Index

How 'Shaheen' Was Developed

by Hanif Khalid
Rawalpindi Jang 19 April 1999 page 10

As a result of missile tests on 14 and 15 April 1999, after the nuclear test on 28 May 1998, the defense of Pakistan has become invincible. As far as the test firing of the Ghauri-II missile is concerned, it is a gift of the KRL scientists and engineers to the people of Pakistan. Dr. A. Q. Khan is the chief of the KRL. As numerous articles have been published after the first test of the Ghauri missile on 6 April 1998, in these lines I am giving necessary information regarding the famous missile of the National Defense Complex (NDC).

The Prime Minister laid the foundation of NDC during his first tenure in 1993. The objective of this institution was to develop necessary weapons for the national defense. The Shaheen missile program was initiated in 1995 and it was assigned to the NDC. Dr. Samar Mubarikmand is the founder and director general of this institution. In 1995 the work on the missile was initiated for which the then Chief of Army Staff, General Abdul Waheed Kakar himself got the necessary permission from the then Prime Minister. The strategy for this project was that the resources that are available within different institutions must be fully utilized. In addition where possible the services of the national industry must also be used. Only that infrastructure should be created within the National Development Complex for which capabilities are not available within the country, such as developing a certain piece of equipment or part. This gave two benefits. First, the missile was prepared in a record short period of time, and second, it did not cost too much. The facilities and infrastructure available with SUPARCO [Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission] were utilized on their premises. The facilities and infrastructure available within different industries of Pakistan was also utilized to the fullest. The industries of Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Gujrat and other cities were also used.

Before the beginning of this project, the National Defense Complex had a reasonable infrastructure for missile production. After the development of numerous parts of the missile from various places these were brought in the NDC for integration. After passing these parts through the quality control process the missile was developed. Pakistani scientists and engineers, following this procedure, developed Shaheen-I in a short period of two and half years. Shaheen is the only example in the world where a missile of such high technology was prepared in such a short time. At the moment, Pakistan's missile development capabilities are enough to comprehensively meet the national defense needs.

In fact, it can produce double the missiles required for national defense. In the beginning of 1998, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif suggested the name of the missile by taking a cue from the philosopher of Pakistan, Allama lqbal's poetic symbol shaheen (eagle). He also kept in mind the insignia of the Pakistan Airforce, which is also a shaheen (eagle). Fortunately, at the beginning of its missile development program, Pakistan got the services of such Pakistani brains, both inside and outside the country, which can be compared with the best missile scientists and engineers of the world. It is our good luck that just as we have an abundance of talent in the field of cricket, hockey and other fields, similarly we have plenty of talent in the field of technology. The Pakistani nation is an intelligent nation. For the Shaheen Program, Dr. Samar Mubarik gathered the best foreign qualified Pakistani scientists and engineers from within and outside the country under the roof of the NDC. Then he provided them the best work environment and that is the reason that the best missile of South Asia was developed in a record short period.

The Shaheen missile was prepared with the spirit of nationalism. Had Pakistani scientists and engineers including the Director General of the NDC worked for a European country, they would have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in monthly salaries. However, from the Director General to the modest technician, all have willingly worked on very ordinary wages compared to European standards and with their day in and day out efforts made the Pakistani nation proud. The NDC only offered a good working environment, love and respect to the young engineers and scientists. They didn't even take weekends off. They even worked on Eid holidays and did shopping for the project on these days. These young scientists and engineers even spent their nights in their workplaces like the Muslims spend their time on simple rugs in Mecca and Madina during the Haj. These scientists and engineers were not paid much higher salaries than the ordinary pay scale. They were just given 10 to 15 percent higher pay. However, the NDC does make such arrangements that when these scientists are in the field their immediate families do not face any problem. Due to this environment, the NDC managed the amazing work of the Shaheen missile. The NDC did not coerce its employees to work but got the job done with love and by providing them a home-like work environment.

The Shaheen missile was conceived keeping in mind two things. First, what are our defense needs. Second, which of the enemy's military installations should come within our range. These were kept in mind while determining the range of the Shaheen missile.

Everyone knows that India has established most of its air bases, cantonments, and Corps headquarters within 300 to 400 kilometers from Pakistan's border. These include the military bases of Pathankot, Halwara, Amritser, Jampur, Chandigarah, Delhi, Jalandar, Ambala, and Rajestan. The distance of Delhi from Pakistan's border is less than 400 kilometers. It was also kept in mind while designing the Shaheen missile that it should have a ready-to-fire system and excellent accuracy must be developed with the terminal guidance system. In other words, efforts were made to make Shaheen missiles state-of-the-art, the fastest and most deadly weapon of South Asia. After successful test-firing of the Shaheen missile on April 15, one observer said on an Indian television channel, "Pakistan could not have prepared a missile like Shaheen". This remark is the biggest compliment to the engineers and scientists of the National Development Complex.

