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Pakistanmarker began focusing on nuclear development in January 1972 under the leadership of Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who delegated the program to nuclear scientists Munir Ahmad Khan, Abdul Qadeer Khan and military administrator Zahid Ali Akbar Khan under the program called Project-706. This program would reach fruition under President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. Pakistan's nuclear weapons development program was in response to neighboring India's development of nuclear weapons. Bhutto called a meeting of senior scientists and engineers on 20 January 1972, in Multanmarker. It was here that Bhutto orchestrated the Project-706 and rallied Pakistan's scientists to build the atomic bomb for national survival. At the Multan meeting, Bhutto also appointed Pakistani nuclear scientist, Munir Ahmad Khan (a U.S.marker trained scientist), as chairman of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), who till then had been working as Director of Nuclear Power and Reactor Division at the International Atomic Energy Agencymarker (IAEA), in Viennamarker, Austria. This marked the beginning of Pakistan's pursuit of nuclear capability. Following India's surprise nuclear test, codenamed Smiling Buddha in 1974, the first confirmed nuclear test by a nation outside the permanent five members of the United Nations Security Council, the goal to develop nuclear weapons received considerable impetus.

Finally, on 28 May 1998, a few weeks after India's second nuclear test (Operation Shaktimarker), Pakistan detonated five nuclear devices in the Chagai Hills in the Chaghaimarker district, Balochistanmarker. This operation was named Chagai-I by Pakistan, the base having been long-constructed by provincial martial law administrator Rahimuddin Khan during the 1980s. Pakistan's fissile material production takes place at Kahuta and Khushab/Jauharabad, where weapons-grade plutonium is made by the scientists. Pakistan thus became the 7th country in the world to successfully develop and test nuclear weapons.

History of Pakistan's Nuclear Programme


In February 1948, the founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah announced:

In 1974, in response to India's Smiling Buddha nuclear tests, Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto announced:

Initial refusal to start a nuclear programme

Pakistan's civilian nuclear programme started in 1956 under the Government of Prime Minister of Pakistan, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy. When President Ayub Khan imposed martial law in Pakistan, the Pakistani civilian nuclear programme was frozen until 1972. On December 11 1965, President Ayub Khan had a brief meeting with Pakistani nuclear engineer Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan (late) at the Dorchester Hotel in London. The meeting was arranged by the then foreign minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. During the meeting, Munir Ahmad Khan told President Ayub Khan that Pakistan must acquire the necessary facilities that would give the country a nuclear deterrent capability, which were available free of safeguards and at an affordable cost. Munir Ahmad Khan also told President Ayub Khan that there were no restrictions on nuclear technology, that it was freely available, and that India and Israel were moving forward in deploying it.

Munir Ahmad Khan estimated the cost of nuclear technology at that time. Because things were less expensive, the then costs were not more than $150 million. President Ayub Khan listened to him very patiently, but at the end of the meeting, Ayub Khan remained unconvinced. Ayub Khan clearly refused Munir Ahmad Khan's offer and said that Pakistan was too poor to spend that much money. Moreover, President Ayub Khan mentioned that if Pakistan ever needed the bomb, Pakistan could somehow acquire it off the shelf.

The Civilian Nuclear Programme

Pakistan's civilian nuclear programme started in 1956 when the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) was established, with the initial target of capitalizing on the U.S-Pakistan's quest for acquiring the sensitive nuclear technology. U.S President Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace Programme", and its first chairman was Dr. Nazir Ahmad.In 1961, PAEC set up a Mineral Centre at Lahore and a similar multidisciplinary Centre was set up in Dhakamarker, in the then East Pakistan. With these two centers, the basic research work started.

