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Shaheen-I [M-9?]

In July 1997 Pakistan allegedly test-fired an 800 km missile. The Pakistani Government acknowledged that a missile had been tested, but did not identify its range. Indian sources assert the missile was a Chinese M-9. American analysts, however, have concluded that the missile was possibly an improved M-11. Very little information is available on this alleged launch, and considerable confusion extends to the Pakistani nomeclature for this missile.

In early June 1998 a leading Pakistani scientist Dr. Samar Mubarik Mund, director General of the National Development complex, stated that Pakistan was prepared to test fire the medium range Shaheen-I missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads up to 700 kilometers.

The public record does not disclose a consistent basis for application of the "Hatf-3" nomenclature to a specific missile system. On 03 July 1997 Pakistan conducted a missile test that unofficial press reports claimed was an 800-km range Hatf-3 missile [the nomenclature associated with this test was never offially confirmed]. The test followed an uproar in Pakistan over the alleged deployment of 250-kilometre range Prithvi (Earth) missiles by rival India on Pakistan's border. While Indian sources asserted that the missile was a Chinese M-9, US analysts concluded that the missile was most likely an improved M-11. Very little additional information is available on this alleged launch.

The Shaheen-I missile is probably a version of China's M-9 missile, which Islamabad may have acquired in 1991 but had kept under wraps for fear of sanctions. Pakistan is believed to have a capability to deploy a nuclear warhead weighing around 500 kilograms. If its ascribed range/payload curve proves out, the Hatf-4 / Shaheen would have sufficient range from relatively secure positions west of the border with India.

The public debut of the "Shaheen" [a royal white falcon] in Pakistan's missile inventory came with a highly publicized flight test on 15 April 1999, which added to the confusion concerning Pakistan's missile imports from China. The claimed 750 km range of the Shaheen is roughly double the standard range of the Hatf-3/M-11, and is consistent with the range of the much large Chinese M-9. However, the still photos and video released by Pakistan of the "Shaheen" missile are clearly the M-9, not the M-11, and the Shaheen Transporter Erector Launcher [TEL] is clearly a modified version of the M-11 TEL.

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