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The NESCOM Burraq (Urdu: بُراق‎) is an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) developed and built by the National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM), a civil scientific research and development organization of Pakistan, along with the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).[1]

Role Remote piloted aircraft, UAV/UAS, and as UCAV
Manufacturer NESCOM
First flight 9 May 2009
Introduction 2013
Status In service
Primary users Pakistan Air Force
Pakistan Army
Produced 2009-Present

Primarily used by the PAF, it has also been used by the Pakistan Army (PA) in its counter-insurgency operations in north-west Pakistan. The Burraq carries various imagery and motion sensors, and is equipped with a laser guided air-to-surface missile named "Barq".[2]

Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the public relations department of the Pakistan Armed Forces, described the system as a "force multiplier."[3] After a successful demonstration of its ability to fire missiles at both stationary and moving targets, Pakistan became the fifth country in the World to successfully develop an unmanned combat aerial vehicle.[4]

On 7 September 2015, the Burraq was used for the first time in a live military operation when it was used to fire on a terrorist compound in the Shawal valley in the Pakistani tribal areas, eliminating three high-profile targets, according to the Director General of the ISPR, Major General [General Asim Saleem Bajwa].[5] Pakistan became the fourth military after Israel, the US and the UK to use an armed drone in active combat.[6]



Since 2004, the United States (US) has been conducting controversial strikes with its own UCAV systems in Pakistan's north-west territories, that target suspected militants in the region.[7] For years, Pakistan had been pushing the US to allow it to acquire the MQ-1 Predator, the main UCAV system the US uses in the strikes, but such requests were denied amid fear of technology proliferation.[8] Burraq development is thought to have primarily begun in 2009, with the contract being awarded to NESCOM in close coordination with the Pakistan Air Force.[1]

Growing frustration over the US refusal and politicization of the US UCAV strikes in the country, the Burraq program is thought to have picked up its speed in secrecy.[9] In 2012, China offered to help by selling Pakistan armed drones it had developed, but questions were raised about the capabilities of the drones.[9] The first few models of the Burraq were only capable of surveillance and intelligence gathering, and lacked any offensive combat capability. Some of these early models were used by the Pakistani military to track down militants. The first combat capable version of the Burraq was first publicly demonstrated in March 2015.[8]

The Burraq is thought to be mostly influenced by the US Predator and the Chinese CASC Rainbow CH-3.

About the Burraq program, Popular Science noted: "with the Burraq, Pakistan can now do drone strikes on their own, without the United States."[10]

Origin of nameEdit

The name, Burraq, comes from the legendary creature mentioned in interpretations of Surah Al Isra in the Qur'an.[11] According to Islamic traditions, Buraq is a steed, described as a creature from the heavens which carried Muhammad from Makkah to Al-Aqsa Mosque and then to the heavens, and back to Makkah during Mi'raj (lit. "Night Journey"), which is the title of Surah Al Isra, one of the chapters in the Qur'an.[12]

Operational historyEdit

Before the Burraq was publicly unveiled for the first time, the Pakistani military reportedly conducted several strikes using the UCAV, as part of the Khyber-1 military operations in the Tirah Valley.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Pakistan Army, Air Force equipped with drones 'Burraq', 'Shahpar". Daily Motion. Retrieved 14 March 2015. External link in |website= (help)
  2. ^ News Agencies (13 March 2015). "Feather in the cap: Pakistan successfully tests armed drone". Islamabad, Pakistan: Express Tribune, 2015. Express Tribune. Archived from the original on 13 March 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  3. ^ Hardy, James; Bokhari, Farhan (12 March 2015). "Pakistan successfully fires missile from indigenous UAV". Washington DC: IHS Janes. Retrieved 14 March 2015. External link in |website= (help)
  4. ^ ISPR Works. "Pak successfully test fires own indigenous developed armed". ISPR. Retrieved 14 March 2015. External link in |website= (help)
  5. ^ Major General Asin Bajwa [@Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa] (7 September 2015). General Asim Saleem Bajwa/status/640768331918610432 "1st ever use of Pak made Burraq Drone today. Hit a terrorist compound in Shawal Valley killing 3 high profile terrorists.Details follow" Check |url= value (help) (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Atherton, Kelsey D. (March 2013). "Who Are The Casualties Of America's Drone Strikes? [Infographic]". PopScience. Retrieved 15 March 2015. External link in |website= (help)
  8. ^ a b Bokhari, Farhan. "Pakistan to deploy its own UAVs over FATA". Janes, 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  9. ^ a b CBS News (17 November 2012). "Pakistan racing to develop armed drones, officials say". CBS, Pakistan. CBS, Pakistan. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  10. ^ Staff work. "Burraq & Shahpar Pakistani Drones to Air Force & Pak Army". Current Affairs. Retrieved 14 March 2015. External link in |website= (help)
  11. ^ News desk (12 March 2015). "Pakistan's first missile-armed drone hits bull's eye". Samma TV. Samma TV. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  12. ^ Baghwan, Jamshed (26 March 2015). "Drone war: 'Burraq' turned the tide in Tirah battle, say officials". Express Tribune, 2015 Jamshed. Express Tribune. Retrieved 26 March 2015.

External linksEdit