Defence Updates- Pakistan/ Stealth Fighter Jet Program
Project ‘Azm’ includes the design and development of multiple innovative aviation projects, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and the development of an indigenous fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA).
Pakistan Air Force showcased the conceptual design of its future stealth aircraft on the tail of the PAF C-130 at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) 2019. As per the yearbook of the Pakistan Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) for the year 2017-2018, the Aviation Research, Innovation and Development (AvRID) Secretariat has finalized the first of the four conceptual design stage cycles for the development of the Pakistan Air Force’s Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) program.
Project Azm was formally initiated by the PAF back in July 2017, and its agenda is to develop an FGFA, new munitions, a medium-altitude, and long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and multiple other projects. However, the Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) is the highlight of the much-anticipated Project Azm, which outlines the PAF’s ambition for developing a state of the art aviation industrial base within the country. This aviation industrial complex will support the defense capabilities of the country, alongside fulfilling civilian and commercial aviation needs.
According to the MoDP’s 2017-2018 yearbook, the scheduled deadline for the first flight of the MALE UAV was June 2019. The yearbooks of the MoDP are intended to reveal projects that are completed during a period of 12-18 months before the publication, which indicates that the MALE UAV has either flown or has been delayed, while the FGFA is well into the design phase of the project. The Pakistan’s 5th generation fighter jet, is expected to be twin-engine single-seater, high performance fighter jet, boasting the likes of super-cruise and laser weapons (directed energy weapons). The new design configuration also reveals that the PAF intends to design a fighter aircraft that is equipped to carry heavier payloads and boosts a greater range than the JF-17.
Analysts believe that the PAF intends to design a platform that is optimized for offensive counter-air (OCA), maritime, and deep-strike platforms. Defence analyst Shahid Raza observed, “If my calculations are correct, the aircraft we’ll see being developed under Project Azm 2030 will be a clean sheet design, built around a SINGLE advanced derivative of the WS-15 class engine. It’ll have low observable characteristics and PAF defined specifications.”
Besides Project AZM of Pakistan Air Force, Project Hangor is being led by Pakistan Navy to acquire and build 8X Hangor Class Submarines. While, Project Haider is led by Pakistan Army to develop & build a 4th gen Tank.
Further story on the rapid indigenization of Pakistan’s Military is at: