-top-fighters/?sh=3967f7ae2e26

After the Soviet collapse in 1991, Russia sold China fourth-generation Su-27 and Su-30 Flanker jets, a powerful twin-engine fighter known for its supermaneuverable flight characteristics. The Shenyang Aviation Corporation went on to develop three separate clones of the Flanker: the J-11, carrier-based J-15 Flying Shark and strike-oriented J-16.

However, according to a study published by the Royal United Service Institute, the world’s oldest military think tank, the apprentice may have surpassed the master.

The study’s author, analyst Justin Bronk, writes:

“…from a position of dependency on Russian aircraft and weapons, China has developed an advanced indigenous combat aircraft, sensor and weapons industry that is outstripping Russia’s... China has started to build a clear technical lead over Russia in most aspects of combat aircraft development. Moreover, Russian industry is unlikely to be able to regain areas of competitive advantage once lost, due to deep structural industrial and budgetary disadvantages compared to the Chinese sector.”

To be sure, China still imports turbofan engines from Russia as it struggles to perfect domestic alternatives such as the WS-10B and eventually the powerful WS-15. However, the latest Chinese fighters increasingly incorporate weapons and avionics that are more capable than those of their Russian counterparts.

Factors behind the shifting fortunes of China and Russia’s military aviation sector include:

Beijing’s annual military spending exceeds Moscow’s two or three times over (Russian spent $70 billion on defense in 2020, China $190 billion)
Cross-applicability of China’s well-developed civilian electronics industry to manufacturing advanced avionics, resulting in Western-style computers, sensors, and datalinks.
Willingness of Chinese firms to copy technologies from across the globe through reverse-engineering or industrial espionage (particularly hacking)
Western sanctions on Russia have reduced Moscow’s access to components necessary for high-performance sensors
That isn’t to say that the Chinese military holds all the advantages. Most notably, Russian military aviation has far more combat experience, with most of its fighter and bomber crews rotated into combat tours in the Syrian Civil War. The Chinese military has only begun in the last decade to implement more realistic joint combat training with other branches of the military.

The VKS (Russian Aerospace Forces) also still operates some specialized aircraft types without real Chinese equivalents, such as the MiG-31 interceptor, Tu-160 and Tu-22M supersonic bombers, and the Su-25 ground attack jet.

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One of the key weight-saving tricks in modern aircraft design is to substitute metal components with lightweight composite materials. Those weight reduction translate into major improvements in agility and range.

Extensive use of composites can be pricy and technologically demanding. Bronk writes that China, nonetheless, has taken a lead in incorporating composites in J-11B, J-11D and J-16 fighters, all derived from Russian Flanker jets. The end result is jets that incorporate additional systems compared to the Russian original, yet still achieve a superior thrust-weight ratio.

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https://rusi.org/publication/whitehall-reports/russian-and-chinese-combat-air-trends-current-capabilities-and-future
Riaz Haq said…
RUSI Paper on Chinese military aircraft development: 

China has developed J-11 and J-16 series Flanker derivatives featuring AESA radars, new datalinks, improved EW systems and increased use of composites, which give them a superior level of overall combat capability to the latest Russian Flanker, the Su-35S. 
This advantage is increased by Chinese advances in both within-visual-range (WVR) and beyond-visual-range (BVR) air-to-air missiles. Unlike the latest Russian R-73M, the PL-10 features an imaging infrared seeker, improving resistance to countermeasures. More significantly, the PL-15 features a miniature AESA seeker head and outranges the US-made AIM-120C/D AMRAAM series. China is also testing a very-long-range air-to-air missile, known as PL-X or PL-17, which has a 400-km class range, multimode seeker and appears to have been designed to attack US big-wing ISTAR and tanker aircraft. 
China has developed and introduced into service the first credible non-US-made LO, or fifth-generation, fighter in the form of the J-20A ‘Mighty Dragon’. Subsequent developments are likely to increase its LO characteristics and sensor capabilities, as well as engine performance, with construction of the first production prototypes of the J-20B having begun in 2020. 
Overall, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and People’s Liberation Army Navy are rapidly improving their combat air capabilities, including a focus on the sensors, platforms, network connectivity and weapons needed to compete with the US in cutting-edge, predominantly passive-sensor air combat tactics. 
The Russian Su-57 Felon is assessed as not yet having matured into a credible frontline weapons system, and as lacking the basic design features required for true LO signature. However, it does offer the potential to correct many of the Flanker family weaknesses with greatly reduced signature and an AESA radar, while improving the already superb agility and performance of the Flanker series. 
The Russian Air Force (VKS) does not currently field targeting pods for its ground-attack and multirole fleets. This limits the ground-attack aircraft to internal equivalents with inferior field of view and tactical flexibility, and the multirole fighters to reliance on either pre-briefed GPS/GLONASS target coordinates, radar-guided weapons or target acquisition using fixed seekers on the weapons themselves. This limits VKS fixed-wing capabilities against dynamic battlefield targets compared to Western or Chinese equivalents. 
China is actively pursuing unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) designs with multiple programmes at various stages of development. Detailed assessment is hindered by tight control of information leaks by the Chinese Communist Party. Of those known to be in development, the GJ-11 subsonic attack UCAV appears the most advanced. 
Russia is also pursuing UCAV-style technologies and has produced the Su-70 ‘Okhotnik-B’ technology demonstrator. However, it is not yet clear what degree of practical operational capability the Russian aircraft industry will be able to develop through the Su-70, especially given the demands for significant levels of in-flight autonomy inherent in UCAVs designed for state-on-state warfare in heavy EW conditions. 
China’s advanced and efficient Flanker derivatives, as well as lightweight multirole fighters in the shape of the J-10B/C series and potentially a developmental FC-31 LO fighter programme, are likely to provide the leading source of non-Western combat aircraft from the mid-2020s onwards. Likewise, their air-launched munitions will increasingly outcompete Russian equivalents on the export market. As such, the development of Chinese capabilities should be closely monitored even by air forces which do not include the PLAAF in their direct threat assessments. 
https://rusi.org/publication/whitehall-reports/russian-and-chinese-combat-air-trends-current-capabilities-and-future
Riaz Haq said…
‘It will be several years before Rafales can be considered threat to Pakistan’Tufail is a popular aviation historian, strategic affairs commentator

