By Sena Guler
Pakistan plans to procure 30 attack helicopters and four naval ships from Turkey, Pakistani Minister for Defense Production Rana Tanveer Hussain told Anadolu Agency.
Hussain was in capital Ankara during which he met top Turkish defense officials.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency Friday, Hussain praised bilateral ties and the long history of cooperation in the defense industry sector.
He revealed that Pakistan was interested in the T-129 ATAK helicopter, developed by the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and AgustaWestland; Turkish Armed Forces began using the choppers designed for attack and reconnaissance missions in May 2014.
“It is in the pipeline…We have intention to procure this helicopter for Pakistan army.”
He added the process to procure the aircraft was “90 percent complete”, adding that proposals had been analyzed and financial aspects were being considered.
“There is another project: the MILGEM [Turkey’s national warship] naval ship. The process is completed and construction of the ship will start in near future.
“Technical and financial proposal will be going to open in Pakistan on Monday. So, this project is almost complete.”
Pakistani jets for Turkey
Hussain also said four ships would be built under the project, two of them in Turkey while two more in Pakistan’s Karachi province.
About Turkey’s procurement of the single-propeller Super Mushshak trainer aircraft from Pakistan, the minister said: “Turkey is procuring 52 Super Mushshak trainer aircraft from Pakistan. This is [a] very good training aircraft for basic training of pilots.
“This aircraft is very popular in other countries of the world. Many countries [are] using this aircraft, and we are exporting.”
He said Turkey was also considering Pakistani produced JF-17 fighter aircraft.
“They are considering this aircraft, because they know in detail about this aircraft. In future, let’s hope [for the procurement].”
About Pakistan’s fight against terrorism, he said Pakistan is at the frontline of the fight against “this menace”.
“Our armed forces have two operations. We have started [anti-terror] Zar-e-Azb operation three years back. Now, we started another operation Radd-ul-Fasaad,” the minister said.
Pakistan's anti-terror fight
The Zar-e-Azb operation was launched on June 15, 2014, in North Waziristan along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border as a renewed effort against militancy in the wake of an airport attack in Karachi, which killed 28 people and wounded 18 others.
The operation was followed by Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad which began in February 2017, following a resurgence in terrorist incidents.
“I want to tell you that before our government, almost 1,500 [terror] incidents took place during one year. But now, it has almost come [down] to 30-40 annually…”
Hussain also added Pakistan remains proud of its performance in the fight against terrorism.
“In this location, if [there is] any other country, I think they couldn’t do what Pakistan have done in this menace.”
About the impact of presence of Daesh and Taliban in Afghanistan, the minister said when Afghanistan pushes against these armed groups, “they come to Pakistan. And then, we face this problem [terrorism].”
Hussain added Pakistan wants Afghanistan to be a peaceful country.