The smaller of the two drones, Uqab, is described by Pakistani defense contractor Global Industrial Defence Solution (GIDS) as a “tactical UAV system which can be used for battlefield damage assessment, aerial reconnaissance, artillery fire correction, search and rescue, route monitoring, flood relief operations” and so on. Uqab has a range of 150 kilometers and an endurance of six hours. A twin-tailed design with a single push turboprop engine, Uqab is capable of speeds of up to 120 to 150 kilometers an hour. Navigating by GPS, Uqab has both a full color real-time camera and a thermal imager camera.
The Shahpar drone, also made by GIDS, is slightly larger and faster, about 15% bigger and capable of speeds up to 150 kilometers per hour. Some effort has been put into reducing the Shahpar’s radar signature, although with a large push propeller attached to the rear of the drone that may be a forlorn hope. Endurance is increased to 7 hours, and the data link can transmit real-time video up to 250 kilometers. Shahpar is capable of autonomous takeoff, flying and landing, utilizing GPS.
India would fear the Shahpar and Uqab drones because they are the ideal complement to small armed groups—whether Pakistani Rangers or Laskhar-e-Taiba—sent to stir up trouble at a border outpost or in a large city. Drone surveillance could be used to reconnoiter objectives, screen flanks and provide security, and provide real-time intelligence. The Shahpar, capable of carrying payloads of up to 50 kilograms, could likely even be used to covertly deliver cargo.
This article was first published in 2016.