https://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/09/11/it-will-be-several-years-before-rafales-can-be-considered-threat-to-pakistan.html

Writing in Pakistan Politico, a Pakistani magazine, Tufail noted, "the inadequacy of IAF’s Su-30MKI and MiG-29 twin-engine fighters in the air superiority role led to the decision to acquire the Rafale, ostensibly a more modern and capable multi-role fighter". Both the Su-30MKI and MiG-29 are Russian-designed fighters.

The Su-30MKI is numerically the most important aircraft in the Indian Air Force, with over 250 units in service, while the MiG-29 has undergone an upgrade to give it enhanced multirole capabilities. The Indian Air Force operates over 60 MiG-29 fighters.

Tufail acknowledged both the Su-30MKI and MiG-29 were "highly manoeuvrable in a visual dogfight", but "they seem to have shortcomings in network-centric, beyond-visual-range (BVR) combat". Tufail alleged the Su-30MKI jets that participated in the aerial skirmish with Pakistan Air Force jets over Jammu and Kashmir in February 2019 lacked datalinks to exchange information securely and their radars were unable to lock on to "two dozen PAF fighters". The Indian Air Force had stated Pakistani F-16 fighters fired AMRAAM air-to-air missiles in the skirmish.

"While a definitive conclusion about the shortcomings of the Su-30 fire-control radar and missiles cannot be made on the basis of a single engagement, it is clear that they are not at par with the PAF F-16/AMRAAM combo," Tufail wrote in Pakistan Politico. “The IAF was aware of these limitations of the Russian fighters, which is why it had initiated measures for the acquisition of Western multi-role combat aircraft instead of more Su-30s, as far back as 2012,” Tufail wrote.

Tufail noted the Rafale had longer range and heavier payload than the F-16 and JF-17 fighters of the Pakistan Air Force. The Chinese-designed JF-17 is numerically the most important fighter in the Pakistan Air Force, with over 100 units in service.

Tufail noted the Rafale, JF-17 and F-16 had comparable performance in a turning dogfight, where the aircraft's capability to turn quickly is a decisive factor.

A key capability that the Rafale brings to the Indian Air Force is the Meteor long-range air-to-air missile, which has a range in excess of 150km. The Meteor uses a 'ramjet' engine, allowing it to have powered flight to the point of impact, unlike earlier air-to-air missiles that rely on rocket engines, which only burn for specific period. The ramjet engine gives the Meteor a significantly higher 'no escape zone', the zone in which a target aircraft cannot use manoeuvrability or speed to evade a missile strike.

Tufail noted the Pakistan Air Force was set to acquire the Chinese-made PL-15 air-to-air missile for its JF-17 fighters. Experts have estimated the PL-15, which is significantly longer than the Meteor, has a range in excess of 200km. US officials have cited the development of the PL-15 as an argument for the US military to have a new long-range air-to-air missile.

Tufail argued, " It must… be remembered that it will be at least two years before the Rafale achieves anything close to full operational capability." He claimed the Pakistan Air Force has operated the F-16 for 37 years and the JF-17 for a decade. "These combat-proven PAF fighters are fully integrated with the air defence system, and are mutually data-linked, alongside all AEW (airborne early warning) and ground sensors. Such capabilities are not achieved overnight, and it will be several years before the Rafales can be considered a threat in any real sense. Any immediate impact of the Rafale on IAF’s air power capabilities is, thus, simply over-hyped."
Riaz Haq said…
Tensions Continue To Rise Between India, China, And Pakistan

https://theowp.org/tensions-continue-to-rise-between-india-china-and-pakistan/

By James Laforet

Hostilities between China and India have been rising once again since April, and this July, Chinese and Indian soldiers clashed along their shared Himalayan border in the strategically important Galwan Valley. 20 Indian and five Chinese soldiers were killed in hand-to-hand fighting, with both sides blaming the other for initiating the battle. (Reports of barbed wire-wrapped metal rods and nail-studded clubs could indicate premeditation rather than an escalated misunderstanding.) Another recently-surfaced report claimed that in August, China used a high-energy electromagnetic radiation weapon system to force Indian troops to retreat from two strategic hilltops. The microwave-like attack reportedly caused troops to vomit and left them unable to stand after fifteen minutes. Neither encounter violated the no-live-fire rule in place since 1962.

