The US has offered technology for 85 mini ‘Raven’ drones to Pakistan, but local manufacturers say they can build an equally potent, if not a more powerful version, at just a fifth of the price quoted by Americans, an Islamabad media report said Monday. At least 11 corps of the Pakistan Army are set to receive a system each, comprising Raven aircraft and one ground station, the Express Tribune newspaper quoting its sources within the military and local drone manufacturing industry.
While officials are tight-lipped about the exact cost and model of the short-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) manufactured by the US-based AeroVironment Inc, the cost of each system is estimated to be between USD 200,000 and USD 275,000, the daily said. Pakistan Army spokesperson Major General Athar Abbas however says the deal has not been formalised yet. “We are yet to receive a formal proposal from the US regarding the Raven drone. So until we receive that I won’t be able to give a comment,” the daily quoted him as saying. Meanwhile, Pakistan Army, which had been pushing for an armed drone from the US, is reportedly irked that not only have their pleas for a Predator-like drone have been shot down.