Assessment of Ballistic Missile Production Capacity in Pakistan
Author: Rajaram Nagappa
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Pakistan has an active ballistic missile programme comprising four missiles based on solid propellant and one missile based on liquid propellant. Frequent reports are seen in the media regarding the missile flights along with statements pertaining to completion of troop exercises and handing over to the Army Strategic Force Command.
In this report an attempt is made to assess the solid propellant based production capacity and gauge the number of missiles that may be produced and that may be in stock in Pakistan. It is well known that the Pakistan missile effort has drawn extensively upon French and Chinese inputs pertaining to technology, equipment and materials. At the same time Pakistan appears to have developed capability to indigenously design and realise solid propulsion systems for use in ballistic missiles.
Using this and other inputs, an assessment of material requirements is made for the principal subsystems. Process cycle for the propellant and nozzle realisation and the process time are estimated to arrive at the possible throughput in missile propulsion systems. These numbers are compared with the actual reported flight numbers of the missiles to arrive at the possible numbers produced, the number in stock and the deployment status.
It is argued that the Abdali is made in the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) propellant plant while the other missiles are made in the National Defence Complex plant located at Fatehjang. It is estimated that the maximum number of propulsion units of Ghaznavi, Shaheen 1 and Shaheen 2 adds to a total of 12 units annually and the current production is lower than this number. The immediate production emphasis will be towards a) preparation of further numbers of Shaheen 1 for handing over to the Army Strategic Force Command by 2008; and b) completion of further flight tests of Shaheen 2. It is estimated that four to five years of full capacity production effort is required for matching the missile numbers to the missile borne nuclear warheads.