Islamabad: The Pakistan Army is moving
closer to inducting Predator drones with the manufacturers of
the unmanned aerial vehicles getting approval for selling them
to countries other than the US and its close allies, a media
report claimed on Monday.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, the US-based
company that makes the Predators, told The Express Tribune
that it has approval to sell an "export-approved version" of
the UAV that it plans to sell for the first time to countries
outside the US, NATO members, Japan, Australia and New
Earlier, GAAS president Frank Pace was quoted as
saying during the recent Farnborough Air Show that his firm
sees the "potential for sales of as many as 100 units in the
Middle East and Pakistan of the so-called Predator XP model
approved for export".
Asked to elaborate on the statement, GAAS spokesperson
Kimberly A Kasitz said: "It is true that various Middle
Eastern countries have expressed interest in an export-
approved version of Predator A and that we have received
licences to begin discussions with several of these countries
about a potential sale."
Kasitz said the company has applied for a licence with
the US State Department to begin negotiations for such a sale
with Pakistan too.
She added that this licence is still pending and the
firm has "not yet received a licence" as of now.
Local drone manufacturers in Pakistan, who wished to
stay anonymous, told the newspaper that the development was
"The admission of seeking a licence only goes to show
that our armed forces have sent their specifications to the
company," said one insider who had sold his UAVs to many
foreign countries, including the US.
"When one applies for a licence from the State
Department, it`s not just a request asking for permission to
talk to a certain customer. Companies only seek a licence when
they get a complete list of their customer`s requirements," he
It is only a matter of time before Pakistan will spend
millions of dollars on the product, he claimed.
However, another industry insider from Islamabad said,
"GAAS was pursuing this with the US government for more than a
year now and seems like they may have been given the nod.
However, the first buyers are likely to be the UAE and
Saudi Arabia. Pakistan`s turn will come much later."