The first thing that was to be undertaken was the search for Uranium. This continued for about 3 years from 1960 to 1963. Uranium deposits were discovered in the Dera Ghazi Khan district and the first-ever national award was given to the PAEC. Mining of Uranium began in the same year. Dr. Abdus Salam and Dr. I. H. Usmani also sent a large number of scientists to pursue doctorate degrees in the field of Nuclear Technology and nuclear reactor technology. In December 1965, then-Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto visited Viennamarker where he met with known Pakistanimarker nuclear engineer, Munir Ahmad Khan. At a Vienna meeting on december, Munir A. Khan informed Bhutto about the statue of Indian nuclear programme.

The next landmark under Dr. I. H. Usmani, was the establishment of PINSTECH – Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology, at Nilore near Islamabad. The principal facility there was a 5 MW research reactor, commissioned in 1965 and consisting of the Pakistan Atomic Research Reactor (PARR-1), which was upgraded to 10 MW under Munir Ahmad Khan in 1990. A second Atomic Research Reactor, PARR-2, was a Pool-type, light-water, 27-30 kW, training reactor that went critical in 1989 under Munir Ahmad Khan. Both reactors were provide by the United Statesmarker. Canada build Pakistan's first civil-purpose nuclear power plant.

The PAEC in 1970 began work on a pilot-scale plant at Dera Ghazi Khan for the concentration of uranium ores. The plant had a capacity of 10,000 pounds a day.

The Development of Nuclear Weapons

During the same time, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, a metallurgical engineer, working at the Dutchmarker research firm URENCO, also joined Pakistan's nuclear weapons-grade Uranium enrichment program. The uranium enrichment program had been launched in 1974 by PAEC chairman Munir Ahmad Khan as Project-706. A.Q. Khan joined the project in the spring of 1976 and was made Project-Director in July 1976 after taking over from another nuclear scientist, Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood. In 1983, Khan was convicted by a Dutch court in absentia for stealing the blueprints, though the conviction was overturned on a legal technicality.

Through the late 1970s, Pakistan's program acquired sensitive uranium enrichment technology and expertise. The 1975 arrival of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan considerably advanced these efforts. Dr. Khan is a German-trained metallurgist who brought with him knowledge of gas centrifuge technologies that he had through his position at the classified URENCO uranium enrichment plant in the Netherlands. He was put in charge of building, equipping and operating Pakistan's Kahuta facility, which was established in 1976. Under Khan's direction, Pakistan employed an extensive clandestine network in order to obtain the necessary materials and technology for its developing uranium enrichment capabilities.

Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons Program was established in 1974 when the Directorate of Technical Development (DTD) was set up in PAEC by chairman Munir Ahmad Khan.Munir Ahmad Khan was credited as the one of the pioneers of Pakistan's atomic bomb by a recent study from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), London's dossier on Pakistan's nuclear program. DTD was assigned the task of developing the implosion design, trigger mechanism, physics calculations, high-speed electronics, high-precision chemical and mechanical components, high explosive lenses for Pakistan's nuclear weapons. The DTD had come up with its first implosion design of a nuclear weapon by 1978 which was then improved and later tested on 11 March 1983 when PAEC carried out Pakistan's first successful cold test of a nuclear device. Between 1983 and 1990, PAEC carried out 24 more cold tests of various nuclear weapon designs. DTD had also developed a miniaturized weapon design by 1987 that could be delivered by all Pakistan Air Force fighter aircraft.

Also, Dr. Usmani’s contribution to the nuclear programme is also fundamental to the development of atomic energy for civilian purposes as he established PINSTECH, that subsequently developed into Pakistan’s premier nuclear research institution. In addition to sending hundreds of young Pakistanis abroad for training, he laid the foundations of the Muslim world’s first nuclear power reactor KANUPP, which was inaugurated by Munir Ahmad Khan in 1972. Thus, Usmani laid solid groundwork for the civilian nuclear programme

On September 3, 2004, Pakistan signed an agreement with International Atomic Energy Agencymarker (IAEA). According to the media sources in Pakistan, IAEA has mandated Pakistan to extensively use and establish more nuclear power plants to use nuclear energy for civilian purposes in agriculture, industrial, health, education, environment, energy and power sectors .


