The Pakistan Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP)’s disclosure for the year 2017-2018 revealed that Pakistan’s Directorate General of Munitions Production (DGMP) has given a green signal for the development of a supersonic missile to be used by the Pakistan Navy.
Missiles Manufactured for Pakistan Navy
The Ministry of Defence Production and the Directorate General of Munitions Production did not divulge specific details with regards to the range, weight, dimensions and other capabilities of the missile.
Moreover, the authorities did not even specify whether the newly manufactured supersonic missiles would be an anti-ship cruising missile (ASCM) or a land-attack cruise missile (LACM). However, experts believe that it is highly likely that the new missile will be a dual ASCM-LACM.
The Directorate General of Munitions Production has also approved the manufacturing of an “improved version” of the Harbah dual anti-ship cruising and land-attack cruising missile. Pakistan Navy conducted a missile test of the Harbah back in January 2018, from aboard the PNS Himmat, an Azmat-class fast attack craft (FAC).
The improved version of the Harbah is likely to be the dual ASCM-LACM test-fired by the Pakistan Navy back in April 2019, conducted abroad the PNS Himmat Fast attack craft.
Director General Public Relations for the Pakistan Navy, Rear Admiral M. Arshad Javed, revealed that the Pakistan Navy conducted the Operation Exercise RIBAT-2109 to examine the operational preparedness of the naval forces earlier in September.
After approving the manufacturing of a supersonic missile, it appears that the Pakistan Navy is now working towards securing its own supersonic missile for anti-ship missions.
During the exercise, the Pakistan Navy consolidated Fleet Fire Power by conducting successful live missile firings, held from the surface and air platforms, to affirm the warfighting capabilities of the naval forces.
A press release issued by the DGPR Pakistan Navy stated, “The exercise is aimed at validating various operational concepts and tactical warfighting procedures including joint operations involving all Pakistan Navy’s Field Commands as well as Pakistan Air Force.”
#PakNavy conducts missile firings from surface and air platforms in NAS during Ops Ex RIBAT-19, affirming the impressive war fighting capabilities.(1/2) @PakistanNavy https://t.co/aAPgikjUQo pic.twitter.com/nwSF3XCZ2h
— DGPR (Navy) (@dgprPaknavy) September 27, 2019
“During the Exercise RIBAT, Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Air Force units are participating in maritime operations in various domains under complex grey hybrid warfare environment. Concurrently, Pakistan Marines and Special Operation Forces (SOFs) are also rehearsing special operations including Coastal Defence, Air Defence and Maritime Interdiction Operations etc.”
Highlighting the state of preparedness of the Pakistan Navy, the press release noted, “The exercise displays Pakistan Navy’s intent to maintain the highest state of readiness and combat potential to ensure seaward defence and protection of maritime interests of Pakistan during peace and war.”
The press release stated that the missile firings were witnessed by Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, the Chief of the Naval Staff.
It stated in this regard, “Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi witnessed the missiles firings and expressed his utmost satisfaction on the operational readiness of Pakistan Navy. He also reaffirmed the resolve that Pakistan Navy is ready to defend its sea frontiers and would give a befitting response to any misadventure by the adversary.”
Parrying the BrahMos Threat
In order to increase its defensive capabilities against a supersonic-cruising anti-ship cruising missile, such as the BrahMos, it is important for Pakistan to work towards procuring or manufacturing analogous capabilities.
After approving the manufacturing of a supersonic missile, it appears that the Pakistan Navy is now working towards securing its own supersonic missile for anti-ship missions. In order to obtain a reliable analogous capability, the missile would require a supersonic-cruising design, which basically indicates a ramjet or scramjet air-breathing engine.
#PakNavy & #PAF units are participating in the Ex. Pak Marines & Special Operation Forces are also rehearsing Coastal & Air Defence and Maritime Interdiction Operations etc. (2/2) https://t.co/gxsIFAjk42@PakistanNavy pic.twitter.com/Zpxm6FkNK4
— DGPR (Navy) (@dgprPaknavy) September 27, 2019
The authorities did not reveal a timeline for the new supersonic missile being manufactured for the Pakistan Navy. So far, there have been no announcements of a joint collaboration or project with another country.
However, a collaboration, such as India’s cooperation with Russia on the BrahMos, would allow Pakistan to reduce costs and timelines, alongside innovating in terms of technology procurement. The potential partners of such a collaboration most likely include China, Ukraine or South Africa.
Indo-Pak Nuclear Capability
A recently conducted research by Science Advances revealed that in 2019, the nuclear forces of Pakistan and India are likely to contain 140-150 nuclear warheads each, and these numbers are likely to expand to 200 to 250 warheads by 2025.
Pakistan’s nuclear-capable fighter jets, the Mirage III/V and the F-16 A have a range of 2100km, and they are equipped with eight different types of land-based ballistic missiles, with a range of up to 2750km, and two kinds of cruise missiles with ranges up to 350km. The analysts deduced that Pakistan’s nuclear
missiles can reach India by the longest-range delivery systems.
It is important to note that India has around 400 cities with over 100,000 people, and Pakistan can launch a potential attack on more than one-third of all small and large cities with its existing nuclear arsenal, and more than two-thirds by 2025.