When it became apparent to Pakistani authorities that American Predator drones would not be forthcoming through nation-to-nation sale, and Chinese offerings fell short of expected battlefield capabilities, local industry partnered with the Pakistani Air Force to deliver its first indigenous Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) in the NESCOM "Burraq". Development began around 2009 with a first flight held on May 9th of that year. Production followed a short time later and the Burraq has since been used in combat against militants in the countries northwest. A finalized form was showcased in a 2015 presentation.
The success of the armed Predator system of the United States across northwest Pakistan pushed the Pakistani government to inquire about procuring the proven platform. However, citing technology concerns, the United States government rebuffed overtures which forced a look into Chinese alternatives. After review, these were found lacking in the perceived capabilities required of the Pakistani military which led the National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM) to assist the Pakistani Air Force in development of a local solution - set to utilize the strengths of the American Predator along with the familiarity of the Chinese CH-3 "Rainbow" series. The resulting design became the Burraq - named after the heavenly horse used to carry Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem.
In its original form, the Burraq lacked any armed capability and was solely used in the Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) role to collect data on possible targets. In time, the product grew in both tactical value and over-battlefield capabilities, earning it an armed role. Since its inception, the Burraq has been operationally fielded in strike sorties against suspected militants helping to further distance the country from its reliance on American drone strikes on Pakistani soil and purchase of Chinese war-making goods.
The Burraq reportedly carries a single "Barq" air-to-surface laser-guided missile for its sorties (similar in mission scope to the American "Hellfire"). A conventional engine is featured for propulsion and this drives a three-bladed propeller arranged in a "pusher" configuration. A fixed, wheeled tricycle undercarriage is featured for take-off and landing via prepared runway. A well-streamlined, aerodynamically efficient fuselage houses the engine, fuel stores and avionics fit. The optics set is showcased in a ventral blister nearing midships.
The Burraq marks the first indigenous UCAV for the nation of Pakistan.
Status Active, In-Service
Production 45 Units
National Engineerings and Scientific Commission (NESCOM) - Pakistan
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