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The Pakistan Military Wants Cybersecurity Help From Turkey

November 28, 2018

In a press release shared with 21st Century Asian Arms Race (21AAR), the Turkish military industries contractor STM signed an agreement with Pakistan’s Air University for “special training and internship programs in cybersecurity and IT.” This is just the latest collaboration between the two countries, former allies of the defunct CENTO bloc, whose depth and scale is growing each year. The announcement for the “Document of Understanding (DoU)” came on the first day of IDEAS 2018, the largest arms show in Pakistan.

The 10th installment of IDEAS is taking place at the Karachi Expo Center from November 27 until 30. 21st Century Asian Arms Race (21AAR) is a media partner for the event.

The involvement of STM, an organization specializing in high tech equipment for the Turkish military, with the prestigious Air University isn’t as mundane as it appears, however. Air University is responsible for cultivating the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) leadership and is an R&D hub as well. The DoU with STM did lay the groundwork for establishing a National Center for Cyber Security (NCCS) whose role seems to be enhancing the military’s grasp of controlling and exploiting the internet. While there’s a scholarly aspect to the agreement, meaning conferences and workshops, the parties involved did announce their goal “to increase the cybersecurity capabilities of the friendly country Pakistan.”

Via STM and SCC PR.

The extent of military and strategic cooperation between Pakistan and Turkey tends to slide under everyone’s radar. As Washington, DC and Islamabad drift farther apart, steadfast neighbors are closing in to fill up the resulting vacuum. China’s dependable patronage of its loyal client is given too much attention, unfortunately. Pakistan’s government and defense ministry have other partners they can reach out to when the need arises. It’s no wonder Turkish companies enjoy their own pavilion at IDEAS 2018 where they can display so much equipment suited for Pakistan’s military. The two countries are already in the middle of four major arms deals for conventional weapons, including attack helicopters and naval corvettes. These will no doubt be followed by more transactions after this year’s show.

Another prominent exhibitor from Turkey in Karachi this week is its aerospace giant. The Turkish Aerospace Industries Corporation (TAI) are displaying their four export ready airframes at IDEAS 2018. These are the T129 gunship, its locally designed propeller driven trainer, the Anka MALE UAV, and the new multirole medium helicopter the T625. The last one is a recent effort by TAI that was first shown at exhibitions in 2017. While it resembles similar models from Airbus and Leonardo, the T625 is a genuine Turkish helicopter assembled with the help of several foreign subcontractors.

To date, the T625 is presented as a passenger-centric commercial transport. Its true designation, however, is a “multirole” platform whose future roles span emergency evacuation, logistics, and search and rescue missions in various geographies. It isn’t a stretch imagining the T625 converted to military use and positioned for export abroad. The rotorcraft of Pakistan’s military are in poor shape, anyway, with the present collection of French, Russian, and US helicopters showing their age.

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