The state-owned Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), in Kamra, northern Pakistan, is looking at counter-insurgency (COIN) roles for the Super Mushshak training aircraft, a popular defence and security intelligence and analysis website reported.
The move comes after the company successfully integrated a new glass cockpit into the aircraft and sold units of the basic trainer to Nigeria (10 units), Qatar (8), and Turkey (52) over the past year.
The company is now adding intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities by fitting the aircraft with electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensor turrets, with one Super Mushshak already equipped with an L3 Wescam MX-10.
PAC Chairman Air Marshal Arshad Malik told the site, “We have had several customers enquiring about integrating an ISR system; so we are looking at options.
“While sitting in the cockpit’s right seat, the turret operator would control the camera and watch the video feed on the glass screen. At the same time, the imagery could be downlinked to the battle commander on the ground. It’s a very simple system,” the air marshal added.
The second initiative is to arm the Super Mushshak. After initial aerodynamic and structural analysis, one Chinese-built 25 kg FT-10 precision-guided bomb (PGB) was mounted under each wing of one of the aircraft on 29 April.
Complete integration of the weapons is expected to take another three to four months, which will also cover the design and manufacture of the pylons, quality checks, flight test, and eventually a test drop.
The PAC chairman pointed out that to ease the pilot’s workload, “PAC is in the process of incorporating servos for the autopilot, too”. The newly designed system would assist the pilot in controlling the aircraft should there be any aerodynamic instability after dropping one or both bombs.
An expert at the PAC Kamra’s design, technology, and integration department admitted that it would take some time to verify and physically validate the findings of the aerodynamic analysis.
Complete Integration will take another three to four months, which includes flight tests and drop tests.
The Super Mushshak is an advanced variant of the Mushshak basic trainer.
The aircraft is already in service with Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran and South Africa. Nigeria bought the aircraft in early 2016 while Qatar bought the trainers in June 2016. The latest buyer of 52 Mushshak planes is Turkey.
Basic flight training is provided on the aircraft for aspiring pilots.
The aircraft has a service ceiling of 22,000 feet, and a maximum speed of 268km/h. The range of the aircraft is reported at 814 kilometres.