There is a long history of tension and violence between India and China. In 1962, the two countries fought a short war along the Himalayan border after India gave asylum to the Dalai Lama following the 1959 Tibetan uprising. In September and October 1967, the two sides clashed again in Nathu La and Cho La. In 1975, Chinese soldiers killed four Indian soldiers in Tulung La. According to Indian authorities, the Chinese forces deliberately crossed the border in order to ambush them – allegations which China denied. In 1986, a tense standoff occurred between the two as both sides massed large numbers of troops along their shared border, causing analysts to fear the situation would escalate to all-out war. In 2013, Ladakh’s Depsang Bulge area saw a 21-day standoff, and in 2017, a 72-day standoff occurred after Indian troops moved in Bhutanese Doklam to prevent China from extending a road further South into Doklam. The confrontation ended peacefully, and both sides withdrew.

Over the past several years, China has invested over $70 billion into Pakistan as part of its Belts and Roads initiative, an effort to control important trade routes and increase its economic and political clout. Some analysts are reporting that China has indicated it wishes to heavily invest into the Kashmir region, between India and Pakistan. This would likely increase tensions.

India and Pakistan have disputed ownership of Kashmir since Britain’s hasty retreat from the area in 1947, when the countries established their independence. The two sides fought a short, but bloody, war over the region, with India securing two thirds. This set the stage for a protracted, and sometimes deadly, standoff.

In 1965, a 17-day war between the two, including the largest tank battle since World War II, resulted in thousands of casualties. In the early 1970’s, interventions by both parties in Bangladesh fuelled another clash. The Kargil War began in 1971 when Pakistan occupied the Indian-controlled Kargil area, prompting India to respond militarily. Intense pressure from the international community persuaded Pakistan to withdraw from the region. Pakistan’s departure ended that conflict, but smaller clashes along Kashmir’s border have resulted in many casualties, including the deaths of civilians.

China, India, and Pakistan all have nuclear arms, and perhaps the threat of mutually assured destruction will hold these forces in limbo. However, any nuclear attack will have devastating lasting impacts on civilian populations. The international community must make every effort to ensure that this conflict does not evolve, An independent third party may be vital in facilitating peaceful resolutions to these decades-old conflicts.
Riaz Haq said…
THE world is undergoing a transformation of historic proportions. Two main drivers of this are the growing US-China rivalry and the scientific and technological revolution worldwide especially in the US, China, Western Europe and other developed countries. Both developments will have far-reaching implications for global politics, security and economy. Countries, which understand the fundamental forces driving the world and take steps to safeguard their national interests, will forge ahead of others who fail to understand the implications of the changes shaping the globe.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1598083

This prospect raises critical foreign policy and security issues for the consideration of Pakistan’s leaders and policymakers. The main foreign policy challenge confronting Pakistan would be to deepen its strategic cooperation with China in the face of the growing US-India strategic partnership while maintaining friendly ties with the US-led West which has its own importance in Pakistan’s political, economic and security calculations. The ramifications of the global geopolitical transformation in the Middle East, in the backdrop of the growing Indo-US-Israeli political, security and economic footprint in the region and the deep political divide between Iran and some of the GCC states, will pose their own set of difficult foreign policy choices for Pakistan.

The scientific and technological revolution unfolding in the US, China, Western Europe and other developed countries is another element driving the global transformation over and above the growing US-China rivalry. Developments in cutting-edge information technology ie semi-conductors, data, 5G mobile networks, internet standards, artificial intelligence and quantum computing particularly will help determine not only which country or countries have military edge but also a more dynamic economy.

Countries neglecting education, particularly science and technology, in their national development plans will increasingly become irrelevant in international politics with the passage of time. Unfortunately, Pakistan, which lags far behind in economic, scientific and technological development because of the short-sightedness of its leaders and policymakers, falls in this category. In the absence of necessary corrective steps by our government, the adverse consequences of our flawed policies will continue to haunt us far into the future.
Riaz Haq said…
#Chinese Global Times: #Defense experts believe that the joint training amid the #COVIDー19 #pandemic shows the profound friendship between #China and #Pakistan, which is conducive to improving the comprehensive combat capability of the two militaries. https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/take-an-objective-view-on-chinese-pakistan-air-force-drills-china-tells-india/article33385259.ece

China’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday the exercise was “a regular arrangement”.

"As all-weather strategic cooperative partners, China and Pakistan have friendly exchange and cooperation in political, economic, military, security and a broad range of areas,” spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, when asked at a regular press briefing about whether the exercise reflected the two countries’ broader strategic posture towards India.


"We are committed to jointly upholding peace and stability in the region. The cooperation project you mentioned is a regular arrangement between Chinese and Pakistani militaries that doesn't target any third party,” he said. "We hope it will be viewed in an objective manner.”

The exercise taking place amid the COVID-19 pandemic showed “the profound friendship” between the two militaries, the Communist Party-run Global Times said earlier this month when the Chinese Defence Ministry announced that the drills would carry on until the end of December.

Fu Qianshao, a Chinese military aviation expert, told the newspaper “the confrontations between India-Pakistan and China-India will not affect the normal military exchanges between China and Pakistan”. "India's frequent military exercises with other countries have given it little reason to question normal military exchanges among other countries,” he was quoted as saying.

The Chinese Defence Ministry said the drills would “improve the actual combat training level of the two forces”, and did not reveal details about the aircraft involved. The previous exercise, held in China in August 2019, involved 50 aircraft, according to Chinese State media.

