Islamabad: The Pakistan Navy has inducted its first squadron of indigenously made unmanned aerial vehicles that will be used for maritime interdiction operations in coastal areas.
The UAVs were inducted into the naval fleet during a ceremony held at the PNS Mehran airbase in Karachi yesterday.
The Uqab-II drones are equipped with sensors and their induction will enhance operational capabilities in surveillance activities, a spokesman said.
Navy Chief Admiral Noman Bashir, who was the chief guest during the induction ceremony, said: "Cognisant of heightened surveillance measures at all times, the induction of Uqab-II UAVs will provide essential experience to Pakistan Navy and necessary impetus to utilise this particular segment of warfare to the best use of naval objectives."
Because of their small size, ease of operation and low risk of loss, UAVs are regarded as force multipliers and are increasingly being used by combat forces worldwide, he said.
The drones were inducted a day after a UAV of the Pakistan Navy crashed into the National Refinery in Karachi after hitting a bird.
There was no casualty or damage to property on the ground.
The Uqab-II UAVs are equipped with GPS-based navigation system and have a maximum speed of 150 miles an hour.
They have a range of 150 km and an endurance of four hours. The UAVs have a ceiling of 10,000 feet from ground level.
Naval officials told the media that the induction of the UAVs is part of the Navy`s efforts to beef up its defence in creeks, along the border and other coastal areas.
The Pakistan Navy has sought budgetary allocations for providing more tactical equipment like UAVs, night vision devices and high speed boats, they said.
The Navy had sought UAVs for tracking fishermen on the Makran Coast and for night patrolling in the creek area.
The government is considering a proposal to equip the police with UAVs to monitor urban violence in different parts of Pakistan.