The Shaheen 3 missile is a two-stage, solid-fueled medium-range ballistic missile in development by Pakistan. The missile is reportedly capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional payloads to a range of 2,750 km, which would make it the longest range missile in Pakistan’s strategic arsenal.1 It was first publicly displayed during a military parade in March 2016.2 The Shaheen 3 is road-mobile and reportedly mounted on a Chinese transporter erector launcher.3
Shaheen 3 at a Glance
Originated from: Pakistan
Possessed by: Pakistan
Class: Medium-Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM)
Length: 19.3 m
Diameter: 1.4 m
Payload: Nuclear, conventional
Propulsion: Two-stage, Solid-propellant
Range: 2,750 km
Status: In development
The publicized 2,750 km range of the Shaheen 3 suggests modest improvement over the Hatf 6 or Shaheen 2, which is reported to have a range between 2,000 and 2,500 km. The additional range allows the missile to target Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, which is the sole reason for its development according to General Khalid Kidwai, the former head of the Strategic Plans Division.4
Some speculation suggests that Pakistan is also working to equip the Shaheen-3 with multiple independent reentry vehicles (MIRV) as a response to Indian attempts to develop a missile defense capability.5
The missile underwent at least two successful tests in 2015 in March and December. 6
- Inter Services Public Relations, “Shaheen 3 Missile test,” Press Release, March 9, 2015, Accessed on https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&date=2015/3/9.
- Richard D. Fisher Jr., “Pakistan’s new Shaheen-III MRBM uses Chinese transporter, says source,” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, June 29, 2016, Accessed on http://www.janes.com/article/61862/pakistan-s-new-shaheen-iii-mrbm-uses-chinese-transporter-says-source.
- Arka Biswas, “Pakistan’s New Missile Disrupts Nuclear Stability in South Asia,” The National Interest, March 27, 2015, Accessed on http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/pakistan%E2%80%99s-new-missile-disrupts-nuclear-stability-south-asia-12495.
- Tim Craig, “Pakistan tests missile that could carry nuclear warhead to every part of India,” Washington Post, March 9, 2015, Accessed on https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/pakistan-tests-missile-that-could-carry-nuclear-warhead-to-every-part-of-india/2015/03/09/920f4f42-c65c-11e4-bea5-b893e7ac3fb3_story.html.
- Tim Craig, “Pakistan tests missile that could carry nuclear warhead to every part of India,” Washington Post, March 9, 2015, Accessed on https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/pakistan-tests-missile-that-could-carry-nuclear-warhead-to-every-part-of-india/2015/03/09/920f4f42-c65c-11e4-bea5-b893e7ac3fb3_story.html; The Indian Express, “Pakistan successfully test fires nuclear-capable Shaheen-III missile,” December 11, 2015, Accessed on http://indianexpress.com/article/world/world-news/pak-test-fires-nuclear-capable-shaheen-iii-ballistic-missile/.