Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pakistan Increasing Nuclear Arsenal, Missiles Range and Deployment Capability !

Pakistan is enhancing its nuclear weapon capabilities across the board by developing and deploying new nuclear-capable Cruise and Ballistic Missiles and expanding its capacity to produce fissile materials through Plutonium and Uranium for use in weapons. Pakistan is replacing its heavy uranium-based weapons with smaller, lighter plutonium-based designs that could be delivered further by ballistic missiles than its current warheads that use cruise missiles.

Pakistani missiles the Shaheen II, with its 2,000 km range. The Ghauri missile in Pakistan's arsenal has a range of 1500 km. The Hatf-III has an 800 km range.

Pakistan's Expanded Nuclear Capacity in a Nutshell :
Nuclear Weapons increased to 70 to 90.
Two new plutonium production reactors near Khushab.
Building a second chemical separation facility.
Two new Nuclear Plants 300 MW each at Chashma.
Expanding uranium hexafluoride and uranium metal are production.
Fabricating new weapons that use plutonium cores.
Development of two Nuclear capable Cruise Missile including Hatf-7 and Hatf-8.
Devleopment of Nuclear capable Ballistic missiles Shaheen, Ghauri and Gaznavi.

Fearful of its rivals Pakistan has expanded its Nuclear Arsenal. Pakistan has an estimated arsenal of about 70 –90 nuclear weapons and is busily enhancing its capabilities across the board. A new nuclear-capable ballistic
missile is being readied for deployment, and two nuclear capable
cruise missiles are under development. Two new plutonium
production reactors and a second chemical separation facility
also are under construction.

It is exceedingly difficult to estimate precisely how many nuclear
weapons Pakistan has produced, how many are deployed, and of
what types. It is equally troublesome to guess what its future plans
might be. In 1999, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency estimated
that Pakistan had between 25 and 35 nuclear warheads and projected
that it would have between 60 and 80 by 2020.1 Yet Rolf Mowatt-
Larssen, formerly the CIA’s top official on weapons of mass destruction
and the Energy Department’s director of intelligence and
counterintelligence during the Bush administration, recently noted
a more accelerated pace: “It took them roughly 10 years to double
the number of nuclear weapons from roughly 50 to 100.”

Although Pakistan’s arsenal is clearly increasing, several factors
suggest that it may not have reached 100 warheads quite yet. First,
Pakistan is thought to have produced approximately 2,000 kilograms
of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and 90 kilograms of separated
military plutonium by early 2008.3 While these amounts are
sufficient for between 80 and 130 implosion-type warheads, assuming
15–25 kilograms of HEU are used for each warhead’s solid core,
it is unlikely that all of this material has been turned into weapons.
Second, Pakistan does not have enough delivery vehicles to accommodate
that many weapons. Furthermore, since all of its missile and
aircraft types are dual-capable, only a portion of them may have a
nuclear mission. Third, beyond the fissile material it has committed
to weapons that are deployed or await deployment, Pakistan probably
keeps stocks for future use.

The precise amount of plutonium or uranium needed for a bomb
depends on two variables: the technical capabilities of the scientists
and engineers and the desired yield. The better the technical
capability, the less material is needed for a given yield, while higher
yields require more material. While we do not know the skill level
of Pakistani bomb designers, medium technical capabilities certainly
seem plausible, which would require approximately 20 kilograms
of HEU and 3 kilograms of plutonium for a warhead designed
to have a yield of 10 kilotons.4 Pakistan’s weapons have been estimated
to have yields of between 5 and 10 kilotons, judging by its few
nuclear tests. Pakistan claimed it conducted six tests on May 28 and
30, 1998, yet most experts concluded based on seismic signals that
there were only two tests. With warhead production probably well
underway, if not already completed, for the Shaheen II mediumrange
ballistic missile, and deployment of the Babur cruise missile
anticipated within the next few years, we estimate a current Pakistani
nuclear stockpile of about 70–90 warheads.

Following the example of other nations that have developed nuclear
weapons, Pakistan is improving its weapon designs, moving beyond
its first-generation nuclear weapons that relied on HEU. For at
least a decade, Pakistan has been pursuing plutonium-based designs.
Central to that effort is the 40–50-megawatt heavy water Khushab
plutonium production reactor, which was completed in 1998 and is
located at Joharabad in the Khushab district of Punjab. Six surface-toair
missile batteries surround the site to protect against air strikes. As
a sign of its confidence in its plutonium designs, Pakistan is building
two additional heavy water reactors at the Khushab site, which will
more than triple the country’s plutonium production.

