• Saturday, May 30, 2020

Is Pakistan military building base for air-dropped nuclear bombs? What satellite images show

Discussion in 'Pakistan Strategic Forces' started by Zarvan, Dec 5, 2019.

  1. Zarvan

    Zarvan ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    48,293
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Ratings:
    +86 / 50,773 / -13
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Pakistan
    [​IMG]
    Image courtesy: Shadowbreak | ThePrint
    Text Size:
    When the Taliban was creeping closer to Islamabad in 2008-2009, Pakistan’s security dilemma was compounded by the discussion in the United States of a “Plan B” – to seize control of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons should the US deem fit. The Indian intelligence community was rife with stories of how the Pakistanis had started shifting their nuclear strike assets – from the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) to Sindh and Balochistan. Today, satellite images more or less confirm it.

    Satellite imagery provided by Shadowbreak & detected by @detresfa reveals significant expansion of two high-security bases. One is Samungli, on the outskirts of Quetta in Balochistan; and the other is Manjhand, a few kilometres outside Hyderabad in Sindh. There is significant evidence to show that these are also storage sites for Pakistani nuclear weapons.

    [​IMG]
    Image courtesy: Shadowbreak | ThePrint
    SAMUNGLI
    The site in question lies between two military bases in Balochistan – the Samungli air base (home to the 23rd and 28th squadrons of the Pakistan Air Force, known to fly the F7 and JF-17 fighters); and the Khalid air base, believed to be a drone base, and within a highly protected heavy security quadrant. In spite of this, the additional security at this site is notable.

    [​IMG]
    Figure 2 | Image courtesy: Shadowbreak | ThePrint
    In Figure 2, notice the triple-layer fencing – the innermost concentric circle complete with watchtowers. In some areas, the distance between each fence varies. They are very tight and there is a significant distance between the three concentric circles, indicating a different threat perception at each perimeter. This triple fencing in a high-security area marks it out as a special zone, given that neither of the two airbases nearby (Khalid and Samungli) have triple-layer fencing despite major attacks there in 2014.

    The inset shows two of the several deep tunnels of 8-meter width each – one has a 14-meter container truck parked outside with a fence close by and another has some ongoing construction work next to it. The rail network starts only at the end of the road leading up to the tunnels. This restricts the movement of large missiles on Transporter Erector Launchers (TELs) being stored here – including larger ones in Pakistan’s arsenal that are capable of hitting India and that require a 20-meter-long TEL. So, the rail network is perhaps for transporting both heavy and highly secure material.

    [​IMG]
    Figure 3 | Image courtesy: Shadowbreak | ThePrint
    A close up (Figure 3 inset) indicates that the rail network isn’t meant to serve the military bases, but is for whatever is being stored in the two tunnels.

    [​IMG]
    Figure 4 | Image courtesy: Shadowbreak | ThePrint
    However, it is the two clusters of hardened shelters at this site that stand out. The first cluster marked as Area of Interest 1 (AOI1) shows four hardened bunkers. The frontal access to each is blocked by a double deflection wall. First, the extreme narrowness of the access to each bunker – about 4 meters wide (extrapolated by the width of the fire tender seen in Figure 4). Second, a set of hazard pits filled with water. As explained by the folks at Shadowbreak, this means “whatever is in those bunkers is highly explosive”, which is to say a water source to be used by fire tenders.

    [​IMG]
    Figure 5 | Image courtesy: Shadowbreak | ThePrint
    Also, note the regular fire patrols on site (Figure 5), with the base having a dedicated fire station.

    [​IMG]
    Figure 6 | Image courtesy: Shadowbreak | ThePrint
    AoI2 (Figure 6) shows some very different and interesting features.

    1) The hardened shelters here not only face the mountain ridge, but also have a single deflection wall in the front, at a greater distance from the access than AoI1 shelters. This indicates two things – first, larger vehicles can enter this shelter unlike AoI1; second, thinner deflection wall in the front shows a confidence in the mountains’ ability to thwart any oblique attack by smart munitions.

    2) The only purpose of the thicker deflection wall placed at a strange angle seems to be to deflect any blast from the access control to the outside. So, even if the bunker is lost, access to the compound still remains secure.

