The Senate Standing Committee on Defence Production was briefed in detail about the progress of Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT), business development plans, and details of research projects.
Chairman Committee, Senator Lt. General Abdul Qayyum HI (M) Retd took strong notice of the Basic Exchange Cooperation Agreement (BECA), between Washington (US) and New Delhi (India) that was signed recently in India. BECA will allow India and US to share geospatial information, enable interoperability of forces, and acquisition of armed drones.
It was asserted that even though this measure has been portrayed as a deterrent for China; Pakistan and the rest of South Asia stand to lose. Committee Chairman was also of the view that this agreement will play an important role in realizing the Indian ambition of becoming the regional hegemon and will destabilize the strategic regional equilibrium; with severe consequences for Pakistan. A resolution was passed unanimously in this regard.
While being briefed on the work and progress of the Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT), the Committee was informed that the aim of this enterprise is to manufacture, rebuild, upgrade and carryout R&D of armored vehicles. HIT can vastly be categorized into three sections that include manufacturing factories, rebuild plants and support facilities.
Manufacturing units involve tank and gun manufacturing facilities and Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) production. The Tank manufacturing facility has numerous 3rd generation auto-tracking tanks to its credit. It has successfully manufactured Tank Al-Khalid, T85IIAP and T69IIMP.
The Committee was informed that VT-4 tanks, with enhanced night combat capabilities, will be inducted soon. HIT’s APC facility manufactures M113 Family of Armoured Personnel Carriers using state of the art Computer-Aided Design (CAD).
The Gun Manufacturing Factory produces tank barrels and complete tank guns. Upgrade of manufacturing facilities for Artillery Gun Barrels is in the process as well. Rebuild Plants include Heavy Rebuild Factories designed to modernize and upgrade tanks and Armoured Recovery Vehicles.
Track Vehicles and Armoured Personnel Carriers fall under this ambit as well. The Advance System Rebuild Factory supports the tank rebuild mission of HIT and carries out Research and Development in the field of fire control systems, optronics and thermal imaging.
Electronics and electric subsystems are included. Support facilities at HIT involve the development of engineering support and component manufacturing; this, it was asserted, is the backbone engineering facility that has been engaged for indigenous development as well.
In addition to the development and production sector; HIT has been involved in research and development activities. The Advance Research, Development and Information Centre carries out integration of advanced armor systems and has the capability to support research and development efforts. It also maintains a data bank for information.
Discussing HIT’s Commercial and Business plans, the Committee was informed that since its inception, HIT has contributed to various commercial activities. During the last five years, HIT has deposited a sum of PKR 1.18 billion on account of sales, proportionate costs and taxes to the government exchequer.
In addition to this, savings accrued by HIT through the sale of commercial products to law enforcement agencies of Pakistan amounts to PKR 9.21 billion. The Committee was informed that the facility is in the process of devising a costing mechanism to enhance man-machine hours to improve productivity. A commercial company, Margalla Heavy Industries Ltd, has been registered with SECP in September 2020, and will presumably begin operations in November 2020.
Committee Chairman, while lauding the enthusiasm of HIT, said that the Organization had great potential for growth. He, however, was of the opinion that HIT must step up efforts to spread forth its activities beyond borders and move towards international horizons. He said that this would benefit the country greatly thereby subsidizing the Defence Budget; essential for the growth of underdeveloped sectors in Pakistan.
He further stressed the need for taking marketing professionals onboard to seize international markets so that this goal is achieved within a stipulated time. To avoid duplication of efforts and enhance research abilities, he asserted the importance of knowledge sharing amongst similar organizations and market players.
While procuring goods and services from abroad, the Committee asserted the need to explore local markets, including the private sector in Pakistan.
The meeting was chaired by Senator Lt. General Abdul Qayyum HI (M) Retd, and was attended by Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak, Senator Muhammad Akram, Senator Anwar Lal Dean, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Senator Abdul Ghafoor Haideri and senior officers of the Ministry of Defence Production along with other officials concerned.