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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Pakistan's ballistic missile development program, which started as a response to India's missile programme, has followed a twin-track approach - of importing missile systems and subsystems and pressing ahead with indigenous development of systems from China and North Korea.

The strategic competition with India has spurred Pakistani efforts to acquire ballistic missiles, which it claims to have done without assistance. Pakistan's missile industry includes a large solid rocket motor production complex and a ballistic missile test facility. Chinese and more recently North Korea assistance has sustained these efforts. Pakistan's missile effort evidently consists of three components:

  • The short range Hatf-1 and Hatf-2 are apparently of Pakistani design and construction. They were developed by the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), apparently on the basis of French prototypes. These missiles seem to have proven a disappointment, due probably in no small measure to their modest range, and do not appear to have entered operational service in any significant numbers.
  • The Shaheen series of solid-propellant missiles are imports from China by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), which is also responsible for Pakistan's plutonium bomb program. The Chinese M-11 missile was obtained from China in the early 1990s, and tested with considerable publicity in mid-1999. The longer range Shaheen-I and Shaheen-II appear to correspond to the Chinese M-9 and M-18, respectively, and it appears that these are the product of domestic manufacture in Pakistan, rather than the result of a sale from China.
  • More recently, the A.Q. Khan Research Laboratories, which is also responsible for Pakistan's uranium bomb program, has imported and tested the North Korean Nodong missile under the name Ghauri. Imports of the longer range Taepodong missiles may also be under consideration.

Diverse public pronouncements by various Pakistani officials have tended to obscure rather than clarify the present status of Pakistan's missile programs. The confusion is greatly magnified by the diversity of nomenclature, as the number of missile names evidently greatly exceeds the number of actual missile types.

In late December 2001 it was reported that Pakistan's strategic command had redeployed batteries of medium-range ballistic missiles to areas close to the border with India, as part of the general military mobilization following the 13 December 2001 attack on India's Parliament by Kashmiri terrorists.

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Page last modified: 14-04-2016 19:58:49 ZULU