|Role||Remote piloted aircraft, UAV/UAS, secondary role as UCAV|
|First flight||9 May 2009|
|Primary user||Pakistan Army|
The NESCOM Burraq is an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) developed and built by the National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM), a civil scientific research and development organization of Pakistan, along with the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).
Primarily used by the PAF, it has also been used by the Pakistani Army (PA) in its counter-insurgency operations in north-west Pakistan. The Burraq carries different imagery and motion sensors, and is equipped with a laser guided air-to-surface missile named "Barq".
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the public relations department of the Pakistan Armed Forces, described the system as a "force multiplier". The Burraq is also claimed to be "all-weather" capable and have "pinpoint accuracy."
After a successful demonstration of its ability to fire missiles at both stationary and moving targets, Pakistan became the ninth country in the World to successfully develop an unmanned combat aerial vehicle.
Since 2004, the United States (US) has been conducting controversial strikes with its own UCAV systems in Pakistan's north-west territories, that target suspected militants in the region. For years, Pakistan had been pushing the US to allow it to acquire the MQ-1 Predator, the main UCAV system the US uses in the strikes, but such requests were denied amid fear of technology proliferation. Burraq development is though to have primarily begun in 2009, with the contract being awarded to NESCOM in close coordination with the Pakistan Air Force.
Growing frustration over the US refusal and politicization of the US UCAV strikes in the country, the Burraq program is thought to have picked up its speed in secrecy. In 2012, China offered to help by selling Pakistan armed drones it had developed, but questions were raised about the capabilities of the drones. The first few models of the Burraq were only capable of surveillance and intelligence gathering, and lacked any offensive combat capability. Some of these early models were used by the Pakistani military to track down militants. The first combat capable version of the Burraq was first publicly demonstrated in March 2015.
The Burraq is thought to be mostly influenced by the US Predator and the Chinese CASC Rainbow CH-3.
About the Burraq program, Popular Science noted: "with the Burraq, Pakistan can now do drone strikes on their own, without the United States." However Jane's claims that the origin of the UAV and missile is questionable.
Origin of name
The name, Burraq, comes from the legendary creature mentioned in al-Isra, (sura) in the Qur'an. According to Islamic mythology, Buraq is a steed, described as a creature from the heavens which carried Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem, and back during the Isra and Mi'raj (lit. "Night Journey"), which is the title of one of the chapters al-Isra, (sura) in the Qur'an.
Use in military operations
Before the Burraq was publicly unveiled for the first time, the Pakistani military reportedly conducted several strikes using the UCAV, as part of Operation Khyber-1 military operations in the Tirah Valley.
- Related development
- "Pakistan Army, Air Force equipped with drones 'Burraq', 'Shahpar". http://www.dailymotion.com/. Daily Motion. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- News Agencies (13 March 2015). "Feather in the cap: Pakistan successfully tests armed drone". Islamabad, Pakistan: Express Tribune, 2015. Express Tribune. Archived from the original on 13 March 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- Hardy, James; Bokhari, Farhan (12 March 2015). "Pakistan successfully fires missile from indigenous UAV". http://www.janes.com/. Washington DC: IHS Janes. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- ISPR Works. "Pak successfully test fires own indigenous developed armed". https://www.ispr.gov.pk/. ISPR. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- Atherton, Kelsey D. (March 2013). "Who Are The Casualties Of America's Drone Strikes? [Infographic]". http://www.popsci.com/. PopScience. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- Bokhari, Farhan. "Pakistan to deploy its own UAVs over FATA". Janes, 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- CBS News (17 November 2012). "Pakistan racing to develop armed drones, officials say". CBS, Pakistan. CBS, Pakistan. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- Atherton, Kelsey D. (13 March 2015). "Pakistan's Armed Drone Successfully Test Fires A Laser-Guided Missile: New Drones, same old Drone war". http://www.popsci.com/. Popular Science. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- Staff work. "Burraq & Shahpar Pakistani Drones to Air Force & Pak Army". http://www.currentaffairspk.com/. Current Affairs. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- News desk (12 March 2015). "Pakistan’s first missile-armed drone hits bull's eye". Samma TV. Samma TV. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- Baghwan, Jamshed (26 March 2015). "Drone war: ‘Burraq’ turned the tide in Tirah battle, say officials". Express Tribune, 2015 Jamshed. Express Tribune. Retrieved 26 March 2015.