** Important THREAD to follow**
Pakistan continues to prioritize the development and deployment of new nuclear weapons and delivery systems as part of its ‘full spectrum deterrence posture’ vis-à-vis India.

According to SIPRI YearBook 2020, It is estimated that Pakistan possessed approximately 160 nuclear warheads as of January 2020.

Pakistan is believed to be gradually increasing its military fissile material holdings, which include both weapon-grade plutonium and highly enriched uranium.

#Pakistan have 3 different delivery systems for #Nuclear Weapons.

1) Aircrafts
2) Land based missiles
3) Sea bases missiles

• Aircraft
The aircraft that are most likely to have a nuclear delivery role are the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) Mirage III and Mirage V aircraft.

The Mirage III has been used for developmental test flights of the nuclear-capable Ra’ad (Hatf-8) air-launched cruise missile, while the Mirage V is believed to have been given a strike role with nuclear gravity bombs.

The PAF currently operates about 160 Mirage aircraft, of which approximately 120 are fighter-bombers. According to reports in 2019, Pakistan plans to buy an additional 36 Mirage V aircraft from Egypt.

The nuclear capability of Pakistan’s F-16 fighter-bombers is unclear but many analysts continue to assign a potential nuclear role to the aircraft. pakistan did cold tests using F-16s

Pakistan’s F-16s are listed as having a potential nuclear role but the nuclear weapons carried by airborne nuclear forces are assigned to Mirage aircraft.

#Pakistan is manufacturing a significant number of JF-17 aircraft, jointly developed with #China, to replace the ageing Mirage aircraft. Pakistan currently operates about 120 JF-17s in five to six squadrons, with upgraded #aircraft being added.

Initial reports on upgrades to the JF-17 suggested that the PAF aimed to integrate the dual-capable Ra’ad ALCM onto the aircraft.

The Raad ALCM is intended to provide the PAF’s fighter-bombers with a standoff nuclear capability. It has been flight tested seven times since 2007. An improved version, the Ra’ad-II, was displayed for the first time in 2017 and is reported to have a range of 600 kilometres.
The Ra’ad-II appears to have new engine air-intake and tail-wing configurations.

• Land-based missiles
Pakistan is expanding its nuclear-capable ballistic missile arsenal, which consists of short and medium-range systems. It currently deploys the Abdali (Hatf-2), the Ghaznavi (Hatf-3), Shaheen-I (Hatf-4) and Nasr (Hatf-9) solid-fuelled,
road-mobile short range ballistic missiles. An extended-range version of the Shaheen-I, the Shaheen-IA, is still in development. The Ghaznavi, Nasr and Shaheen-I were all test launched in 2019.

The arsenal currently includes two types of medium-range ballistic missile: the liquid-fuelled, road-mobile Ghauri (Hatf-5), with a range of 1250 km; and the two-stage, solid-fuelled, road-mobile Shaheen-II (Hatf-6) with a range of 2000 km.

The Shaheen-II was test launched in May 2019.
A longer-range variant, the Shaheen-III, is currently in development but has been test launched once—in 2015.

The missile has a declared range
of 2750 km, making it the longest-range system to be tested by Pakistan to date. A variant of the Shaheen-III, the Ababeel, which is possibly equipped with multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) technology,

is also in development. It was last test launched in 2017.

In addition to expanding its arsenal of land-based ballistic missiles, Pakistan continues to develop the nuclear-capable Babur (Hatf-7) ground launched cruise missile. The #Babur has been test launched at least 12 times since 2005

and has been used in army field training since 2011. An extended range version, which is known as Babur-2 and sometimes referred to as Babur Weapon System-1 (B), has a claimed range of 750 km, as against the 350-km range of the original version.

It was first test launched in 2016 and was tested for a second time in 2018.

Sea-based missiles
As part of its efforts to achieve a secure second-strike capability, Pakistan is seeking to create a nuclear triad by developing a sea-based nuclear force.

The Babur-3 submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) appears to be intended to develop a nuclear capability for the Pakistan Navy’s three diesel-electric Agosta class submarines. The Babur-3 was first test launched in 2017 and was tested for a second time in 2018.

Pakistan has ordered eight AIP-powered conventional submarines from China, the first of which is expected to be delivered in 2022. It is possible that these submarines, known as the Hangor class, might also be given a nuclear role with the Babur-3 SLCM.


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