Pakistan acceded to the Geneva Protocol on 15 April 1960, the Biological Weapons Convention in 1974 and the Chemical Weapons Convention on 28 October 1997.In 1999 Pakistan signed the Lahore Accords with India, agreeing on a bilateral moratorium on nuclear testing. However, Pakistan, like India and Israelmarker, is not a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and, consequently, not bound by any of its provisions.


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton informed that Pakistan has dispersed its nuclear weapons throughout the country, increasing the security so that they could not fall into terrorist hands. Her comments came as new satellite images released by the ISIS suggested Pakistan is increasing its capacity to produce plutonium, a fuel for atomic bombs. The institute has also claimed that Pakistan has built two more nuclear reactors at Khoshab increasing the number of plutonium producing reactors to three.

In May 2009, during the anniversary of Pakistan's first nuclear weapons test, former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif claimed that Pakistan’s nuclear security is the strongest in the world. According to Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, Pakistan's nuclear safety program and nuclear security program is the strongest program in the world and there is no such capability in any other country for radical elements to steal or possess nuclear weapons.

Modernisation and Expansion

Pakistan is increasing its capacity to produce plutonium at its Khushab nuclear facility, a Washington-based science think tank has reported. Estimated Pakistani nuclear weapons is probably in the neighborhood of more than 200 by the end of 2009. “The sixth Pakistani nuclear test (May 30, 1998) at Kharan was a successful test of a sophisticated, compact, but powerful bomb designed to be carried by missiles. The Pakistanis are believed to be spiking their plutonium based nuclear weapons with tritium. Only a few grams of tritium can result in an increase of the explosive yield by 300% to 400%.”. Citing new satellite images of the facility, the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said the imagery suggests construction of the second Khushab reactor is “likely finished and that the roof beams are being placed on top of the third Khushab reactor hall”.


Uranium Infrastructure

Pakistan's nuclear weapons development program is based, primarily, on highly-enriched uranium (HEU)), which is produced at the Khan Research Laboratories at Kahuta, a Zippe centrifuge-based uranium-enrichment facility. The Kahuta facility has been in use since the early 1980s. By the early 1990s, Kahuta had an estimated 3,000 centrifuges in operation, and Pakistan has continued its pursuit of expanded uranium-enrichment capabilities.

Plutonium Infrastructure

In the mid 1980s, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission began to pursue Plutonium production capabilities. Consequently Pakistan built the 40-50 MW (megawatt, thermal) Khushab Research Reactor at Joharabad, and in April 1998, Pakistan announced that the nuclear reactor was operational. The Khushab reactor project was initiated in 1986 by PAEC chairman Munir Ahmad Khan, who informed the world that the reactor was totally indigenous, i.e. that it was designed and built by Pakistani scientists and engineers. Various Pakistani industries contributed in 82% of the reactor's construction. The Project-Director for this project was Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood. According to public statements made by the U.S. Government officials, this heavy-water reactor can produce up to 8 to 10 kg of plutonium per year with increase in the production by the development of newer facilities, sufficient for at least one nuclear weapon. The reactor could also produce tritium if it were loaded with lithium-6, although this is unnecessary for the purposes of nuclear weapons, because modern nuclear weapon designs use 6Li directly. According to J. Cirincione of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Khushab's Plutonium production capacity has allowed Pakistan to develop lighter nuclear warheads that would be easier to deliver to any place in the range of the ballistic missiles.

Plutonium separation takes place at the New Labs Reprocessing Plant, which was completed by 1981 by PAEC and is next to the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH) near Islamabadmarker, which is not subject to IAEAmarker inspections and safeguards.
Television screenshot of the first known Pakistani Nuclear Test, 28 May 1998.

