ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Wednesday test-fired Medium-Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) Shaheen I-A, the upgraded version of Shaheen I of Hatf IV series, having a reported range of 1,000 kilometres.
The sophisticated missile is capable of carrying both the nuclear and conventional combatant warheads simultaneously. The previous version Short-Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM) Shaheen-I has a range of 750 kilometres that can carry either nuclear or conventional warheads at a time.
“The missile is an improved version of Shaheen-I with improvements in range and technical parameters. It is capable of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads,” Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.
According to sources in Strategic Plans Division (SPD), the approximately 10,000 kilogram heavy missile is equipped with carrying the nuclear warheads weighing between 200-300 kg and conventional warheads between a weight range of 500-600 kg.
The missile test was purportedly conducted during early hours at an undisclosed location somewhere near Nilor, a suburban town of Islamabad.
In addition, the Shaheen I-A primarily contains sophisticated automated refuelling and advanced stealth technology features that were not present in its previous version Shaheen-I having limited stealth features to avoid detections from Navigational Radar System (NRS). The Shaheen I missile was reportedly installed at the Eastern border at regiment and battalion levels in 2003 during the tenure of General (R) Pervez Musharraf. Its deployment followed a series of successive and successful tests
Shaheen I-A is considered to be technologically and operationally superior than SRBM Ghaznavi I (300 km range approximately) and MRBM Ghauri I of Hatf V series. Despite having an optimal range of 1,500 km that is greater than that of Shaheen I-A range, Ghauri I lacks advanced fuelling features as characterised in Shaheen I and advanced refuelling features like those in Shaheen I-A that reduce fuel expenditure, pre-launch procedures and strategic costs.
Another ballistic missile of Hatf IV series Shaheen II is known as the best of Pakistan’s all the ballistic missiles, having a range of 2,500 km and currently deployed at selective security installations. The three Shaheen missiles, Shaheen I, Shaheen I-A and Shaheen II are reportedly equipped with the latest PSAC (Post-Selection Attitude Correction) system.
The missile launch “whose impact point was at sea, was witnessed by Director General Strategic Plans Division Lieutenant General (R) Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, Chairman NESCOM Muhammad Irfan Burney, Commander Army Strategic Force Command Lieutenant General Tariq Nadeem Gilani and other senior military officers, scientists and engineers.
“DG SPD congratulated all scientists and engineers on the successful launch, and the accuracy of the missile in reaching the target. He said that the improved version of Shaheen I-A will further consolidate and strengthen Pakistan’s deterrence abilities. He appreciated the efforts of all personnel for their dedication and professionalism,” the ISPR said.
Upgraded Hatf IV test-launched