China and Pakistan on December 1 signed a new military memorandum of understanding to boost their already close defence relationship when China’s Defence Minister and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Wei Fenghe met Pakistan’s leadership in Islamabad and visited the headquarters of the army at Rawalpindi.
He called on both countries to “push the military-to-military relationship to a higher level, so as to jointly cope with various risks and challenges, firmly safeguard the sovereignty and security interests of the two countries and safeguard the regional peace and stability,” State media reported.
Riaz Haq said…
In a book titled "National Security and Conventional Arms Race: Spectre of a Nuclear War", #Indian author Asthana warns #India "cannot win a war" against #Pakistan due to existing #politico-#military reality. #Modi #Rafale #Nuclear #China #CPEC https://thewire.in/security-security/national-security-arms-race-nc-asthana

In his latest book, National Security and Conventional Arms Race: Spectre of a Nuclear War(Jaipur: Pointer Books, 2020), Asthana turns his critical attention to the politics and discourse of national security and war. His conclusion: India has no clarity about its military and strategic objectives vis-à-vis its stated adversaries, Pakistan and China. And that there is a huge mismatch between the militaristic official and media rhetoric, on the one hand, and the reality, which is that India cannot defeat either country militarily. Instead of pouring vast sums of money into expensive weapons imports, India would be better served by finding solutions to the security challenges both Pakistan and China present by strengthening itself internally and pursuing non-military solutions, including diplomacy.

While these arguments may be broadly familiar to security analysts, Asthana also focusses on what he calls the “politics of warmongering” which has consumed public discourse in India over the past six years. Under the delusion that India has somehow, magically become invincible, he notes how a large number of Indians seem to be itching for a war.


This belief is both fuelled and strengthened by relentless arms imports. Asthana puts the figure India has spent on arms import in the five years since 2014 at $14 billion, and the undisclosed cost of the 36 Rafale jets purchased from Dassault Aviation is not included in this. But even this sum pales before the $130 billion India is projected to spend on arms imports in the next decade, including on 100+ even-more-expensive fighter jets to make up for the shortfall caused by the Modi government’s decision to scrap the earlier deal for 126 Rafales.

As the fanfare over the arrival of the first Rafales showed, each of these purchases is hailed and sold to the public by the media as weapons that will flatten India’s enemies. But of course, this is far from the truth. Asthana argues in his book that the frenzied import of conventional weapons will never guarantee a permanent solution to the military problem posed by Pakistan or China because both Pakistan and China are nuclear-weapon states and cannot be decisively defeated on the battlefield.

Given the myth of Indian invincibility, the futility of warmongering should be obvious. Yet, as the past few years have demonstrated, jingoism in India is at an all-time high.

While conventional weapons can provide a tactical advantage in limited theatre conflicts short of war, the danger lies in escalation – which is hard to control at the best of times but especially so when the public discourse has been vitiated by the politics of warmongering.

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Warmongering as a political project also includes assiduously inculcating in the minds of the people the notion that once India goes to war under the leadership of a strong-willed, leader, it will perforce defeat its enemies and usher in a golden age of a never-ending Pax Indiana.

This dangerous notion fits well with the domestic political agenda both as a diversion from, and alibi for, poor governance and other failings.
Riaz Haq said…
Security threats looming in 2021

By Indian Army Lt Gen Kamal Davar (Retd)

https://www.sundayguardianlive.com/news/security-threats-looming-2021

It was on the night of 29-30 August 2020 that some units of the Indian Army, in a swift move, deployed themselves on the dominating Kailash Range on own side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). This action ensured Indian troops dug in strongly at some of these dominating heights which overlook the tactically important Spanggur Gap. This audacious move by the Indian troops appear to have tremendously irked the Chinese on the ground. Despite seven rounds of talks between senior commanders of both sides ostensibly to discuss disengagement, no progress appears to have taken place. Meanwhile, according to reliable media reports, over a lakh of soldiers from both sides, with tanks, artillery guns, missiles, helicopters and fighter aircraft have been deployed and are ready for action. The Chinese build-up continues ominously, which clearly points to its likely intentions. The Chinese currently appear to have engaged successfully in their “salami slicing” tactics especially in the area of the Depsang plains and some portions of the Pangong Tso, between Fingers 4 and 8, respectively.
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As India continues to match China’s build-up, it will have to factor in China’s military collusiveness with its client state Pakistan against India in the adjoining sectors of J&K. That Pakistan will continue to keep the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border in J&K alive by recurrent ceasefire violations and efforts to induct terrorists to keep stoking the fires in J&K should be expected as always. Till India does not remind Pakistan of the latter’s many fault lines, in more ways than one, Pakistan will continue to needle India. Meanwhile, India must build on the atmosphere, among the people, for progress generated by the recent successful conduct of local elections in J&K.

A lesson from our ancient history, oft-forgotten, is the imperative of internal unity in the country. External challenges can be handled adequately when the nation retains internal cohesiveness. That most of India’s internal security challenges have an external dimension to it is well known and we thus need to factor in the linkages between the two to shape our response. Dealing with the situation in J&K, in Naxalism affected areas and the Northeast will require the correct amalgam between sound security measures and exhibiting compassion cum sensitivity to the local populace. In a democracy, legitimate protests are normal and thus governments at the Centre and states must not get unduly perturbed over these and deal with dissent sympathetically and not treat those who differ from the establishment’s views as anti-nationals.