In late 2006, the Institute for Science and International Security released intelligence reports and imagery showing the construction of a new plutonium reactor at the Khushab nuclear site. The reactor is deemed to be large enough to produce enough plutonium to facilitate the creation of as many as "40 to 50 nuclear weapons a year."The New York Times carried the story with the insight that this would be Pakistan's third plutonium reactor, signaling a shift to dual-stream development, with Plutonium-based devices supplementing the nation's existing HEU stream to atomic warheads.


The U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimated that Pakistanmarker had built 24–48 HEU-based nuclear warheads with HEU reserves for 30-52 additional warheads. In 2003, the U.S. Navy Center for Contemporary Conflict estimated that Pakistan possessed between 35 and 95 nuclear warheads, with a median of 60.

The NRDC's and the Carnegie Foundation's estimates of approximately 50 weapons are from 2002–03 estimations. In 2000, U.S. Military intelligence estimated that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal may be as large as 100 warheads. The actual size is hard for experts to gauge owing to the extreme secrecy which surrounds the program in Pakistan. In recent developments, retired Brig. General Feroz Khan, previously second in command at the Strategic Arms Division of Pakistans' Military told a Pakistani newspaper the nation has "about 80 to 120 genuine warheads," and also revealed that Pakistan has decoy or dummy warheads to complicate any designs by aggressors.

Pakistan tested plutonium capability in the sixth nuclear test of 30 May 1998 at Kharan. In this test the most compact and sophisticated design, made to be carried by small delivery vehicles such as MIRV and cruise missiles, was tested.

The critical mass of a bare mass sphere of 90% enriched uranium-235 is 52 kg. Correspondingly, the critical mass of a bare mass sphere of plutonium-239 is 8–10 kg. The bomb that destroyed Hiroshima used 60 kg of U-235 while the Nagasaki Pu bomb used only 6 kg of Pu-239. Since all Pakistani bomb designs are implosion-type weapons, they will typically use between 15–25 kg of U-235 for their cores. Reducing the amount of U-235 in cores from 60 kg in gun-type devices to 25 kg in implosion devices is only possible by using good neutron reflector/tamper material such as beryllium metal, which increases the weight of the bomb. And the uranium, like plutonium, is only usable in the core of a bomb in metallic form.

However, only 2–4 kg of plutonium is needed for the same device that would need 20–25 kg of U-235. Additionally, a few grams of tritium (a by-product of plutonium production reactors and thermonuclear fuel) can increase the overall yield of the bombs by a factor of three to four. “The sixth Pakistani nuclear test (May 30, 1998) at Kharan was a successful test of a sophisticated, compact, but powerful bomb designed to be carried by missiles. The Pakistanis are believed to be spiking their plutonium based nuclear weapons with tritium. Only a few grams of tritium can result in an increase of the explosive yield by 300% to 400%.”

A whole range and variety of weapons using Pu-239 can be easily built, both for aircraft delivery and especially for missiles (in which U-235 cannot be used). So if Pakistan wants to be a nuclear power with an operational deterrent capability, both first and second strike, based on assured strike platforms like ballistic and cruise missiles (unlike aircraft), the only solution is with plutonium, which has been the first choice of every country that built a nuclear arsenal.

As for Pakistan's plutonium capability, it has always been there, from the early 1980s onwards. There were only two problems. One was that Pakistan did not want to be an irresponsible state and so did not divert spent fuel from the safeguarded KANUPP for reprocessing at New Labs. This was enough to build a whole arsenal of nuclear weapons straight away. So PAEC built its own plutonium and tritium production reactor at Khushab, beginning in 1985. The second one was allocation of resources.

Ultra-centrifugation for obtaining U-235 cannot be done simply by putting natural uranium through the centrifuges. It requires the complete mastery over the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle, beginning at uranium mining and refining, production of uranium ore or yellow cake, conversion of ore into uranium dioxide UO2 (which is used to make nuclear fuel for natural uranium reactors like Khushab and KANUPP), conversion of UO2 into uranium tetrafluoride UF4 and then into the feedstock for enrichment (UF6).

