The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has formally announced it will commence development of a 5th-generation fighter, medium altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and munitions under the banner of “Project Azm” (i.e. resolve or determination).
In his speech for inaugurating the Kamra Aviation City initiative, the PAF Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Sohail Aman outlined the program objectives of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), the newly established Aviation Design Institute (AvDI) and Air University’s Aerospace and Aviation Campus.
“Our engineering and operational staff have indigenized few core capabilities which are truly high-tech … [the] initiative of Project Azam was thus encouraged, which is the designing of the 5th-generation fighter aircraft, [MALE] UAVs – which are [in the] final stages of design, development of advanced weapons – few of them already produced – and other key projects…”
Air University Aerospace and Aviation Campus Kamra is an expansion campus of Air University Islamabad, which was founded in 2002. ACM Sohail Aman stated 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.”
In its 2015-2016 yearbook, Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) states that AvDI was formed “to spearhead design and development activity … [with its] working model [hinged] on leveraging existing National Human Resource and facilities (sic).” The MoDP adds that AvDI will manage the design of “state of the art next generation (sic) aerospace vehicles.”
ACM Aman added that the Aviation City initiative will provide valuable economic opportunities for local industry entities, and in turn, support the growth and value of Pakistan’s aviation industry.
ACM Aman’s recent statements follow his earlier commitments to localizing the PAF’s supply channel – at least in terms of its 5th-generation fighter – by assigning a significant amount of the design, development and production work of the 5th-generation domestic sources.