The Hatf is a solid fuelled tactical ballistic missile system developed by Pakistan’sNational Development Complex (NDC). It is referred to by Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations organization as a “Multi Tube Ballistic Missile” because the launch vehicle carries multiple missiles. Its existence was revealed after a test in 2011 and it appears to have entered service after further testing in 2013.
According to defence analysts and missile technology experts the system appears to have been developed as a “low-yield battlefield deterrent” targeted at “mechanized forces like armed brigades and divisions”. Therefore it is believed by analysts that the system is deployed to deter and respond to India’s “Cold Start” doctrine. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations agency says the Hatf IX was developed to “add deterrence value… at shorter ranges… with high accuracy, shoot and scoot attributes” for “quick response.”
The Hatf IX Nasr is a ballistic missile which carries a sub-kiloton nuclear warhead out to a range of 60 km (37.3 mi). It is believed to be derived from the WS-2 Weishi Rockets system developed by China’s Sichuan Aerospace Corporation. Four missiles are carried on the same Chinese-origin 8×8 transporter erector launcher (TEL) as the Pakistan Army’s A-100E 300mm Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), a Chinese version of the BM-30 Smerch.
The missile can carry nuclear warheads of appropriate yield, with high accuracy. It also has an inflight maneuver capability and is specially designed to defeat all known anti-tactical missile defense systems. It also has the ability to fire at a target and immediately relocate to another position to avoid enemy counter-fire. This was confirmed by Mansoor Ahmed, of Quaid-e-Azam University’s Department of Defence and Strategic Studies. “Its in-flight maneuverability is being improved to defeat potential Indian missile defenses against artillery rockets and short-range ballistic missiles, such as the Israeli Iron Dome system.” He further went on to say that the system is “fully integrated into the centralized command-and-control structure through round the clock situational awareness in a digitized network centric environment to the decision makers at National Command Center. Nasr is obviously India-specific and the salvo launch capability is a key ability in stopping Indian armored thrusts into Pakistani territory.”
The missile’s existence was first reported after a test-firing on 19 April 2011. A 4-missile salvo fired on the 5th October 2013 is believed to have marked the conclusion of the testing programme and the system’s likely entry into service.