    In line with what we know of the Pakistani precautions to keep nuclear weapons dismantled and secure, the site seems to be an assembly for warheads. This separation plan involves the missiles/delivery platform being held by the Pakistan Army/Air Force, while the actual “physics package” and the fuse are held separately by two different officers within the Strategic Plans Division (SPD). The proximity to the airbases indicates this may be for fighter dropped nuclear gravity bombs. So, the tunnels store the disassembled bombs, with the fuse and physics package mating being done at AoI1, and the final mating with the delivery platform (possibly an air launched missile or a gravity bomb) being done at AoI2 with immediate access to a road for the airbase.

    The fact that the rail platforms and infrastructure neatly separate the storage tunnels and AoI1 could also indicate that larger, heavier warheads for missiles are stored here, which after a rapid assembly, can be transported by rail to another location. Curiously, if this is indeed a base for Pakistan’s air dropped nuclear bombs, then the presence of JF-17s – and not the F-16s – acquires importance, as it would mean that the JF-17s either have or will be made nuclear capable.

    Also read: Pakistan Navy’s nuke storage facility at Arabian Sea port of Ormara sees massive expansion

    MANJHAND
    This storage site is near the new Bholari air base close to Hyderabad in Sindh. Bholari was created specifically to receive the second-hand Jordanian F-16s that Pakistan bought in 2014.

    [​IMG]
    Figure 7 | Image courtesy: Shadowbreak | ThePrint
    [​IMG]
    Figure 8 | Image courtesy: Shadowbreak | ThePrint
    Again, triple-fencing is visible (Figure 7) as was the case in Samungli. The on and off presence of vehicles (Figure 8) also confirms a series of elaborate security precautions associated with this perimeter.

    [​IMG]
    Figure 9 | Image courtesy: Shadowbreak | ThePrint
    [​IMG]
    Figure 10 | Image courtesy: Shadowbreak | ThePrint
    [​IMG]
    Figure 11 | Image courtesy: Shadowbreak | ThePrint
    The underground storage tunnels (Figure 9) show the exact same protection with metal reinforcements as those in the Punjab air base of Sargodha, known to be a nuclear weapons capable air base (Figure 10).

    Also read: Pakistan is expanding its nuclear facility, satellite images of the last 9 months show

    Conclusion
    Aviation analyst Angad Singh of the Observer Research Foundation says, “It would be a mistake to conflate the presence of nuclear weapons near an air base, with the ability of that air base’s resident aircraft to drop nuclear bombs.” He agrees that “while the JF-17s can go nuclear, we haven’t heard of any exercises or modifications preparing them for the nuclear role. However, it is possible to ‘trick’ the stores management system of the aircraft into accepting nuclear weapons.”

    Sources in the US, however, expressed confidence that the upgraded F-16s’ wirings could not be tampered with nor could its weapons computers be tricked. Moreover, Pakistani sources confirmed that “there is no way we can mate the nuclear weapons to the F-16s anymore as they (the US) have 24/7 on-site monitoring of the fleet”.

    Hans Christensen of the Federation of American Scientists, however, insists he cannot confirm if either of these sites is a nuclear storage facility. He says, “In the US and Russia, you have a set of standardised operating procedures and infrastructure that would mark out a nuclear base as a nuclear base. With Pakistan (and South Asia), we do not see such standardisation; plus the Pakistanis are very good at hiding what they have.”

    But the evidence of Samungli and Manjhand being nuclear storage facilities is overwhelming, and must not be dismissed.

    Samungli would appear to be a sophisticated base, geared towards mating warheads with their fuses and finally mating with delivery platforms and transporting them across the country. While I personally suspect that both the used Jordanian F-16s based in Bholari are primed for a nuclear role (Pakistan’s upgraded F-16s have lost the ability to carry nuclear weapons), it would not be unreasonable to assume that Samungli’s JF-17s have started transitioning into that role.

    The author is a senior fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. He tweets @iyervval. Views are personal.

