Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Malaysia, Pakistan to jointly manufacture UAV, satellites

Malaysia has welcomed Pakistan’s offer to jointly manufacture tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and satellites to boost our defence industry.

Revealing this, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that Pakistan had made an impression on him of its capability to manufacture the said items on a large scale, which could mutually benefit both nations.

“Pakistan was convincing in terms of producing long-range UAVs, along with other strategic assets and equipment .

“With such offers, Malaysia need not depend solely on a country for such expertise,” he told newsmen after receiving a courtesy call from Pakistan’s joint chiefs of staff chairman Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne at the former’s officer in Jalan Padang Tembak, today.

Zahid said Khalid had expressed greater defence cooperation with Malaysia in terms of other areas including exercises, training , education and exchange of officers.

Zahid added UAVs proved an effective eye-in-the-sky to thwart non-traditional threats like piracy , illegal trafficking of goods, people and drugs as well as illegal fishing, that could influence and shape maritime security .

Our enforcement agencies have in the last decade begun using UAVs, especially along the Sabah coastline to check on the infiltration of illegal immigrants, smuggling and other maritime border crimes.

These locally-made UAVs, which could endure up to 20 hours of operation and be controlled within a radius of 200km, had been tested by the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) during "Ops Pasir" in eastern Sabah.

Composite Technology Research Malaysia (CTRM) Sdn Bhd and Sapura has jointly designed and manufactured UAVs like the Aludra model, more than 15 of which have been sold to the Defence Ministry since 2007 for surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

Both companies also assisting the ministry to manage the network centric warfare centre in Tawau, Sabah.

The UAVs, which have an endurance of 20 hours and a radius of 200km, had proven their mettle during "Ops Pasir" to check on illeggal immigrants in eastern Sabah.

Malaysia had the past two decades launched a series of telecommunication and weather satellites.

These include the geostationary Malaysia East Asia Satellites - Measat-1, and -2 launched in 1996, and -3 in 2006 for television on communications. They were designed and manufactured by Boeing Satellite Systems.

Then came Malaysia’s first mircro-satellite -  Tiung SAT - that was launched in 2000. Nine years later, the high-resolution Malaysian Low Earth Orbit RazakSat was launched.

All these further led to our Angkasawan programme where Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Al Masrie Sheikh Mustapha became the first Malaysian in space on October 10, 2007 on a Russian Soyuz TMA-11.

On another note, Zahid said Khalid was supportive of Malaysia’s United Nations peacekeepers continuing their humanitarian and healthcare programmes in Afghanistan.

“We plan to move from our base in Bamyam to Kabut and join Pakistani troops to continue our mission,” he said.

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