India still, unfortunately, remains as one of the largest importers in the world of defence equipment. The Centre will have to make the DRDO and the many ordnance factories it has under its ambit far more accountable and effective. India has a vibrant private sector too with some having a reasonably good record in defence production. Giving the private sector a level playing field and an assurance of purchasing their output will give a fillip to indigenous defence production. In addition, the government must ensure that as it pays huge amounts to foreign military entrepreneurs while importing state-of-the art equipment, it must insist upon transfer of critical technologies, and ultimately production of the same platforms, weapons, ammunition, spares etc., within the country. With many security challenges confronting the nation, there is no alternative to indigenous defence production.


Riaz Haq said…
The joint exercises started on December 7 in Pakistan and lasted about 20 days, with China sending warplanes including J-10C, J-11B fighter jets, KJ-500 early warning aircraft and Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft, and Pakistan sending warplanes including the JF-17 and Mirage III fighter jets, according to the CCTV report.

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202101/1211811.shtml

The J-10C and J-11B are very suitable to simulate India's fighter jets in mock battles, Fu Qianshao, a Chinese military aviation expert, told the Global Times on Monday.

Many aspects of the J-10C mid-sized fighter jet, including the size, aerodynamic characteristics, aviation and weapon systems and overall combat capability, are comparable to the France-made Rafale, a type of fighter jet in service with the Indian Air Force, Fu said, noting that the J-11B heavy fighter jet has very similar appearance with India's Su-30 fighter jet but with superior avionics system.

The deployment of Chinese special mission aircraft like early warning aircraft and electronic warfare aircraft would contribute to the improvement of joint operations in an integrated combat system, Fu said.

Air forces from both sides focused on large scale confrontation, including large scale aerial battles and use of forces in mass and close-quarters aerial support, CCTV said, noting that more than 200 sorties were conducted by both sides, as both forces' combat capabilities were boosted in learning from each other.

Chinese pilots could learn from the aggressive maneuvers and rich experiences of Pakistani pilots, Fu said.

"Unlike previous Shaheen series exercises, this time we comprehensively deployed aviation forces and paratroopers, and added real combat-oriented training courses like maritime training for the first time," said Ding Yuanfang, a Chinese Air Force deputy brigade commander, on CCTV.

Both sides also deployed special operation units, and the Chinese Naval Aviation also sent warplanes to the drills, CCTV reported.

Fu said that the Chinese Naval Aviation had not frequently sent warplanes to joint exercises with a foreign country, but it has been increasing training intensity and changing its training model in recent years.

Participating in the Shaheen-IX exercises was a great chance for the Chinese Naval Aviation to learn from Pakistan forces and improve its combat capabilities, Fu said.

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Army ranks 10th most powerful army in the world
In the current list, Pakistan stands at the 10th spot out of 138 countries. It holds a PwrIndx* rating of 0.2083 (0.0000 considered 'perfect').


https://www.globalvillagespace.com/pakistan-army-ranks-10th-most-powerful-army-in-the-world/


Pakistan’s army becomes the 10th most powerful army in the world according to the Global Firepower Index 2021 released this week.

Pakistan has improved 5 places in the same list since 2019. In 2020, Pakistan stood as the 15th most powerful country. Global Firepower Index is an annual ranking that ranks a country according to its military strength.

In the current list, Pakistan stands at the 10th spot out of 138 countries. It holds a PwrIndx* rating of 0.2083 (0.0000 considered ‘perfect’).

Pakistan Army was ranked the 15th most powerful military in the world, according to the same list issued in 2019.

The Global Firepower ranks the military forces of 138 countries by comparing and examining a wide range of factors and not just the numbers of soldiers or weapons deployed by a country.

The Global Firepower ranking mechanism involves scrutinizing a large variety of factors, which include the manpower, population, geography, diversity of weapons, and the state of development. Countries that are equipped with nuclear weapons get bonus points, however, the nuclear stockpiles of a country do not amount in the final score.

Countries that are equipped with naval fleets but lack diversity are penalized, however, landlocked countries that do not maintain navies are not penalized. The Global Firepower ranking creates the PowerIndex score for each country after examining more than 55 factors, and this ranking allows small and technologically advanced nations to compete with large countries that are less developed and advanced.

The heightened PowerIndex score is 0.0000, which is an unrealistic goal for any country. However, the closer a country is to this number, the more powerful it’s military.

According to Global Firepower’s ranking, Pakistan has an estimated total of 1,204,000 military personnel.

Riaz Haq said…
Global Firepower (Military Strength) Ranks: #Pakistan moves up 5 places to top 10. #India at 4. #US tops, followed by #Russia & #China https://www.globalfirepower.com/countries-listing.asp
1. United States
2. Russia
3. China
4. India
5. Japan
6. South Korea
7. France
8. United Kingdom
9. Brazil
10. Pakistan

Riaz Haq said…
#China is a major global #arms-maker, meets own military needs, exports from #Pakistan to #Serbia. 4 of top 25 arms makers are #Chinese accounting for 16% of global arms sales worth $56.7 billion. Only 2 #Russian companies in top 25, just 4% of total at $13.9 billion.@NikkeiAsia https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/China-rises-from-Russian-customer-to-competitor-in-arms-industry


In a flashy recruitment video released by China's People's Liberation Army Air Force last week, four J-20 fighters are seen soaring through stormy skies, deftly maneuvering between lightning strikes.