In anticipation of this increased plutonium production capacity,
Pakistan also is expanding its capabilities to reprocess it. The Pakistan
Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology near Rawalpindi
was Pakistan’s original pilot chemical separation facility where
plutonium from the first Khushab reactor was separated. Satellite
images show a second under-construction separation facility adjacent
to the original that could handle the plutonium produced in the
two new Khushab reactors. Work also may have resumed on a partially
built separation plant that dates from the 1970s. This plant is
located at Chasma, where Pakistan operates a 300-megawatt commercial
reactor (CHASNUPP-1) and plans to build three more, one
of which is under construction. Additionally, Pakistan is expanding
its facilities at Dera Ghazi Khan, in southern Punjab, where uranium
hexafluoride and uranium metal are produced.

All of these efforts suggest that Pakistan is preparing to increase
and enhance its nuclear forces. In particular, the new facilities provide
the Pakistani military with several options: fabricating weapons
that use plutonium cores; mixing plutonium with HEU to make composite
cores; and/or using tritium to “boost” warheads’ yield (loading
the reactors’ targets with lithium 6 will produce tritium). Absent
a successful full-scale thermonuclear test, it is premature to suggest
that Pakistan is producing two-stage thermonuclear weapons, but
the types of facilities under construction suggest that Pakistan has
decided to supplement and perhaps replace its heavy uranium-based
weapons with smaller, lighter plutonium-based designs that could be
delivered further by ballistic missiles than its current warheads and
that could be used in cruise missiles. Pakistan has repeatedly stated
that it won’t break the testing moratorium that has been in place in
South Asia since 1998, yet if its neighbor India tested a weapon, Pakistan
would likely follow suit for political and technical reasons.

Nuclear command and control:
Concern about the physical security of Pakistan’s nuclear
weapons has increased in the past few
years, particularly in light of the insurgent uprisings in the northern
parts of the country. In February 2008, Lt. Gen. Khalid Kidwai,
the director general of Pakistan’s Strategic Plans Division (SPD),
who is in charge of all aspects of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons except
field operations, acknowledged that at nuclear facilities the “state
of alertness had gone up.” “We have institutionalized the structures
[overseeing the nuclear arsenal] and introduced modern technology
so there are sufficient firewalls, safety, and security built into the
chain of command, as well as into the weapons and weapon producing
facilities.”7 Then-President Pervez Musharraf later added that
the SPD and the Army Strategic Force Command has “a strength of
between 12,000 and 15,000 people.”

U.S. officials have said there is no reason to believe that Pakistan’s
arsenal faces an imminent threat. Yet their knowledge of the
arsenal is limited, as the Pakistani government has deflected U.S.
requests for more information about the location and security of the
sites, perhaps fearful that U.S. commandos might seize them if the
nation tumbles into chaos. We do not know the status of a U.S. security-
assistance program intended to upgrade the physical protection
of some Pakistani facilities and train guards, but it is apparently
behind schedule. “We are largely relying on assurances, the same
assurances we have been hearing for years,” one senior official told
the New York Times. “The worse things get, the more strongly they
hew to the line, ‘Don’t worry, we’ve got it under control.’”

We do not know what kinds of “use-control” features Pakistan
employs on its nuclear weapons. Lieutenant General Kidwai reportedly
said in 2006, “Pakistani nuclear controls include some functional
equivalent to the two-man rule and permissive action links” used
by other nuclear weapons states.10 Furthermore, the weapons are
believed to be stored unassembled with the nuclear cores separate
from the rest of the weapon, and the weapon storage areas are some
distance from the delivery vehicles, under normal circumstances.
The precise location of the storage areas is extremely sensitive
information, but U.S. officials recently provided a general picture of
the situation. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently told Congress
that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons “are widely dispersed in the
country—they are not at a central location,” and senior U.S. officials
later said that most of the arsenal was south of Islamabad.

Nuclear-capable aircraft:
The Pakistani Air Force most likely
assigns its U.S.-manufactured F-16s a nuclear mission, though it
also could use French-manufactured Mirage Vs or JF-17. JF-17 was developed by Pakistan and China after US refused to give Pakistan deliveries of F-16 in the 90's.

The Pakistani Air Force deploys its F-16s with Squadrons 9 and 11
at Sargodha Air Base, which is located 160 kilometers northwest of
Lahore. The F-16 has a refueled range of more than 1,600 kilometers,
and that range can be extended if the planes are equipped with drop
tanks. The aircraft can carry up to 5,450 kilograms externally on one
under-fuselage centerline pylon and six underwing stations. The
F-16s with nuclear missions under NATO control can each carry up
to two B61 nuclear bombs, but Pakistan’s F-16s most likely carry a
single bomb on the centerline pylon because the arsenal’s uraniumbased
weapons likely are heavier than the 343-kilogram B61.
Sargodha’s weapons storage area has igloos but lacks the extra
security features that would suggest that the base stores nuclear
weapons. The assembled nuclear bombs and/or bomb components
assigned to the F-16s stationed at the base may be kept at the large
Sargodha Weapons Storage Complex 10 kilometers south of Sargodha.
Another alternative is that, fearing a first strike by India, Pakistan
stores its weapons at operational or satellite bases west of Sargodha,
where the F-16s could disperse to pick up their bombs.


