LUNA takes off in the field: It is a Toy, say experts
The General in a Hurry
Now Buying German Spy Planes for Millions
M T Butt
August 24: After failing to push through a dubious $85 million
deal for night vision equipment for tanks from a French company
in late June, as the deal was exposed in time by the South
Asia Tribune, the same ambitious top Pakistan Army General
is now bull-dozing another $27 million deal to rush purchase German
surveillance spy aircraft, bypassing all Army rules and regulations.
again, patriotic but angry, officers of the Army in the General
Head Quarters in Rawalpindi are determined not to let him get
his way. Click
to See previous stories: Part-I | Musharraf's
Call saves $37M
have again released all the details of this new deal to the South
Asia Tribune, hoping that General Pervez Musharraf will again
intervene and stop this budding Admiral Mansurul Haq of the Pakistan
Army, as he did in the last case.
General in a hurry to purchase anything, no matter how rotten
or below standard or high priced, is the Chief of General Staff,
Lt. General Tariq Majeed whose last bid to buy French night vision
equipment from Thales was foiled at the last moment by a telephone
call from General Musharraf, saving the Army an extra $37 million.
Now his eyes are on German UAV
unmanned spy aircraft, LUNA, and he has ordered that at least
4 or 5 of these planes be purchased immediately for an amount
exceeding $27 million.
to details sent to the South Asia Tribune by GHQ officers
not happy with the deal, the hasty selection of the LUNA UAV system
has been done by the CGS in complete isolation without inviting
any competitive international bids from other prospective UAV
manufacturers in the world.
“This is a direct contravention
and violation of the government procurement rules and regulations,”
an Email received from the GHQ officers revealed.
The LUNA UAV system was also hurriedly
tested in Pakistan without extending any invitation to other prospective
international manufacturers by the W&E Directorate. The requirement
of comparative trials for such high end projects was completely
by-passed to select a 'preferred' but inferior UAV system which
was only dear and near to the heart of the CGS,” the Email
said. There are cheaper and better Tactical Military UAV systems
The angry officers believe the
CGS, Lt. Gen Tariq Majeed, is continuing to flaunt internal procedures
and processes and is acting like a civilian business owner in
the way he is taking vital operational decisions.
The scheduled purchase of LUNA,
the UAV manufactured by EMT of Germany, is generating anger and
frustration in the officers. They say LUNA UAV is a very small
model plane. It is primarily used for very close area monitoring
and does not even qualify to be a tactical military UAV system.
However, last year and all of
a sudden, CGS Gen. Tariq Majeed ordered his juniors to immediately
start evaluating and eventually purchase the system for Pakistan
“It is quite unprecedented
and against the normal code of ethics that a serving General categorically
orders to purchase a specific system without first having it go
through the standard laid-down procedures of merit, selection,
tests and trials,” an officer’s message said.
Almost simultaneously, as if he
had an intuition, the Operations Director of the seller company,
Target Consultations Services, Mr. Salim Khan, who represents
EMT of Germany in Pakistan, sent a brief proposal to W&E Directorate
in the General Head Quarters (GHQ) on August 23, 2004 (TCS Letter
The proposal was evaluated on
accelerated priority under orders of the CGS and was hurriedly
called in for test and trials.
Not surprisingly, during these
tests which were held in the last week of February 2005 at three
different locations in Pakistan, the Military Intelligence Directorate
raised serious concerns on the viability of the UAV as the type
of equipment it had used was being manufactured commercially off-the-shelf
and hence anyone with the same equipment could easily and literally
'hijack' the subject UAV system.
The MI Directorate, being the
user, opined in its written report: ''It is finally concluded
that incorporation of Commercial-off-the-Shelf (COTS) products
available to any customer may have serious implications on the
survivability of the UAV.”
The Technical Directorate of GHQ,
ITD Directorate, in collaboration with IE&I also pointed out
serious deficiencies in the subject UAV system compared with the
official and approved General Staff Requirement (GSR) of the GHQ
for Tactical UAV systems.
