The Nasr (Hatf 9) is a Pakistani short-range ballistic missile with a range of 70 kilometers developed by the National Development Complex (NDC). It was initially disclosed in April 2011 and was dubbed the “Multi-tube Ballistic Missile” because the launch vehicle contains numerous missiles, allowing for rapid nuclear delivery.
In May 2012, February 2013, November 2013, September 2014, and July 2017, Pakistan underwent further testing. In 2013, the missile was deployed by the Pakistan Army Strategic Forces Command.
The Nasr has been in development in Pakistan since the mid-2000s and is expected to deliver a sub-kiloton nuclear payload.
In its initial version, the single-stage, solid-fueled missile had a range of 60 kilometers, but in 2017, it was improved to a range of 70 kilometers. It is transported on a four-axle transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) capable of loading up to four missile launch containers into a modular system.
As a “low yield” missile, analysts think Nasr was meant to target “mechanized formations like army brigades and divisions.” This prompts us to consider Pakistan’s strategy in terms of being more Indian-centric. As part of the Indian “Cold Start” doctrine, such a line of assault within Pakistan is emphasized. Countering India’s “Cold Start doctrine” has been a priority for Pakistani strategists. Despite the fact that India officially disputes the existence of its “Cold Start” doctrine, it was admitted by the then Indian Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat (late).
The doctrine calls for India’s Armed Services to conduct offensive operations as part of coordinated battlegroups deep within Pakistani territory.
Pakistan has stated that these tactical nuclear weapons are aimed at Indian forces on Pakistani soil. Experts believe that if employed just within Pakistani territory, it would defeat the cold start philosophy and increase ionizing radiation exposure.
The Nasr strengthens Pakistan’s Full Spectrum Deterrence stance against current and developing threats, such as enemy ballistic missile defense and other Air Defense Systems.
A ballistic missile, according to the Federation of American Scientists, has a ballistic trajectory throughout the majority of its flight route. As is, once the missile’s propellant is used, the missile continues to move in the same manner that a bullet does after being shot from a gun.
The missile’s direction cannot be changed after the fuel is depleted. It takes a route dictated by the speed with which it launched and the force of gravity pulling it back toward the Earth’s surface. Gravity eventually directs the missile — and its payload, which may be an explosion, a chemical or biological weapon, or a nuclear bomb — toward its intended target.
The Germans deployed a ballistic missile called the V-2 to strike London during World War II, which was the first-time ballistic missiles were utilized. Because the V-2s soared too high into the upper atmosphere and moved too quickly, the British were unable to stop them.
Syed Ali Abbas is a Research Assistant at the Center for International Strategic Studies Islamabad and President of Global Defense Insight. He tweets @smalinaqvi05.