• Sunday, June 7, 2020

Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons Should Terrify You

Discussion in 'Pakistan Strategic Forces' started by Pakistan Space Agency, Apr 11, 2020.

  1. Pakistan Space Agency

    Pakistan Space Agency SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    2,118
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2019
    Ratings:
    +1 / 2,725 / -17
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons Should Terrify You
    By Kyle Mizokami

    April 10, 2020


    [​IMG]

    Of all the countries in the world, just nine are believed to have developed nuclear weapons. One member of this exclusive club is Pakistan, a country that occupies a unique strategic position on the Indian subcontinent. An ally of the United States and China and archenemy of India, Pakistan has developed a nuclear arsenal to suit its own particular needs. Unusually among the smaller powers, Islamabad has developed an arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons designed to destroy enemy forces on the battlefield.

    Pakistan began developing nuclear weapons in the 1950s, but the country’s nuclear program accelerated in the mid-1970s after the detonation of “Smiling Buddha”, India’s first nuclear weapons test. Enemies since the end of the British Raj in 1947, India and Pakistan fought again in 1965 and 1971. In Pakistan’s view as long as India was the sole owner of nukes it could engage in nuclear saber-rattling and had the ultimate advantage.

    Experts believe that Pakistan has between 150 and 180 nuclear bombs. It’s not clear when the country first had an operational, deployable weapon, but by the mid-1990s it had weapons to spare. On May 28, 1998, in response to a series of Indian nuclear tests, Pakistan detonated five devices in a single day, with a sixth device two days later. Four of the devices detonated on the 28th were tactical nuclear weapons, with explosive yields in the subkiloton (less than 1,000 tons of TNT) to 2-3 kiloton range.

    Tactical nuclear weapons, also called nonstrategic nuclear weapons, are low-yield (ten kilotons or less) nuclear weapons designed for use on the battlefield. Unlike larger, more powerful strategic nuclear weapons, tactical nuclear weapons are meant to destroy military targets on the battlefield. Tactical nuclear weapons are meant to be used against troop formations, headquarters units, supply dumps, and other high-value targets.

    Tactical nuclear weapons are important to Pakistan’s defense posture. Pakistan has a gross domestic product of just $305 billion, about the size of the state of Indiana. Pakistan has an active duty army of 767,000. Although the majority of the force is infantry, a substantial portion is fully mechanized with tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, self-propelled artillery, attack helicopters, and anti-tank missiles.

    India has a GDP of $2.597 billion, an active army of 1.2 million, and greater amounts of equipment of every category. The Indian Army is larger by every metric, and in many cases fields larger numbers of qualitatively superior equipment--particularly tanks. In an all-out ground war, the Indian Army would almost certainly prevail. The Indian Army is sufficiently large that until 2004 it envisioned blunting a Pakistani ground offensive and then launching a counterattack with three “Strike Corps” of three divisions, all highly mechanized and each including at least one armored division.

    Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, particularly tactical nuclear weapons, are seen as an asymmetric means of offsetting India’s advantage in conventional forces. Even if a Pakistani Army offensive into India fails and the Strike Corps counterattacked, tactical nuclear weapons could blunt their spearheads, ideally halting them in their tracks.

    Pakistan has an unknown number of tactical nuclear weapons, but we can get an idea of how many exist by counting delivery systems. A report by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists claims that the country has approximately 20-30 transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) vehicles designed to carry the NASR/Hatf-9 short-range ballistic missile. The TEL is a four-axle vehicle that can carry two or more NASR missiles. Assuming each TEL is armed with two NASR missiles with a single warhead each, Pakistan has somewhere in the area of 60 tactical nuclear weapons, or approximately one-third of its arsenal.

    NASR is a solid rocket fuel missile with an operational range of just 43 miles. As the Bulletin report points out, short-range rules out using the weapons against meaningful targets in India, meaning they are more likely defensive weapons to be used against Indian Army units in Pakistani territory. This could also imply that the weapons are of very small explosive yield, as no country would want large nuclear explosions on its own territory.

    One interesting question is that, given the fast-moving nature of modern warfare and the slow-moving nature of modern political decision making, Pakistan has already chosen target zones to launch against should Indian tanks roll into them and would delegate launch authority to the Army in times of war. If the political debate starts once the tanks arrive, the TELs could be overrun by the time a decision is made. Very small warheads would also have a very small area of effect, and a delay of just minutes could cause even a nuclear explosion to miss a battalion or more of tanks on the move.

    Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapons, while intrinsically unsavory, are at least defensive in nature. Unfortunately, given the number of times India and Pakistan have gone to war over the last eighty years, their use is theoretical than those of most countries. The use of nuclear weapons by one side could rapidly escalate to the use of larger, strategic weapons against populated areas by both sides.

    Could Pakistan and India both give up their nuclear arms? Pakistan’s reliance on tactical nuclear weapons to offset weakness in conventional weapons will make it hard for Islamabad to divest itself of its nuclear arms. Once nuclear weapons are acquired it becomes extremely difficult to un-acquire them, and Pakistan will be no exception.