To achieve these capabilities, the NDC developed solid fuel for the Shaheen. It is very difficult to develop a missile that uses solid fuel. India test-fired the Agni-I missile in 1994. Its one engine used liquid and the other engine used solid fuel. India took five more years to prepare Agni-II, whose both engines use solid fuel. This gives an idea of how difficult is the technology of solid fuel. The advantage of solid fuel is that it enables a missile to be launched on 15 minutes notice. However, missiles with liquid fuel need four to six hours to launch after receiving such orders. The reason for this is that the liquid fuel cannot be kept in the missile's tank for more than one hour, as its components Nitro acid and the other Kerosene oil, if left in the tank of the missile, will make holes in the tank. On the other hand, solid fuel can be kept in the missile. It does not damage the missile even over a period of ten years. The solid fuel does not even expire. Pakistani engineers and scientists have used this solid fuel after first developing it. It has not been imported as no other country can provide even one kilogram of it.

Pakistan has also prepared a terminal guidance system. Its development was the biggest challenge for Pakistani scientists and engineers. The development of this system has given maximum accuracy to the Shaheen missile. This means that the Shaheen missile has a 100 percent capability of destroying its target. It was also kept in mind while designing the Shaheen missile that it should be so fast that no missile defense system could intercept it. During the test flight of the Shaheen missile it was observed that its speed is three times more than the latest Indian missile, Agni-II. This has been made possible as a very powerful rocket motor has been designed for the Shaheen missile. This enabled the Shaheen missile to reach its target in less than seven minutes.

Shaheen is a medium-range ballistic missile. All long and medium-range missiles of the world in the initial stage of their flight go straight up. Shaheen on Thursday (April 15) at quarter to ten gained an altitude of ten kilometers in the first 20 seconds after its launching. After 20 seconds of vertical flight it started turning toward the target. In order to cover the launching of Shaheen four camera teams were stationed at the Somiani launching pad. The Shaheen missile defeated these seasoned cameramen and most of the cameras could not record the initial stage of its flight completely. The Director general of the NDC, Dr. Samar Mubarik Mand, was present at the Somiani launching pad with his team. Before the launching of Shaheen, the scientists and engineers of NDC recited the Quran and prayed for the success of the missile. Soon after the launching, Shaheen's motor produced a powerful flame and this kept tailing the missile for a long time. This flame was very similar to the flame of the United States' Apollo rocket. The powerful flame of Shaheen was indicative of its thrust and power. The combination of Shaheen's lightening speed, terminal guidance system and solid fuel have made it the most state-of-the-art, fastest and deadliest missile of South Asia. All these capabilities have not been integrated in any one of the missiles of South Asia.

On the night of April 15 an analyst who is the Director of the Institute of Strategic studies, Quaid-e-Azam University, endorsed on Pakistan television that these three capabilities are not integrated in any other missile of South Asia. This writer has found from reliable sources that though Agni is heavy and has a longer range, due to its heavy weight its speed is very slow and it does not even have a terminal guidance system. That is the reason that although India announced the test-firing of Agni-II, it did not divulge its circular error probability. It has kept it secret and at the same time has not revealed whether it fell on target or not. In contrast, the hundred percent target-hit for Shaheen has been ascertained. The missile hit its target on Thursday and on the same day its warhead was found from the target area in Chaghi. The warhead went 15 to 20 meters deep into the ground and created a crater of 10 to 12 meters radius. The destroyed parts of the warhead scattered in around one kilometer area. On the next day (Friday), 40 to 50 kilometers away from the target, villagers found the burnt motor of the Shaheen missile in the desert. They informed the authorities, who later removed it from the area.

The Shaheen missile weighs 9 tons and is filled with approximately 7 tons of solid fuel. The weight of its motor is one ton and it has a warhead of one ton. The test firing of Shaheen-I has provided some very useful information to the scientists and engineers of the National Defense Complex, which will help in completing the Shaheen-II. This missile, with a 2500-kilometer range, will soon reach its completion stage. The three special features of Shaheen-I have also been included in this version. The Shaheen-II missile will consist of two rocket motors (two stages.). The whole of India will come under its range and this was the basic purpose of developing Shaheen-II. Pakistan does not have any other enemy country in the neighborhood. NDC developed the design of Shaheen, manufactured it, and those parts that were planned to be manufactured from the Pakistani industry were developed according to the required standards under the direct supervision of the NDC. The National Defense Complex has already started production of Shaheen according to the needs of Pakistan's armed forces. Pakistan, after meeting its defense needs, can export these missiles to the international market and annually earn hundreds of millions of dollars. This will help in providing respectable employment to those thousands of engineers and scientists who in order to provide better living standards to their families have gone abroad.

The successful test-firing of Ghauri and Shaheen missiles after the nuclear tests have given a pride to the whole Islamic world. Several OIC member countries including Iran and Saudi Arabia congratulated Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Shairf on this historical success of Pakistan. Moreover, due to these successes the people are no more awed by India's military preparations.


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