Pakistan’s military on Monday said it had for the first time deployed a locally manufactured drone which killed three Islamist insurgents in its restive northwest, in what one analyst termed a ‘significant development’ for the country’s defence capabilities.
Pakistan announced the successful test flight of the ‘Burraq’ drone, which is capable of firing laser-guided missiles, in March, joining a handful of other countries in possessing the technology.
“1st ever use of Pak(istan) made Burraq Drone today. Hit a terrorist compound in Shawal Valley killing 3 high profile terrorists,” Pakistani military spokesman Major General Asim Bajwa said on Twitter.
The Shawal valley, situated in the lawless North Waziristan tribal district that borders Afghanistan, has seen some of the fiercest fighting between Pakistani forces and the Taliban since the launch of a massive military operation there last June.
So far, the United States, Israel, Great Britain and Pakistan have used armed drones in combat, according to a report by the New America Foundation, though several other countries are developing their own programmes including Pakistan’s arch-rival India.
Pakistan’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) ‘bear resemblance to Chinese armed Rainbow CH-3 drones’, according to the report.
Shaukat Qadir, a retired brigadier-turned-analyst, said: “It’s a significant development. We have been hearing about the development of this weapon system for quite some time. It had been tested successfully and now it had been put in to use and it has found its target and hit it.”