Amateur research and illustrations by me. Feedback welcome. This does not form an exhaustive or authoritative text on the subject and is
Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent is primarily shouldered by Army Strategic Force Command (ASFC) although the Air Force (PAF) and Navy (PN) may develop
nuclear capabilities in the near future.
Key ranges, relative to Pakistani territory:
Hatf-1 Short Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM)
Range: 80km (110km Hatf-Ia), Payload: 500kg
The Hatf-1 (Deadly-1
) is a battlefield rocket in a similar class to the Soviet FROG. It is allegedly developed from the French Eridan rocket.
It was developed by Pakistan in the 1980s and was in service by 1990. The system may still be operational, but is unlikely to carry nuclear warheads.
Unusually for a ballistic missile the launch rail, which elevates to about 70degrees for launch, is mounted on a recycled WWII anti-aircraft gun
Hatf-II (first version) Short Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM)
Range: 280km, Payload: 500kg
The original Hatf-II project was simply a two-stage Hatf-I. The range was claimed to be more than tripled. Although the system was paraded, the
project appears to have been abandoned about the time Pakistan bought the more sophisticated M-11 type from China. A new “Hatf-II” missile is now
entering service and although it fulfills the same role, it is quite distinct.
M-11 Short Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM) (China: DF-11)
Range: 300km, Payload: 500kg
Although Pakistan had started development of the Hatf-I and Hatf-II during the 1980s the acquisition of foreign missile technology during the early
1990s was crucial to the future development of more capable missiles. The key technology transfer during this time was the purchase of M-11
short-range missiles which became operational by 1993 and are still in service. It is possible that China was reluctant to supply longer range
missiles due to the 300km limit agreed in the 1987 Missile Technology Control Regime. Although development of the M-11 had started in the 1970s it was
in 1992 still very modern, and it demonstrates the strength of Pakistan-Chinese relations because a) by exporting this technology China must have
known that they were providing Pakistan with the means to develop rockets that would one day range over their own cities and b) it entered service
with Pakistan years before it did with China’s own forces.
Ghaznavi Short Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM) (Hatf III)
Range: 290km, Payload: 500kg
The Hatf-III is essentially the locally built equivalent to the M-11, although the design is distinct. The missile is solid fuelled for enhanced
mobility/shoot and scoot. The final missile was handed over to the Pakistani military in 2007.
Abdali Short Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM) (Hatf II)[
Range: 200km, Payload: 500kg.
Years after abandoning the Hatf-II, the designation was recycled for a similar but more modern (and presumably more successful) design. The system is
probably a replacement for the increasingly obsolete Hatf-I.
Shaheen I Medium Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM)(Hatf IV)
Range: 750km, Payload: 750kg
The Shaheen-I represents Pakistan’s indigenous MRBM program, and can potentially strike Mumbai and New Delhi from Pakistani soil. It is almost
certainly nuclear capable. Being solid fuelled it is far harder to detect prior to launch than the SCUD or other liquid fuelled systems.
Ghauri Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM)(Hatf V)
Range: 1,500km (2,500km Hatf-Va), Payload: 700-1,200kg
Although the 750km range of the Shaheen-I was ample to assure nuclear deterrence against India, being able to threaten New Delhi, and even reach
Mumbai from the South Eastern tip of Pakistan, Pakistan wanted a longer ranged missile. The 1,500km (some source 1,400km) ranged Ghuari-I missile
could range over most of India from Pakistani territory. This was promptly followed up by an enhanced version capable of firing 2,500km.
The Ghauri family is essentially the North Korean NoDong type and represents the technological safeguard against the more advanced indigenous Shaheen
program. Having said that, the Ghauri appears to have got the spotlight relative to its more potent stable mate.
Shaheen II Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM)(Hatf VI)
Range: 2,500km, Payload: 1,000kg
Although the name implies a close relative of the Shaheen-I, the Shaheen-II is in fact quite different in almost every detail, though most noticeable
is the fact that it is much larger being divided into two stages. The fins are also completely different and the TEL is necessarily much longer.
The 2,500km range Shaheen-II is in my estimation the most potent ballistic missile in Pakistani service, being able much quicker to ready and fire
than the Ghauri because of its solid-fuel motor.
Babur Cruise Missile (Hatf VII)
Range: 700km, Payload: 300-500kg
Developed from technology acquired when several US Tomahawk cruise missile enroot to Taliban targets in Afghanistan crashed in Pakistan, the Babur
appears to be a very credible cruise missile.
The initial trials version was launched from a single rail trailer mounted launcher that elevated to nearly vertical for firing. This launcher was
also displayed at IDEAS06 defense exhibition with a dummy missile.
Although it is possible that this design is also used for some in-service units, the folding tail fins of the Bubar prove that it was always intended
for compact box or tube launch. The main in-service Bubar unit carries four missiles mounted on an off-road truck chassis similar to those used by
Pakistan’s ballistic missiles, although in this case the cab is similar to that of the Chinese M-11. Although it’s not yet clear whether the
missile will be fired vertically, I don’t think that is the case after looking at the launcher in more detail. The framework around the box
launchers appears to be for some form of hording.
Thunder (Ra’ad ) Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM)(Hatf-VIII)
Range: 350kg, Payload: 300-500kg (est)
The Ra’ad is significantly smaller than the Babur, at approximately 5.25m in length, making it much better suited to combat aircraft.
Although the Babur could be carried by aircraft it is too large for most in an operational setting. The Hatf-VIII is likely to be carried by
Mirage-III fighter bombers on the centerline hardpoint, but cold be carried by F-16s and potentially JF-17s in the future. It’s too large for the
PAF’s F-7s and A-5s. The Hatf-VIII is the PAF’s first serious long ranged standoff weapon, giving them reach over most of India, albeit under
resistance from Indian forces. It is not clear whether it will carry nuclear warheads – conventional seems more likely – but it may get nuclear
warheads simply for political purposes with the Air Force playing their role in Pakistan’s deterrence.