Pakistan’s Missiles: Shaheen I Ballistic Missile


Shaheen I is a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) with a maximum range of 750 kilometers and a payload of 700-1000 kg. A two-stage solid-fuel rocket motor propels it. Because it does not need to be fuelled before launch, the Shaheen I can deliver either a conventional or nuclear payload faster than liquid-fueled missiles like the Ghauri, decreasing deployment time dramatically. The Shaheen 1A, an extended-range variant of Shaheen I, has a range of up to 900 kilometers. The joint venture between NESCOM and the National Defence Complex planned and developed it and designated it as Hatf IV.

The Shaheen 1 missile was initially unveiled in March 1999, after Pakistan began building it in 1993. A collaborative team of NDC and SRC led by Dr. Samar Mubarakmand performed the system’s first officially acknowledged flight test at the Sonmiani Test Range in April 1999. Testing might have started as early as July 1997, according to certain sources. Following that, tests were conducted in October 2002, during the height of the military standoff with India, October 2003, December 2004, November 2006, January 2008, and May 2010. In March 2003, the Pakistan Army Strategic Force Command put the missile into service.

At launch, the Shaheen 1 is about 12 meters long, 1 meter wide, and weighs 9,500 kg. It has a range of 750 km and can carry a single 1,000 kg high-explosive, chemical, or 35 kt nuclear warhead payload. It is powered by a single-stage solid-propellant engine and has a 200 m CEP accuracy. It’s directed by an inertial navigation system and uses a “post-separation attitude adjustment system” to improve accuracy and complicate interception.

Read More: Pakistan’s Missiles: Shaheen II Ballistic Missile

Pakistan successfully test-fired a modified Shaheen I, dubbed Shaheen 1A by authorities, a medium-range ballistic missile on April 25, 2012. It’s an enhanced version of the Shaheen 1, with double the range of its predecessor and superior accuracy.

On November 17, 2015, December 15, 2015, and March 26, 2021, three further flight tests were conducted. These missiles provide Pakistan with necessary deterrence viz a viz its adversaries in the region.

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.

Read More: Pakistan’s Missiles: Shaheen-III Ballistic Missile

With the aid of captured German technology and scientists, the United States developed its own arsenal of even more powerful intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of wreaking nuclear havoc on targets after the war.

Now not only do Pakistan and India have ballistic missiles but also other countries such as Iran, North Korea, etc have built up large arsenals of Ballistic Missiles. It is also believed that Saudi Arabia is also building up its ballistic missile program in response to increased Houthis attacks on KSA and also Iran’s successful ballistic missile program has pushed KSA to achieve this power.


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Syed Ali Abbas
Syed Ali Abbas is a Research Assistant at the Center for International Strategic Studies Islamabad and President of Global Defense Insight. He tweets @smalinaqvi05.


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