Hatf-VIII (Ra'ad)

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This article is about the Pakistani air-launched cruise missile. For Iran's family of missiles, see RAND (missile family).
Ra'ad (Hatf VIII)
Pakistan air force 1.png
Ra'ad is displayed with F-16s system functions. Ra'ad on display
Type Air-launched cruise missile (ALCM)
Place of origin  Pakistan
Service history
In service December 2007 – Present
Used by  Pakistan Air Force
Production history
Manufacturer Air Weapons Complex (AWC)
Unit cost Unknown
Weight 1,100 kg
Length 4.85 m
Warhead 450 kg HE or nuclear 10 to 35 kt[1]

Engine Turbofan
350 km
Speed Subsonic
Combat aircraft
External media
Ra'ad test flight
Zoomed in view from tv image
Youtube video of Ra'ad test launch

The Ra'ad (Urdu: رعد‎, "Thunder") is an air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) developed by Pakistan and operational with the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). Though initially launched from a PAF Dassault Mirage III ROSE combat aircraft during testing, the missile is planned to be integrated with and launched from other PAF platforms such as the JF-17 combat aircraft.[2] The Ra'ad's current range is stated to be 350 km.[3]

Ra'ad is designed to attack fixed enemy installations (such as radar posts, command nodes and stationary surface-to-air missile launchers) at stand-off range, keeping the launching aircraft away from enemy air defence systems. The missile can also be armed with a 10-35 kt nuclear warhead.[1] The accuracy of the missile is reported to be comparable to Pakistan's Babur cruise missile, which has "pinpoint accuracy" according to official sources.[4]

Development and design[edit]

After a successful test-launch in 2005 of the Babur (also known as Hatf VII), Pakistan's first cruise missile, it was stated by officials that the Babur would be modified to be launched from airborne platforms. But the Ra'ad, developed by Pakistan's Air Weapons Complex and NESCOM,[5] appears to be an entirely new missile, as is evident by the new name and a new official designation of Hatf VIII.

The PAF by April 1999 had commenced contractual negotiations with Denel Aerospace of South Africa for co-development of a family of ALCMs under Project H-4. The first ALCM to be developed under Project H-4 was a 120km-range surgical missile armed with high-explosive runway-cratering bomblets, as well as a passive radiation seeker for targeting hostile ground-based air defence radars. This is a derivative of the MUPSOW ALCM that has been under development by Kentron since the early 1990s and incorporates twin side-mounted air intakes and fixed horizontal and vertical tailfins. Following two successful qualification flights of the MUPSOW, Pakistan and Kentron (Denel) began work on developing the ‘Raad’ by carrying out minor modifications to the MUPSOW’s airframe, which included a stretched fuselage, a fixed ventral air intake and twin vertical tailfins, and incorporation of twin swivelling horizontal fins.[6]

The Ra'ad's airframe is designed with stealth capability,[7][8] provided by the shape of the airframe and the materials used in its construction, to give the missile a low detection probability and allow it to penetrate enemy air defence systems.[3] Designed to carry conventional or nuclear warheads, the missile would most likely be used for precision air strikes on enemy command centres, radars, surface-to-air missile launchers, ballistic missile launchers and stationary warships.[9]

Operational history[edit]

A ROSE Mirage IIIDP with Ra'ad system.

Ra'ad was tested for the first time on 25 August 2007. An official press-release by the military at the time of the test declared that the missile gave Pakistan Air Force a "strategic standoff capability on land and at sea," indicating that Ra'ad may be launched at sea-based targets such as ships, as well as land-based targets.[3][10][11]

On 8 May 2008, Ra'ad was tested for the second time, this time fired from a Dassault Mirage III ROSE fighter of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).[12][13]

A third successful test of Ra'ad (ALCM) was carried out on 29 April 2011, this time again fired from a Dassault Mirage fighter of Pakistan Air force.[14][15][16] Fourth test of Ra'ad (ALCM) was carried out on 30 May 2012. Another test of Ra'ad (ALCM) was carried out on 2 Feb 2015.[17]

See also[edit]

Related developments
Similar missiles
Related lists


External links[edit]