The complete mastery of fluorine chemistry and production of highly toxic and corrosive hydrofluoric acid and other fluorine compounds is required. The UF6 is pumped into the centrifuges for enrichment. The process is then repeated in reverse until UF4 is produced, leading to the production of uranium metal, the form in which U-235 is used in a bomb.

It is estimated that there are approximately 10,000-20,000 centrifuges in Kahuta. This means that with P2 machines, they would be producing between 75–100 kg of HEU since 1986, when full production of weapons-grade HEU began. Also the production of HEU was voluntarily capped by Pakistan between 1991 and 1997, and the five nuclear tests of 28 May 1998 also consumed HEU. So it is safe to assume that between 1986 and 2005 (prior to the 2005 earthquake), KRL produced 1500 kg of HEU. Accounting for losses in the production of weapons, it can be assumed that each weapon would need 20 kg of HEU; sufficient for 75 bombs as in 2005.

Pakistan's first nuclear tests were made in May 1998, when six warheads were tested. It is reported that the yields from these tests were 12kt, 30 to 35kt and four low-yield (below 1 kt) tests. From these tests Pakistan can be estimated to have developed operational warheads of 20 to 25kt and 150kt in the shape of low weight compact designs and may have 300–500kt large-size warheads. The low-yield weapons are probably in nuclear bombs carried on fighter-bombers such as the Dassault Mirage III and fitted to Pakistan's short-range ballistic missiles, while the higher-yield warheads are probably fitted to the Shaheen series and Ghauri series ballistic missiles.

Second strike capability

According to a US congressional report, Pakistan has addressed issues of survivability in a possible nuclear conflict through second strike capability. Pakistan has been dealing with efforts to develop new weapons and at the same time, have a strategy for surviving a nuclear war. Pakistan has built hard and deeply buried storage and launch facilities to retain a second strike capability in a nuclear war.

It was confirmed that Pakistan has built Soviet-style road-mobile missiles, state-of-the-art air defences around strategic sites, and other concealment measures. Pakistan has also built hard and deeply buried storage and launch facilities to retain a second strike capability in case of a nuclear war. In 1998, Pakistan had 'at least six secret locations' and since then it is believed Pakistan may have many more such secret sites. In 2008, the United States admitted that it did not know where all of Pakistan’s nuclear sites are located. Pakistani defence officials have continued to rebuff and deflect American requests for more details about the location and security of the country’s nuclear sites.

Foreign assistance

Historically, Chinamarker is alleged to have played a major role in the establishment of Pakistan's nuclear weapons development infrastructure, especially, when increasingly stringent export controls in the western countries made it difficult for Pakistan to acquire nuclear materials and technology from elsewhere. Additionally, Pakistani officials have supposedly been present to observe at least one Chinese nuclear test. In a recent revelation by a high-ranking former U.S. official, it was disclosed that China had allegedly transferred nuclear technology to Pakistan and conducting Proxy Test for it in 1980. According to a 2001 Department of Defensemarker report, China has supplied Pakistan with nuclear materials and has provided critical technical assistance in the construction of Pakistan's nuclear weapons development facilities, in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which China is a signatory.

In 1986, Pakistanmarker and Chinamarker signed a civilian nuclear technology agreement in which China would supply Pakistan a civil-purpose nuclear technology. A grand ceremony was held in Beijing where Pakistan's then Foreign Minister Sahibzada Yaqub Khan signed on behalf of Pakistan in the presence of Munir Ahmad Khan and Chinese Prime Minister. Therefore, in 1989, Pakistan reached agreement with China for the supply of a 300MW CHASHNUPP-1 nuclear power plant.