Ballistic missiles:
Pakistan has three types of operational ballistic
missiles that are considered capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.
These include the short-range ballistic missiles Ghaznavi (Hatf-
3) and Shaheen-1 (Hatf-4) and the medium-range Ghauri (Hatf-5). A
fourth missile, the Shaheen-2 (Hatf-6), may soon become operational.
The solid-fueled, single-stage Ghaznavi entered service in 2004
and can deliver a 500-kilogram payload approximately 400 kilometers.
We don’t know how many Ghaznavis Pakistan deploys or keeps
in storage. The missile is believed to be derived from the Chinese
M-11 missile, of which approximately 30 were delivered to Pakistan
in the early 1990s. The Ghaznavi is launched from a four-axle, roadmobile
transporter-erector-launcher; Pakistan deploys fewer than 50
such launchers. Some Ghaznavis might be deployed south of Sargodha
at a large weapons storage facility that has 12 missile garages. Pakistan
test-launched a Ghaznavi on February 13, 2008, from an undisclosed
location as part of the army’s annual field-training exercise.
Production of the missile appears to be complete, with the last batch
reportedly delivered to the army in April 2007.13
Pakistan’s Shaheen-1 is a reverse engineered M-9 missile originally
supplied by China. The solid-fueled, single-stage missile has been in
service since 2003, can strike targets in excess of 450 kilometers—
though some observers suggest the range is closer to 700 kilometers
—and can deliver a payload of up to 1,000 kilograms. The Shaheen-1
is carried on a four-axle, road-mobile launcher similar to the one
that carries the Ghaznavi, and like the Ghaznavi, fewer than 50 such
launchers are deployed. The army last test-launched the Shaheen-1
on January 25, 2008.

Islamabad claims that its two-stage Shaheen-2 medium-range ballistic
missile, unveiled seven years ago at the Pakistan Day parade
but still under development, has a range of 2,050 kilometers and can
carry a 1,000-kilogram payload. The missile is carried on a six-axle,
road-mobile launcher, and satellite images of the National Defense
Complex near Fatehjang appear to show 15 launchers at various
stages of being equipped with their missile erector. The army conducted
two operational readiness launches of the missile on April 19
and April 21, 2008, indicating that the Shaheen-2 is close to becoming
operational.

The 1,200-kilometer medium-range Ghauri (Hatf-5) is Pakistan’s
only liquid-fueled nuclear-capable ballistic missile. First deployed in
2003, the single-stage missile can deliver a payload of 700–1,000 kilograms.
The Ghauri might be replaced by the Shaheen-2.

Cruise missiles:
Pakistan also is developing two cruise missiles
that U.S. Air Force intelligence estimates may be nuclear capable.
The ground-launched Babur (Hatf-7) has been test-launched five
times, most recently on December 11, 2007. U.S. intelligence agencies
estimate that the missile has a range of about 320 kilometers, while
media reports frequently suggest the range is from 500 to 700 kilometers.
Pakistani officials describe the Babur as a “low-flying, terrain-
hugging missile with high maneuverability, pinpoint accuracy,
and radar-avoidance features.”14 The Babur appears to be similar to
the new Chinese DH-10 air-launched cruise missile and the Russian
AS-15. The Babur is significantly slimmer than Pakistan’s ballistic
missiles, which suggests that Pakistani engineers have made progress
in warhead miniaturization, perhaps based on a new and smaller
plutonium warhead. A submarine-launched version of the Babur,
which has been rumored to be in the work, has not yet materialized.
The air-launched Ra’ad (Hatf-8), or “Thunder,” which has the
same range as the Babur, was first test-launched on August 25, 2007
by a Mirage aircraft; a second test-launch occurred on May 8, 2008.
A Pakistani military spokesman described the Ra’ad as a low-altitude,
terrain-following missile with high maneuverability and as
equipped with “special stealth capabilities” to provide “a great strategic
standoff capability on land and at sea.”

Aircraft:
F-16a/b 1,600 1 bomb (4,500)
mirage V 2,100 1 bomb (4,000)
JF-17 1,600 1 bomb (4500)

Ballistic missiles :
Ghaznavi (Hatf-3) ~400 conventional or nuclear (500)
Shaheen-1 (Hatf-4) 450+ conventional or nuclear (1,000)
Shaheen-2 (Hatf-6)* 2,000+ conventional or nuclear (1,000)
Ghauri (Hatf-5) 1,200+ conventional or nuclear (1,000)

Cruise missiles:
babur (Hatf-7)* 320+ conventional or nuclear
ra’ad (Hatf-8)* 320+ conventional or nuclear

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