KARACHI: Visitors to IDEAS 2022 view the Hamza 6×6 multi-role combat vehicle at the pavilion of Cavalier Group, a private-sector arms manufacturer based in Islamabad, on Wednesday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
KARACHI: Made-in-Pakistan weapons are so effective that they determine the outcome of war.
According to one private-sector arms manufacturer present at the 11th International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) 2022, his company’s 40mm single-shot grenade launchers played a “key role” in helping Sri Lanka win its war against the Tamil Tigers in the late 2000s.
“Their chief of army staff called our CEO to thank him personally,” Daudsons Armoury Ltd General Manager Irfan Ahmed told Dawn on Wednesday.
He said about 30 per cent of the company’s total revenue comes from export channels while the rest originates from the domestic market, which consists of the armed forces, law enforcement agencies and private citizens.
Most exhibitors that Dawn spoke to were reluctant to go into specifics with regard to the size of their operations, pricing and clientele given the secretive nature of the arms business. But many of them happily stated that foreign business has been flourishing for the last many years.
“We export weapons mainly to the Middle Eastern countries. I can say confidently that Pakistani businesses are growing their share in the global arms market.
That’s because our quality is a lot better than that of arms manufacturers from other, comparable nations,” he said.
According to trade data compiled by the International Trade Centre (ITC), Pakistan exported arms and ammunition worth $3.8 million in 2021. In contrast, imports amounted to $30.1m in the same year. These figures appear understated as the original source of the ITC data is the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
Daudsons Armoury makes aircraft bombs weighing from 250 pounds to 2,000 pounds for the Pakistan Air Force and also sells the same to foreign governments. The state-owned ordnance producer has a monopoly over the explosive substance that goes inside a bomb. Daudsons Armoury produces the body of a bomb — a highly precise job in which even a minute inaccuracy can change the projectile’s centre of gravity and lead to a missed strike.
Official data shows the top export destination was the United Arab Emirates, which bought Pakistani arms and ammunition worth $1.9m in 2021. It was followed by France ($1.5m) and the United States ($165,000).
Another exhibitor, Cavalier Group, told Dawn that made-in-Pakistan weapons have a huge export potential given the changing nature of international warfare. “We make superior-quality multi-role combat vehicles, body armour, bullet-proof jackets and unnamed armoured vehicles (UAVs),” said Isphandyar Tajammal Awan, a group director.Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2022