In February, 1990, President François Mitterrand of Francemarker visited Pakistanmarker and announced that France had agreed to supply a 900 MWe nuclear power reactor to Pakistan. However, after the Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto (late) was dimissed in August, 1990, the French nuclear power plant deal went into cold storage and the agreement could not be implemented due to financial constraints and the Pakistani government's apathy. Also in February 1990, Soviet Ambassador to Pakistan, V.P. Yakunin, said that the USSR was considering a request from Pakistan for the supply of a nuclear power plant. The Soviet and French civilian nuclear power plant was on its way during 1990s. However, Bob Oakley, the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, expressed U.S. displeasure at the recent agreement made between France and Pakistan for the sale of a nuclear power plant. After the U.S. concerns the civilian-nuclear technology agreements were cancelled by France and Soviet Union.


Pakistan's motive, as stated by its former President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq in 1985, for pursuing a nuclear weapons development program is to counter the threat posed by its principal rival, India.

Pakistan has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). According to the U.S. Defense Department report cited above, "Pakistan remains steadfast in its refusal to sign the NPT, stating that it would do so only after India joined the Treaty. Consequently, not all of Pakistan's nuclear facilities are under IAEA safeguards. Pakistani officials have stated that signature of the CTBT is in Pakistan's best interest, but that Pakistanmarker will do so only after developing a domestic consensus on the issue, and have disavowed any connection with India's decision."

The organization authorized to make decisions about Pakistan's nuclear posturing is the NCA. Here is a link showing NCA of Pakistan. [79249] It was established in February 2000. The NCA is composed of two committees that advise the present President of Pakistan, on the development and deployment of nuclear weapons; it is also responsible for war-time command and control. In 2001, Pakistan further consolidated its nuclear weapons infrastructure by placing the Khan Research Laboratories and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission under the control of one Nuclear Defense Complex. In November 2009, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari announced that he will be replaced by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani as the chairman of NCA.

It has been recently reported by the Pakistani Press namely Jang that Pakistan has the ability to MIRV its missiles. This has been seen as possibly one of the greatest achievement to date for Pakistan. It has also been reported that Pakistan would likely MIRV its Shaheen-II and Ghauri II missiles.

U.S. aid in guarding the nuclear weapons

From the end of 2001 the United States has provided material assistance to aid Pakistan in guarding its nuclear material, warheads and laboratories. The cost of the program has been almost $100 million. Specifically the USA has provided helicopters, night-vision goggles and nuclear detection equipment.

Pakistan turned down the offer of Permissive Action Link technology, a sophisticated "weapon release" program which initiates use via specific checks and balances, possibly because it feared the secret implanting of "dead switches". But Pakistan is since believed to have developed and implemented its own version of PAL and U.S. military officials have stated they believe Pakistan's nuclear weaponry to be well secured.

National Security Council

Weapons development agencies

National Engineering & Scientific Commission (NESCOM)

Ministry of Defense Production

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC)

  • Directorate of Technical Development
  • Directorate of Technical Equipment
  • Directorate of Technical Procurement
  • Directorate of Science & Engineering Services
  • Institute of Nuclear Power, Islamabad
  • Pakistan Institute of Science & Technology (PINSTECH)
  • New Laboratories, Rawalpindi
  • Pilot Reprocessing Plant
  • PARR-1 and PARR-2 Nuclear Research Reactors
  • Center for Nuclear Studies (CNS), Islamabad
  • Computer Training Center (CTC), Islamabad
  • Nuclear Track Detection Center (Solid State Nuclear Track Detection Center)
  • Khushab Reactor, Khushabmarker
  • Atomic Energy Minerals Centre, Lahore
  • Hard Rock Division, Peshawar
  • Mineral Sands Program, Karachi
  • Baghalchur Uranium Mine, Baghalchurmarker
  • Dera Ghazi Khan Uranium Mine, Dera Ghazi Khan
  • Issa Khel/Kubul Kel Uranium Mines and Mills, Mianwali
  • Multan Heavy Water Production Facility, Multanmarker, Punjab
  • Uranium Conversion Facility, Islamabad
  • Golra Ultracentrifuge Plant, Golra
  • Sihala Ultracentrifuge Plant, Sihala
  • Directorate of Quality Assurance,Islamabad
  • New Labs Nilore,Islamabad