Lost in the dramatic digital imagery was an important detail: For the first time ever, the Chinese jets will be powered by domestically made engines instead of Russian ones.

Beijing's decision to replace the J-20's engines, noted by the state mouthpiece Global Times, is just the latest sign that China is rapidly closing the military gap with its northern neighbor. For decades, China leaned heavily on Russian weapons to modernize its armed forces. But that has begun to change, as China builds its own powerful defense industry and even starts to challenge Moscow in the global arms market.

By some measures it may already have the advantage -- a shift likely to change the dynamics of the countries' at times awkward but increasingly close relationship.

Data published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in December puts China ahead of Russia as the world's No. 2 arms producer in the period from 2015 to 2019. The U.S. remained No. 1.

The leading arms research center found that four of the top 25 arms manufacturers in 2019 were Chinese. This quartet, three of which were in the top 10, accounted for 16% of overall arms sales and earned $56.7 billion. By contrast, only two Russian companies cracked the top 25, making up just under 4% of the total and generating $13.9 billion.

Some Russian defense industry officials and analysts dispute SIPRI's findings, arguing that it is impossible to accurately calculate China's arms sales volume since it keeps information about its military-industrial complex under wraps. They also protest SIPRI's decision exclusion of Russian state technology conglomerate Rostec, one of the country's largest arms exporters, in its top 25 ranking.

Even so, few in Moscow deny that China is gaining ground fast, not just in terms of the quantity of arms produced but also quality.

Vadim Kozyulin, director of the Asian Security Project at the PIR Center, a Moscow-based think tank, told Nikkei Asia that China has already surpassed Russia in developing unmanned aerial vehicles, certain kinds of warships and possibly even hypersonic missiles -- an area of great pride for the Kremlin in recent years.

"We see that China is producing new weapon models very rapidly, releasing a new generation every 10 years like the Soviet Union once did," he said. "Under these circumstances, it is difficult for Russia to compete because we have a smaller budget which is only decreasing."

For much of the post-Cold War period, Russia has been China's primary arms supplier.

The two neighbors began cooperating in the early 1990s, when China had just launched an ambitious campaign to upgrade the PLA's outdated weaponry. Beijing initially looked to the West as a potential source of advanced military technology, but those hopes were dashed after the U.S. and Europe imposed an arms embargo against China in response to the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

China soon found a replacement in Russia. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 devastated Russian arms manufacturers. Old sources of revenue such as domestic military spending and lucrative contracts with foreign client states quickly dried up. China's emergence as a prospective customer provided Russia's ailing defense industry with a much-needed economic lifeline.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan's #GilgitBaltistan regional govt has proposed a new transit and trade route linking #Xinjiang to #Kashmir and extending to #Afghanistan. Will it increase #China-Pak #military interoperability against #Indian forces in the region? #Ladakh #CPEC https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/economics/article/3119850/will-new-road-between-china-and-pakistan-lead-military-boost

In a video posted on social media platforms this month, GB chief minister Khalid Khurshid announced plans to drill a road tunnel through the mountains to connect Astore to the Neelum Valley in the Azad Kashmir region, where much of the LOC is thinly demarcated by the Neelum and Jhelum rivers.

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Proposals floated this month by the government of the Pakistan-administered Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) region primarily aim to pave the way for a new transit and trade route between China and Pakistan’s neighbours Afghanistan and Iran.
Currently, China and Pakistan are connected only by the Karakoram Highway, completed in 1978, via a single crossing in the Khunjerab Pass.
However, the route of a proposed new border road from Yarkand – on GB’s border with the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region – also suggests strong strategic motivations because it would open a new supply line from China to Pakistani forces deployed along the Line of Control (LOC).
As Pakistan, Bangladesh ties thaw, India keeps close watch on them – and China
14 Jan 2021

The 740km LOC divides Kashmir roughly into two halves governed by India and Pakistan. Its northernmost point, the India-held Siachen Glacier, is located next to the western extreme of the disputed 3,488km China-India border known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).



The GB government’s public works department was instructed on January 15 to prepare a “project concept clearance proposal” for a 10-metre-wide road capable of being used by trucks, from the Mustagh Pass on the border with the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region via the eastern GB region of Skardu, where the Siachen Glacier is located.
The proposed new road would be linked to Yarkand in Xinjiang, and enter GB 126km west of Ladakh, crossing the major supply artery from the Karakoram Highway near Skardu city. From there, it would run south through the high-altitude Deosai Plateau to the Astore Valley, where the southern flank of GB meets the LOC amid the Himalayas.