The ITD Directorate in its report
said that the subject UAV system had no ECM capabilities, was
open to enemy jamming and was unable to detect enemy objects from
the required flying height.
The ITD in its original report
recommended that the UAV should first incorporate all the missing
parameters and then it should be tested again in Pakistan to confirm
the changes before any decisions are taken.
Instead of following the established
Army rules and regulations and to reject the system because it
did not follow the official Staff Requirement, an impatient General
Majeed chose otherwise.
The angry officers revealed: “He
ordered to have the Tactical UAV GSR changed in order to accommodate
the shortcomings of the LUNA UAV system. Mysteriously, the ITD
Report’s original conclusions were also changed when the
report reached the office of ITD Director General, Major General
Bulldozing all the technical objections
and procedural elements, the CGS is now very keen to have an inferior
UAV system inducted into the Army which essentially no one but
the CGS wants.
The CGS has also instructed the
Military Operations and Military Intelligence Directorate to arrange
the funds for over US$27 million to buy 4 to 5 LUNA UAV Systems
in FY 2005-06 under the Army Future Development Program (AFDP)
Fund - 2019.
In an In-House Discussions (IHD)
meeting held at the GHQ on 27 July 2005, attended by the CGS and
all the concerned Director Generals, including the MI, MO and
ITD, the CGS surprised everyone by announcing the decision and
instructed the W&E Directorate to buy 4 LUNA UAV systems this
The irony is that in the same
meeting the CGS also emphasized that the ultimate reliance of
the Army should always remain on 'indigenously' developed UAVs.
To cover up his hasty purchase,
the CGS also instructed that 'after' the induction of the LUNA
UAV system he had ordered, all other (and better) UAV system induction
from the international market should be 'limited', perhaps to
keep out the competition in future for the long term contract
of his favorite system.
message received by the South Asia Tribune says: “This
has caused serious concern in the ranks of the GHQ and officers
who rightly think that rules are being played with in order to
buy a toy which will eventually be of no use for them as Pakistani
companies are developing much better UAV systems in Pakistan.”
“But for the sake of their
job, pay and pension they cannot defy the orders of the CGS. The
most amazing part of this story is the conduct unbecoming of the
CGS, Lt. Gen Tariq Majeed who is literally acting as the paid
and employed agent for the German company, EMT.”
“Army procurement procedures,
as have been laid down over many years of experience, are designed
for a reason to provide the best equipment at the best price to
Pakistan Defense forces, however, when people like the CGS come
along and exploit the procedures by virtue of their position they
severely damage the reputation of an otherwise high character
institution,” the officers maintain.
say Pakistan Army has its own indigenous UAV development program
for the last 8 years in which they are making three types of Tactical
UAV Systems. These UAVs include, Hud-Hud and two others manufactured
by Integrated Defense Services (ex-PMO).
One local private company SATUMA,
based in the Kahuta Triangle in Islamabad, is also manufacturing
UAV systems which are being used and deployed by the Pakistan
Air Force (PAF). All locally made UAV's are 60-70 per cent cheaper
than what is being doled out for this inferior system from Germany.
Some experts think in international
systems, LUNA is not even considered to be a military system and
is not used in the theater of war because of its inferior technology.
The international market is full of better UAV systems that are
more suited to military roles.
In its on-going evaluation, however,
the GHQ is also considering the French, American and a German
Tactical Military UAV systems although none of which have been
called for in-country trials. The French UAV system was shown
to the ex-VCGS and now Corps Commander Karachi, during an all
expense paid trip to France in June 2004.
The essence of a good deal is
''Comparative Trials'' and competition between various suppliers.
The spirit of competition and procedure dictates that in case
the Army needs to select a UAV it must invite at least three suppliers
and have a comparison test and trials in Pakistan. The equipment
which gives the best result during trials and also the best price
at the end of the day should be selected.
none of these aspects have been followed in the German case thereby
violating the laid procedures of procurement.