Tag Archives: Pakistan missile
NIAS IPCS Young Scholars Workshop on “Global Nuclear Politics and Strategy”
May 3-7, 2015, NIAS JRD Tata Auditorium, Bangalore
The Annual Residential Young Scholars’ Workshop (YSW), a flagship programme of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, provides a unique opportunity to students and young professionals to gain meaningful insight into the field of nuclear studies.
This year’s edition – Global Nuclear Politics and Strategy 2015 – the workshop was jointly organised by the IPCS and the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore.
An unprecedented number of applications for GNPS 2015, making the competition keen and our task difficult, and the participant selection came in recognition of their academic and professional achievements. In addition to scholars from academic institutions and think-tanks across India, this year witnessed, for the first time, participation from young officers hailing from, among others, the Indian Army, Air Force, Border Security Force, DRDO and the Ministry of External Affairs.
The presentations made by the speakers at the Workshop can be accessed below.
Launch of Pakistani Shaheen-II (Hatf-VI) Ballistic Missile on November 13, 2014: An Analysis
Authors: Rajaram Nagappa, S. Chandrashekar, N. Ramani, Lalitha Sundaresan and Viswesh Rammohan
To read the complete report in PDF click here
A launch of the Shaheen II (Hatf-VI) ballistic missile was carried out by the Pakistan Army Strategic Forces Command on 13 November 2014. What is significant about this launch is that it is taking place after a gap of nearly six and half years. The last announced Shaheen-II launch had taken place on 19 and 21 April 2008. The range claimed in those flights was higher at 2000 km.
A related issue is that the launch was conducted over the Arabian Sea and the Notice to Mariners/Airmen issued in advance identified missile launch window and the coordinates of the impact zones. With the available information from open sources an analysis is carried out of this flight and where relevant comparison is carried out with the launch of April 2008.
Based on available information, it would appear that the Shaheen-II launched on 13 November 2014 performed a successful flight. The Shaheen-II flight occurred after a gap of 6.5 years. The range of 1500 km indicated in the press release fits with the announced impact zones. The following questions come to mind:
- It is quite likely that the design range of the missile is only 1500 km. NAVAREA warnings for the 2008 flights are non-existent and therefore of it can be surmised that these flights were carried overland from Tilla Range. The 2000 km range claimed for these flights could therefore be overstated.
- If this is so, our estimate of the propellant and inert mass of the stage motors should also be wrong. If the propulsion parameters are overestimated by us, it would mean either a) the diameter of 1.4 m of the missile is in error or b) the design is not very efficiently carried out.
- Alternately, the propulsion parameters derived are nearly correct and the actual range of the missile is approximately 2133 km. A lofted trajectory was attempted in the November 2014 flight to get a lower range.
- Accepted practice is to qualify a missile system for its nominal performance. What is the reason therefore for trying a lofted trajectory, in a developmental mission, especially as there is no range constraint?
- The long interval in the resumption of the Shaheen-II flight is indicative of a major technical issue, which may have taken time to resolve.
- The possibility of technical problem is corroborated by a recent report emanating from Hong Kong.
- Shaheen-II, unlike the other missiles in the Pakistani arsenal is a two-stage system. Design and performance issues could arise in respect of : (a) sequencing of staging events, (b) transfer of control at the end of first stage burn, (c) vehicle bending modes and structural design, (d) management of vehicle vibration – e.g. issues relating to control system/structure interaction, (e) thermal management of reentry heating to name a few. If the April 2008 flights had brought out any such inadequacies, the planning of the corrective action required, its realization and implementation could explain the long timespan in the resumption of the missile flight. It is possible that remedial action has not reflected in changes to the overall configuration and dimension and therefore is not discernible in the images of the flight vehicle.
- The changes may however, have impact on the inert mass of the vehicle and the throw weight, thus impacting the performance.
- Procedural issues, lack of priority or financial/resource constraints could also be causative factor for the delay.
In short, the long time gap can only be explained assuming that the Shaheen-II flight of April 2008 exhibited some major anomaly in one or more of the subsystems (e.g. issues relating to staging, control, vehicle flexibility and coupling effects, reentry thermo-structural) and it has taken Pakistan a long time to diagnose, correct (perhaps with Chinese help) and qualify the corrective measures. The corrective measures in turn may have impacted on the inert mass and consequently on the performance. Additionally, if the PSAC has also been incorporated, the development and qualification of such a system would have taken up time, besides adding mass to the missile throw weight.
The Shaheen – II flight. Of 13 November 2014 is analysed. A launch location west of Somniani range is identified and corroborated with assessment of the historical images. The flight over open areas of the Arabian Sea seems to be a logical outcome after the failure of Ghauri flight launched over land in November 2012. The range of the missile has been simulated and matched with the impact location given in the NAVAREA IX warnings. Though a lofted trajectory simulation shows good match with the known impact locations, reasons for justifying such a trajectory is elusive. Reasons for the long gap are difficult to explain in the absence of confirmatory data and can only be speculated to be a combination involving technology issues, correction, requalification and use of PSAC as well as availability of resources and priorities.
