Air Weapons: Raad Saves Illegal Harpoon

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February 19, 2016: In January 2016 Pakistan carried out another successful test of its stealthy Raad (Hatf 8) cruise missile. This is the air launched version of the original surface launched weapon. Air launched Raad has a range of 350 kilometers. This version was only revealed in 2015 after another successful test. Raad is Pakistan’s second cruise missile effort and appears to be an original design. It was first tested in 2007, weighs 1.1 tons and can carry a nuclear or conventional warhead.

Pakistan’s first cruise missile was the Hatf 7 (Barbur), which was first tested in 2005. Hatf 7 appeared to be a copy of the American Tomahawk. Several of these had crashed on Pakistani territory during a 1998 American attack on Taliban camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan had plenty of time to study the wreckage. The Tomahawk was not terribly high tech to begin with and easy for the Pakistanis to copy. GPS made it easier to replace the earlier (and only high tech aspect of the missile) terrain following guidance system. Hatf 7 is a 1.5 ton, 6.8 meter (22 foot) long missile has a range of 700 kilometers. It carries a 225 kg (500 pound) warhead, and the Pakistanis developed a nuclear weapon that fit in Hatf 7. This missile can be used from ships or aircraft. Because of its longer range Hatf 7 remains in service.

There is another Pakistani cruise missile that receives little publicity. In 2009 the United States accused Pakistan of stealing military technology by modifying American made Harpoon anti-ship missiles (received in the late 1980s) to attack land targets. The 545 kg (1,200 pound) Harpoon has a 221 kg (487 pound) warhead and a range of 220 kilometers. It approaches the target low, at about 860 kilometers an hour. GPS gets the missile to the general vicinity of the target, then radar takes over to identify and hit the target. The Harpoon has successful combat experience going back to the 1980s. Most Indian warships (corvettes and frigates) are small enough to be destroyed by one Harpoon. The modified Harpoons can hit land targets like air defense radars or headquarters. Pakistan denied the charges and now the issue is moot because Raad is in service.

 


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