Washington-based analyst Sameer Lalwani told This Week In Asia there were potentially three logistics and strategic effects of enhanced China-Pakistan connectivity.
“It could deepen trade links by enhancing transport capacity; enable great Pakistan military mobility in any contingency, threatening India’s hold over the Siachen Glacier; and it can even facilitate greater China-Pakistan military coordination that generates peacetime dilemmas and wartime complications for India,” he said.
The proposed Xinjiang-GB-Kashmir road would “certainly ring alarm bells in New Delhi, which has been acutely sensitive to deepening China-Pakistan strategic and military ties over the past decade”, said Lalwani, who is director of the South Asia programme at the Stimson Center, a Washington-based think tank.
“It may also result in the Indian military – which has already sunk considerable resources to retain control of Siachen – concentrating an even greater proportion of money, manpower, and materiel to its continental defences at the expense of maritime power projection,” he said.
Riaz Haq said…
#PakistanArmy conducts tactical drills in Thar Desert in #Sindh, close to the #Indian border. Troops of #Karachi Corps are participating in the four-week long ‘Jidar-ul- Hadeed’ exercise in extreme desert conditions. #Pakistan #military https://tribune.com.pk/story/2283911/pakistan-army-conducts-tactical-drills-in-thar-desert

Troops of Pakistan Army’s Karachi Corps are practicing in tactical drills and procedures as part of exercise “Jidar-ul- Hadeed” in Thar Desert that commenced on January 28, 2021, said Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a statement issued on Saturday.

The military’s media wing said the four-week long defensive manoeuvre exercise is aimed at validating concept of defence in deserts.

“The exercise is being conducted in extreme desert conditions, 74 kilometers ahead of Chhor, under conventional operations setting, culminating on February 28, 2021,” read the statement.

On Friday, a week-long multinational naval exercise hosted by Pakistan started in the Arabian Sea, a move that could set the tone for its enhanced bilateral relations with many countries.

With the participation of some 45 countries in Aman-2021 from February 11-16, including the US, Russia, China, and Turkey, the drill – a biannual affair since 2007 – began with a flag-raising ceremony.

Significantly, this is the first time Russia has joined a military drill with NATO members in a decade. The last such time was in 2011, in the Bold Monarch 2011 exercise off the coast of Spain.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan’s Successful Test Of 2,750-kilometer Shaheen-III #Missile: It can reach the farthest points of #India specially the Nicobar & Andaman Islands in Bay of Bengal. Its successful tests and flights open up the possibility of #space exploration– OpEd https://www.eurasiareview.com/18022021-pakistans-successful-test-of-shaheen-iii-missile-achieving-full-spectrum-deterrence-oped/

Quite recently, in January 2021, Pakistan has conducted a successful flight test of Shaheen-III ballistic missile, capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional payloads. It was first tested in 2015 and said to have a range of 2,750 kilometers. This enables it to reach the farthest points of India specially the Nicobar and Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. These Islands hold great strategic significance for India since they are believed to provide assured land-based second-strike options to India.

Similarly, they are also critical for Indian missile testing. Shaheen-III is a medium-range surface-to-surface two staged solid fueled missile equipped with Post Separation Altitude Correction (PSAC) system. Being a solid-fueled missile enables rapid response capability and PSAC allows it to have better trajectory and accuracy with the capability to evade the deployed ballistic missile defence (BMD) systems. Moreover, it can be launched through “Transporter Erector Launcher (TELs), which can move and hide. This makes the launcher more survivable as compared to the fixed launchers. As of now, the missile has not been operationally deployed.

This particular test was conducted by Pakistan to evaluate the design and technical parameters of the Shaheen-III weapon system. Moreover, the Arabian Sea was the point of impact. It was reiterated by Pakistan after the successful test that Pakistan’s nuclear capability is India-centric and the objective of its strategic capability is only to deter “any aggression” against the “sovereignty of Pakistan”. Missile tests in South Asia are routinely exercised as both countries are improving their capabilities of delivery vehicles to maintain the credibility of their deterrence forces. Moreover, they serve the purpose of “signaling” and “readiness” of forces. Just last year, India has conducted 17 missile tests, amid its growing tensions at its northern borders while Pakistan conducted only two missile tests. However, to avoid inadvertent escalation and accidents both countries have the agreement on informing each other before missiles tests. Moreover, Pakistan believes in peaceful co-existence in the region.

Defence analysts believe that the Shaheen-III missile system’s development started in the early 2000s and initially, it was envisaged as a “Space Launch Vehicle (SLV). Therefore its successful tests and flights open up the possibility of space exploration for Pakistan as well. It is also believed that Ababeel, a Multiple Independently re-entry targeted Vehicle (MIRV) missile, is also compatible with the designs of Shaheen-III and II. Ababeel, a three-staged, solid-fueled, medium-range surface-to-surface missile was tested by Pakistan back in January 2017. Successful tests of the Shaheen-III missile system would likely enable Pakistan to acquire MIRV technology to maintain a credible deterrence force vis-à-vis India. To ensure the effectiveness and accuracy of different re-entry vehicles going in different directions, Pakistan has bought large-scale “optical tracking and measurement systems” from China. These systems would allow Pakistan to record high-resolution images of the whole process of missile launch till its impact (launch, stage separation, tail flame, re-entry, and impact).

Riaz Haq said…
US National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence’s (NSCAI) Report 2021:


America's two main adversaries are just as keenly aware of how AI supremacy could lead to battlefield supremacy and are making just as much investment into AI as the new NSCAI report recommends America does. In 2017, the Chinese government issued a statement that technological advances, including in AI, would make China the global leader by 2030. “By 2030, our country will reach a world-leading level in artificial intelligence theory, technology and application and become a principal world center for artificial intelligence innovation,” the CCP claimed. That same year, Russian President Vladimir Putin made similar comments, claiming that the path to global supremacy is paved with AI. “Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind,” Putin said. “It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.” Both Russia and China are developing their own unmanned combat aerial vehicles, and both have been accused of leveraging AI-powered cyberattacks or misinformation campaigns against the United States.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/39559/national-security-commission-warns-u-s-is-not-prepared-to-defend-or-compete-with-china-on-ai

https://www.nscai.gov/2021-final-report/
Riaz Haq said…
Saudi Air Force jets arrive in Pakistan for multinational air exercise
US Air Force will also participate, Egypt, Jordan and Bahrain will attend as observers

https://gulfnews.com/world/asia/pakistan/saudi-air-force-jets-arrive-in-pakistan-for-multinational-air-exercise-1.78166680

A Saudi Royal Air Force (RSAF) contingent arrived in Pakistan on Saturday to participate in the two-week-long multinational air exercise called ‘Aces Meet 2021-1’.