Strategic Analysis, Vol. 38, No. 4, July 2014, pp. 444-448.
Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies
On November 5, 2013 Pakistan conducted its fourth test of the Hatf-IX (Nasr) short range battlefield ‘nuclear’ missile. To date there have been four flight tests of the missile system. After the first three tests (April 19, 2011, May 29, 2012 and February 11, 2013) Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) had put out identical press releases. These statements claimed that the missile had a range of 60km and carried ‘nuclear warheads (sic) of appropriate yield’. The ISPR statement following the fourth flight test of Nasr, a salvo firing of four missiles, was worded differently and did not repeat the claim that Nasr carried a nuclear warhead. Curiously, it referred to the missile’s nuclear capability in a roundabout sort of way. The statement claimed that the missile ‘contributes to the full spectrum deterrence against threats in view of evolving scenarios’.
This then begets three questions. First, what is Pakistan trying to signal by way of the Nasr and what is the significance of the change in wording of the ISPR statement following the fourth Nasr test flight? Secondly, can Pakistan actually fit a nuclear warhead into the Nasr? Thirdly, how credible would Nasr be in Indian eyes and how will it impact the Indo-Pak deterrence relationship.
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HATF-IX / NASR Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Implications for Indo-Pak Deterrence
Authors: Rajaram Nagappa, Arun Vishwanathan and Aditi Malhotra
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On April 19, 2011 Pakistan conducted the first test flight of Hatf-IX (NASR) missile. The Pakistani Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) described the missile as a ‘Short Range Surface to Surface Ballistic Missile’. Till date there have been three tests of the missile system on April 19, 2011, May 29, 2012 and February 11, 2013.
Following the Pakistani tests and claims of NASR being a nuclear capable missile, there has been a lot of analysis pointing to the dangers it poses for Indo-Pak deterrence. However, despite the large amount of literature which has come out following the NASR test in April 2011, not much attention has been directed at carrying out a holistic assessment of the tactical nuclear weapons issue. It is this crucial gap that that this report seeks to address.
The NASR warhead section has been estimated to have a cylindrical section which is 361 mm in diameter and 940 mm long with a conical portion which is 660 mm long. Thus, the important question is whether (a) Pakistan has a miniaturized weapon warhead which will fit into this dimension, (b) whether it has been tested and (c) in the absence of tests, how reliable is the weapon system. Most importantly, in the absence of demonstrated reliability, how confident will Pakistan be in fielding it?
Pakistan’s gambit of using NASR to signal a lowering of its nuclear threshold to counter any conventional military operation by India is likely to pose challenges for robustness of nuclear deterrence between Pakistan and India. An important question to ponder over and one that holds some importance for nuclear stability in the Indian sub-continent is whether NASR is leading Pakistan into a ‘commitment trap.’ It would be wise to guard against a situation where Pakistan would be forced to follow through just because of its past assertions.
The study shows that a weapon system like NASR has more disadvantages than advantages from all considerations ranging from damage potential to impact on deterrence stability.
Pakistan Ghauri November 2012 Missile Test
Author: Rajaram Nagappa
Pakistan launched a Ghauri missile on 28 November 2012. Though the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) claimed the test was a success, Pakistani media reports indicate that large fragments of the missile fell in and around the village of Dadu in Sind Province.
As Ghauri missiles may have been assembled in Pakistan in limited numbers, the missile is not likely to be a permanent part of the Pakistan ballistic missile system. The operational details and procedures for a liquid fuelled system coupled with a success rate not commensurate with reliability requirements are other negative factors. Ghauri will therefore be used for training purposes and temporarily deployed for long range penetration. It would be safe to conjecture that the missile will be phased out once Shaheen-2 is operationalized in Pakistan.
The overall Ghauri flight mission of 28 November 2012 should be treated as failure contrary to the claims made by the Inter Services Public Relations. This failure also opens up questions of reliability of the missile as 3 failures have been recorded out of ten flights.
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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.
Assessment of Pakistan’s Babur-HATF 7 Cruise Missile
Authors: Rajaram Nagappa, S Chandrashekar
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Pakistan has developed the Babur subsonic cruise missile and conducted five flights of the missile between August 2005 and December 2007. The range of the missile was stated to be 500 km in the initial flights. However, an increased range of 700 km was claimed in the latest flight. There was also a suggestion that the range may be further increased to 1000 km. While the Pakistan media have shown pictures of the missile in the static and flight conditions, no dimensional or mass details of the missile have been officially released.
An assessment of the missile dimensions has been carried out by studying these images. It is surmised that the missile diameter may be 560 mm and the total length 6.6 m. Other features of the missile have also been outlined. The missile range is computed using Tomahawk missile aerodynamic data. There is sufficient commonality in shape and dimensions between the Babur and the Tomahawk to justify this assumption. Our analysis indicates that the claimed range of 500 km for the missile is achievable. During the preparation of this report, Pakistan launched an Air Launched Cruise Missile, Raad on August 25, 2007. The Raad pictures have also been studied. Our preliminary findings indicate that the missile is different from the Babur. The Raad missile is 4.86 metres long and has a diameter of 880 mm.