    Satellite imagery provided by Shadowbreak & detected by @detresfa

    ThePrint is now on Telegram. For the best reports & opinion on politics, governance and more, subscribe to ThePrint on Telegram.

    https://theprint.in/opinion/is-paki...lear-bombs-what-satellite-images-show/330518/
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 7
  2. Pakistan Ka Beta

    Pakistan Ka Beta FULL MEMBER

    Messages:
    723
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2019
    Ratings:
    +0 / 1,347 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Pakistan
    Samungli Base in recent past had only 1 Squadron i.e F7 but now it has 2 squadrons i.e F7 N JF17 ( New 2018 ,block 2 ) so it required tight security n yeah it is good strategy to disperse NWs at different locations all over the country ( but not many places ) with tight n multi layered security .
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
    • Thanks Thanks x 11
  3. Hakikat ve Hikmet

    Hakikat ve Hikmet ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    9,742
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2015
    Ratings:
    +13 / 21,133 / -1
    Country:
    Turkey
    Location:
    United States
    Ahh Ehl-i Kufr Ahh!!! Always in a panic mode as if they're here for eternity!!! Only if they knew what the real "terror" is!!! They'll go through it as soon as Hazret-i Azrail (AS) and his entourage show up!!! And, they don't come empty handed!!! And, they'll be never be finished with their assignments...
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 39
  4. Pakhtoon yum

    Pakhtoon yum BANNED

    Messages:
    5,540
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2018
    Ratings:
    +6 / 7,340 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Canada
    I like playing with Google maps too. Sometimes I draw triangles and other times I draw red circles. I'm pinpointing the location of the Loch Ness monster
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 36
    • Positive Rating Positive Rating x 1
  5. Dazzler

    Dazzler PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

    Messages:
    8,378
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2008
    Ratings:
    +28 / 19,061 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    United States
    This seems real though

     
    • Thanks Thanks x 14
  6. maximuswarrior

    maximuswarrior BANNED

    Messages:
    13,787
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2016
    Ratings:
    +5 / 25,466 / -7
    Country:
    Netherlands
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Awesome if true. Let's give the enemies some jitters LOL
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  7. JonAsad

    JonAsad ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    13,787
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Ratings:
    +1 / 24,041 / -3
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Saudi Arabia
    We are declared nuclear power - still people get surprised when they see the storage bases - funny -
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 26
  8. maximuswarrior

    maximuswarrior BANNED

    Messages:
    13,787
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2016
    Ratings:
    +5 / 25,466 / -7
    Country:
    Netherlands
    Location:
    Netherlands
    This news was brought to you by RSS uncle 007.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 15
  9. StormBreaker

    StormBreaker SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    4,453
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2019
    Ratings:
    +16 / 7,504 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Pakistan
    Difference between an indian and a USA guy is “Show nudes” and “Show nukes”
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 22
  10. undercover JIX

    undercover JIX SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    6,926
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2008
    Ratings:
    +0 / 6,110 / -1
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Pakistan
    allowing Internet use to some people is like Bandar de hath ustra dena.......same here and same with Internet muftis.....
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  11. Alternatiiv

    Alternatiiv SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    5,045
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2018
    Ratings:
    +17 / 6,762 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Turkey
    lol
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  12. PAR 5

    PAR 5 FULL MEMBER

    Messages:
    399
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2016
    Ratings:
    +2 / 516 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Pakistan
    Elaborative, Accurate, semi outdated, news. We now have multiple new storage and launch sites away from prying satellites of USA.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  13. HRK

    HRK PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

    Messages:
    10,895
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    Ratings:
    +81 / 26,033 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Pakistan
    I have a basement in my farm house and main residential portion of my farm house is situated behind at least two high raise walls each build at some distance from each other as wide scale lawn is situated between these two walls, though no watch tower but enough manpower to keep a watch from the rooftop, we have 3 large overhead water tanks and 2 extra large water tanks on the ground and have a backup power supply room, number of cars can be observed parked at parking area most of the time due to number of visitors

    In past there was a godown which was large enough to accommodate a large size shipping container plus a sizeable amount of stored goods

    On the basis of these similarities with airbases of Quetta and Hyderabad I am damn sure that tactical nuclear warhead are store in my basement, even without my knowledge .....

    Indian open source intelligence gathering accounts on twitter should keep watch on my farm house
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 35
  14. Windjammer

    Windjammer ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    33,551
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Ratings:
    +155 / 111,740 / -4
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    And the large number of Cows present as a deterrence to Indian attack are a big give away of what's being stored there.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 20
  15. Starlord

    Starlord ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    15,838
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Ratings:
    +11 / 21,424 / -1
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Pakistan
    Sir phir Dawat pe kab bula rahe hai ? BBQ karen gay aur IAF Air strike ka Wait bhi :D

    we can cover our Nukes with Cow dung, it wont be visible to Indian radars :D
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 5