The Saudi Air Force team arrived at Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) Mushaf airbase with a number of RSAF’s Tornado combat aircraft and air, technical and support crew.

The United States Air Force (USAF) will also participate with their aircraft in the exercise along with PAF and RSAF while Jordan, Egypt and Bahrain air forces will attend as observers. Pakistan Air Force’s F-16 and JF-17 fighter jets and Saudi Air Force’s Tornado aircraft will take part in the exercise.

PAF’s Aces exercise
Aces Meet 2021-1 exercise aims to maximize the combat readiness of participating units by providing them realistic, multi-domain training and to build partnerships and interoperability among allies. “The exercise is aimed at sharing experiences and enhancing interoperability among participating air forces” with focus on role-oriented and near-realistic combat training, PAF statement said.


Pakistan hosted the first Aces exercise in 2017 in which PAF, RSAF and Turkish Air Force participated with aircraft. It focused on exploring and developing air power to contribute effectively to the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism campaigns.

PAF established the Airpower Centre of Excellence (ACE) in 2016 to transform air force capabilities to meet future challenges and to strengthen relations with friendly air forces through experience sharing and joint training. Pakistan has the seventh largest air force in the world with an active fleet of 1364 aircraft, according to 2021 world air forces report.


PAF ties with Saudi Air Force
PAF enjoys close cooperation with many countries in the Middle East and frequently participated in bilateral exercises and joint training.

Pakistan has a longstanding close relationship with Saudi Arabia dating back to the 1940s and strategic military ties formalized after a 1967 defense accord. Over the decades, Saudi Arabia stood by Pakistan during its difficult times, ensuring economic assistance and oil supply. In response, Pakistan provided military expertise and support to the kingdom for decades and also helped develop the Royal Saudi Air Force and trained its first fighter jet pilots in the 1960s.

Pakistan helps Saudi Arabia with military training, defense production and joint military exercises under a bilateral security cooperation agreement. Pakistan’s former military chief, General Raheel Sharif, is the current head of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition – an alliance of 41 states.
Riaz Haq said…
#PAF, #RSAF #USAF conclude multinational air exercise Aces Meet 2021-1 in #Pakistan. It included multiple missions across the airpower spectrum & offered near-realistic & role-oriented training to participants amidst #COVID19 #pandemic https://www.airforce-technology.com/news/paf-rsaf-and-usaf-conclude-aces-meet-2021-1/ via @DefenceTech_Mag

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has successfully completed the multinational air exercise Aces Meet 2021-1 at PAF base Mushaf.

The two-week long exercise saw active participation from the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) and the United States Air Force (USAF).

Addressing the participants involved in the exercise, PAF Base Mushaf air commodore Ali Naeem Zahoor said the exercise provided an opportunity to learn via ‘mutual sharing of experiences’.

ACES MEET 2021-1 included multiple missions across the airpower spectrum and offered near-realistic and role-oriented training to participating members even during the challenging situations due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Members of PAK, RSAF and USAF special forces performed several Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) missions during the exercise.

According to a statement posted on Radio Pakistan, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan air forces acted as observers for the drill.

The exercise included the employment of fighter jets from the air forces of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, as well as airborne early warning and control aircraft and military satellites.

The deployed assets helped improve coordination and harmony between the ground elements and air component.
Riaz Haq said…
#EU Proposes Strict Rules for Use Of #ArtificialIntelligence (#AI) in a range of activities, from self-driving cars to hiring decisions, bank lending, school enrollment selections and the scoring of exams. #Europe #Technology #Regulations #Ethics https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/16/business/artificial-intelligence-regulation.html?smid=tw-share


The regulations would have far-reaching implications for tech firms like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft, which have poured resources into developing the technology.

The European Union unveiled strict regulations on Wednesday to govern the use of artificial intelligence, a first-of-its-kind policy that outlines how companies and governments can use a technology seen as one of the most significant, but ethically fraught, scientific breakthroughs in recent memory.

The draft rules would set limits around the use of artificial intelligence in a range of activities, from self-driving cars to hiring decisions, bank lending, school enrollment selections and the scoring of exams. It would also cover the use of artificial intelligence by law enforcement and court systems — areas considered “high risk” because they could threaten people’s safety or fundamental rights.

Some uses would be banned altogether, including live facial recognition in public spaces, though there would be several exemptions for national security and other purposes.

The 108-page policy is an attempt to regulate an emerging technology before it becomes mainstream. The rules have far-reaching implications for major technology companies that have poured resources into developing artificial intelligence, including Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft, but also scores of other companies that use the software to develop medicine, underwrite insurance policies and judge credit worthiness. Governments have used versions of the technology in criminal justice and the allocation of public services like income support.

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