Space and Upper Atmospheric Research Commission (SUPARCO)

  • Aerospace Institute, Islamabadmarker.
  • Computer Center, Karachi.
  • Control System Laboratories.
  • Sonmian Satellite Launch Center, Sonmiani Beach.
  • Instrumentation Laboratories, Karachi.
  • Material Research Division.
  • Quality Control and Assurance Unit.
  • Rocket Bodies Manufacturing Unit.
  • Solid Composite Propellant Unit.
  • Liquid Composite Propellant Unit
  • Space and Atmospheric Research Center (space Center), Karachi
  • Static Test Unit, Karachi
  • Tilla Satellite Launch Center, Tilla, Punjab

Precision Engineering Complex (PEC)

Ministry of Industries & Production

  • State Engineering Corporation (SEC)
  • Heavy Mechanical Complex Ltd. (HMC)
  • Peoples Steel Mills Limited, Karachi.

Delivery systems


Below is a list of all known missiles, either in development or operational with Pakistan's armed forces, that are believed to be capable of carrying a non-conventional (nuclear) payload.

Pakistan's Nuclear Capable Missiles
Name/Designation Class Range

(varies with payload weight)
Payload Status
Hatf-I SRBM 100 km 500 kg Operational
Abdali SRBM 180 km 500 kg Operational
Ghaznavi SRBM 290 km 500 kg Operational
M-11 SRBM 300 km 500 kg Operational
Shaheen-I SRBM 750 km 850 kg Operational
Ghauri-I MRBM 1,500 km 750 kg Operational
Ghauri-II MRBM 2,300 km 750-1,200 kg Operational
Shaheen-II IRBM 2,500 km 700 kg Operational
Ghauri-III IRBM 3,500+ km 1,200+ kg Under Development
Shaheen-III IRBM 4,500+ km 1,200+ kg Under Development
Babur Cruise Missile 700 km 500 kg Operational
Ra'ad Air Launched Cruise Missile 350 km 500 kg Operational


The Pakistan Air Force is believed to have practised "toss-bombing" in the 1990s, a method of launching weapons from fighter-bombers which can also be used to deliver nuclear warheads. The PAF has two units (No. 16 Sqn and No. 26 Sqn) operating around 50 of the Chinese-built Nanchang A-5C, believed to be the preferred vehicle for delivery of nuclear weapons due to its long range. The others are various variants of the Dassault Mirage III and Dassault Mirage 5, of which around 156 are currently operated by the Pakistan Air Force. The PAF also operates some 46 F-16 fighters, the first 32 of which were delivered in the 1980s and believed by some to have been modified for nuclear weapons delivery.

It has also been reported that an air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) with a range of 350 km has been developed by Pakistan, designated Hatf 8 and named Ra'ad ALCM, which may theoretically be armed with a nuclear warhead. It was reported to have been test-fired by a Dassault Mirage III fighter and, according to one Western official, is believed to be capable of penetrating some air defence/missile defence systems.


  7. Pakistan's Nuke History: Part1 From A PAEC Perspective
  16. Key Issues: Nuclear Energy: Issues: IAEA: World Plutonium Inventories
  17. BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | Pakistan nuclear report disputed
  18. Pakistan Expanding Nuclear Program -
  19. BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | Pakistan 'building new reactor'
  20. U.S. Group Says Pakistan Is Building New Reactor - New York Times
  21. Federation of American Scientists
  22. Center for Defense Information
  23. Pakistan's Nuclear Arsenal Underestimated, Reports Say
  24. Impact of US wargames on Pakistan N-arms ‘negative’ -DAWN - Top Stories; 3 December 2007
  25. Calculating the Risks in Pakistan -
  29. China tested N-weapons for Pak: US insider The Times of India 6 September 2008
  32. New York Times/18 November 2007

See also

External links

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