    Kyle Mizokami is a writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in The Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and The Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch

    https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/pakistan’s-tactical-nuclear-weapons-should-terrify-you-142937
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 5
  2. Amavous

    Amavous FULL MEMBER

    Messages:
    423
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2012
    Ratings:
    +0 / 1,355 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Pakistan
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2020
    • Thanks Thanks x 9
  3. Chhatrapati

    Chhatrapati ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    8,688
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2016
    Ratings:
    +2 / 7,007 / -6
    Country:
    India
    Location:
    Mauritius
    Indian policy is clear, you use Nukes of any kind, it's Nuclear war the response may be disproportional. The reason why Americans and Russians didn't make more TNW and armed their respective armies with it is that it gives low ranking military men operating batteries too much power, rather the fate of the nation hangs in the hands of these men, unlike a central nuclear command involving different checks and balances.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 5
  4. Pakistani Fighter

    Pakistani Fighter SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    7,801
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2011
    Ratings:
    +1 / 5,524 / -4
    ???
     
  5. Tipu7

    Tipu7 SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    4,575
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2014
    Ratings:
    +63 / 10,543 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Pakistan
    We neither operate nuclear artillery shells nor strategic nuclear bombs.

    Pakistan policy is also clear, don't drag us in conflict in first place.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 7
  6. Chhatrapati

    Chhatrapati ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    8,688
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2016
    Ratings:
    +2 / 7,007 / -6
    Country:
    India
    Location:
    Mauritius
    That's not a policy. That's like saying, don't make me angry.
     
  7. Tipu7

    Tipu7 SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    4,575
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2014
    Ratings:
    +63 / 10,543 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Pakistan
    Americans made and deployed as many as 3000 TNWs. Soviets also deployed an arsenal of thousands of BFNWs. And all these weapons were deployed actively in Europe.

    And even today, there is sizeable arsenal of TNWs and BFNWs operational on European lands.

    It's a myth, or better to say an over generalization. The control mechanism varies from state to state. In case of US, the TNWs control was still within Central Command and after the PALs are delivered, only then the battlefield Commander could arm and use the weapons in their possession as per the official recommendations. These weapons are not artillery.

    By similar logic, we can also tag Indian policy as a 'saying' instead of a well crafted state policy.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 13
  8. Mrc

    Mrc ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    9,117
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2013
    Ratings:
    +4 / 9,887 / -5
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Qatar


    Trump is making TNWs now so are Russians and Chinese..

    Again indian military thinking is not in line with what every one else seems to be doing

    Trump was given an assessment (also made public) that tnw use by enemy may result in such damage that may make MAD response an unlikely option

    Thus US was deemed vulnerable by not having TNWs

    But off course Indians are a different league so they think different as well


    Here is a link. Interesting read

    https://amp.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/feb/13/trump-revamps-nuclear-arsenal-respond-russia-tacti/
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2020
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  9. ziaulislam

    ziaulislam ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    12,053
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Ratings:
    +11 / 10,197 / -2
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    United States
    Pakistan policy is also simple we start losing conventional war(or our redline is crossed we use nukes defined and published under red lines), we use nuke tactical nuke on our own terroity as defence mode..no ambiguity there..now if indai want to use nuke against cities, be our guest, pakistan triad..air, sea-based subs and MRV blastic missles/ababeel are ready..pakistan have more nukes..so there are enough for every Indian city

    though i don't see that happening. IAF front fighters su30s & mirages are hopelessly outgunned/ranged by PAF 75 f16s..so any war right now will make IAF suffer..without airforce, no amount of ground forces can survive or do a cold stat doctrine
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 6
  10. crankthatskunk

    crankthatskunk SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    3,013
    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Ratings:
    +2 / 5,423 / -0
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Well, I have said earlier in another thread, Pakistan should call Indian's bluff and do a Nasr strikes on Indian formation, command centres and ammunition dumps.
    You shouldn't be underestimating Pakistan, the response from Pakistan would be disproportional, not by India.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  11. Taimur Khurram

    Taimur Khurram ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    8,621
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2015
    Ratings:
    +9 / 8,977 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Pakistan
    India isn't going to nuke Pakistan for blunting an offensive, if you believe that then you're just stupid.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  12. mudas777

    mudas777 FULL MEMBER

    Messages:
    665
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2016
    Ratings:
    +0 / 1,276 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    1: Indian in their bravado keep on mentioning the response will be disproportional and funny we are the ones who have got more nuclear weapons then them and response will be disproportional from our end not theirs.
    2: US/Russia have to have some cut off point for making the number of nuclear weapons as you can only paint a picture so many times. They had enough fire power to destroy each other and the rest of their allies few times over
    regardless first or second strike or whoever took the initiative that's why it was called MAD hence they decided on to have some sort of ceiling.
    Considering we are next to each other and of small land mass, India can jump up or down, do what ever feels like doing, do chest thumping and teach her country men the loudest farts once you start a war both countries are screwed.
     
  13. Osiris

    Osiris BANNED

    Messages:
    1,987
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2015
    Ratings:
    +0 / 1,690 / -26
    Country:
    India
    Location:
    United States
  14. American Pakistani

    American Pakistani ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    13,891
    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Ratings:
    +10 / 19,749 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    United States
    Pakistan secret policy is that if it comes to that, use entire nuclear stockpile. In nuclear war pakistan will be finished but India would be like a person with no hands and brain. There still will be 57 other Muslim countries but...
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 3
  15. Osiris

    Osiris BANNED

    Messages:
    1,987
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2015
    Ratings:
    +0 / 1,690 / -26
    Country:
    India
    Location:
    United States
    Pakistan has just 10 or so more nuclear weapons, with one third of them being tactical. Where as total yield of Indian nuclear weapons is believed to far larger than Pakistan's arsenal.

    Considering India has 4.5 times more land area than Pakistan, 6 times more population, a missile defence system in the process of deployment and a true nuclear triad. Indian nuclear response would be far more devastating for Pakistan, than Pakistan's for India.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2