Monthly Archives: April 2012

Shaheen 1A Test Videos

I didn’t include videos in “this post,”: so a few are below.

This gives a stationary view of the missile:

This one has more complete video of the flight:

I don’t quite know what to make of this one:

Indian Weapons-Grade HEU?

*Updates* “here”: and “here”:

Well. The “National Security Archive”: released a “trove of documents”: the other day about US efforts (mainly during the 1980s) to constrain Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program.

I haven’t looked at all of them yet, but “one”: from 1979 states that India “produces weapons grade uranium.” Perhaps the other documents contain more details, but this one doesn’t.

More on India’s enrichment program “here”: and “here.”:

Pakistan Shaheen 1A Test

A bit behind the curve on this one, but Pakistan tested its Shaheen 1A IRBM a few days ago. According to “this press release,”: the missile is “an improved version of Shaheen-1 with improvements in range and technical parameters” and is “capable of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads.”

As far as Pakistan’s doctrine goes, DG SPD Lieutenant General Khalid Ahmed Kidwai said only that the missile will “further consolidate and strengthen Pakistan’s deterrence abilities.”

Saraswat Interview

The Indian DRDO’s VK Saraswat gave an “interview”: to India Today in which he gave some interesting details about some Indian weapons programs.

In this portion, he discusses India’s “ASAT capabilities,”: which appear to be derived from India’s ballistic missile and BMD programs:


Does DRDO have the capability of destroying satellites in space?

VKS: Today, India has all the building blocks for an anti-satellite system in place.

*We don’t want to weaponise space but the building blocks should be in place. Because you may come to a time when you may need it. Today, I can say that all the building blocks (for an ASAT weapon) are in place.* A little fine tuning may be required but we will do that electronically. *We will not do a physical test (actual destruction of a satellite) because of the risk of space debris affecting other satellites.*

How did you develop these ASAT capabilities?

VKS: There are a few essential parameters in intercepting satellites. You should have the ability to track an orbiting satellite in space, launch a missile towards it and finally have a kill vehicle that actually homes in to physically destroy it.

*We have a Long Range Tracking Radar (LRTR) used in the Ballistic Missile Defence Programme that has a range of over 600 km. We will increase the range to 1,400 km allowing us to track satellites in orbit.*

It is far more difficult to intercept ballistic missiles than it is to intercept satellites. Satellites follow a predictive path. Once you track a satellite, you will know its path.

In the BMD project, we track and intercept a 0.1 square meter target over 1,000 km away. A satellite is ten times larger-over 1 meter wide.

We have the communication systems in place, again developed for the BMD project. The first-stage booster developed for the Agni-V can inject a warhead 600 km into space. We also have a kill vehicle developed for the BMD project. The kill vehicle actually homes in onto an incoming missile. We have the Infra-Red and Radar frequency seekers on the kill vehicle that accurately guide it to its target.

DRDO on Agni V

“Here’s the press release.”:

It contains some good detail. Perhaps interestingly, the DRDO didn’t call the missile an ICBM.

The real missile geeks (and I mean that respectfully) can sort this out, but I am curious as to what the below claim says about India’s missile skills:

bq. The redundant Navigation systems, very high accuracy Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System (RINS) and the most modern and accurate Micro Navigation System (MINS) *ensured the Missile reach the target point within few meters of accuracy.*

India and ASATs?

Another astute reader (I think I spoke with all 3 readers today), pointed out that the DRDO’s VK Saraswat suggested in the below video (which I originally blogged “here”: at about 2:53 that the Agni V test may aid India’s development of anti-satellite weapons.

Now, I don’t know whether and to what extent his comment reflects Indian policy, but there it is.

Missile Tests and UNSCR 1172

Not that anyone cares, but “UNSCR 1172”: called on India and Pakistan to

bq. cease development of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Article 25 of the UN Charter states that

bq. The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter.

Have a good Friday.

Rafsanjani on Israel and Nuclear Weapons: 2012 Edition

Well. I noticed that, during his interview with the International Studies Quarterly published in the spring issue, former Iranian President Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani commented on his oft-quoted “December 2001 sermon”: in which he discussed Israel and nuclear weapons.

As I “have said,”:

bq. It seems clear to me that Rafsanjani was arguing that Israel’s current military superiority would be limited by other regional powers’ acquisition of nuclear weapons. However, some have argued that Rafsanjani was threatening an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel.

Well, regardless of what he originally meant, Rafsanjani pretty clearly said in this interview that he doesn’t want to attack Israel with nuclear weapons. I am not at liberty to post the translation, but “Juan Cole”: posted the relevant portion at his place:

bq. In a Friday prayer sermon in Tehran, I even once said that an atomic bomb would not benefit the occupation regime of Israel. Eventually, if one day a nuclear conflict takes place, Israel as a small country, will not be able to bear an atomic bomb. *It is a small country and all its facilities would be destroyed. However, they interpreted this advice as a threat. We really believe that there should not be any nuclear weapon in the region and this is a part of the principles of our politics.*

A reader pointed out to me that Rafsanjani’s office in January 2002 walked back the aforementioned part of his sermon by accusing “Zionists” of distorting his comments. I don’t think I’m at liberty to post the originals, unfortunately, but here’s the cite:

Iran: Hashemi-Rafsanjani’s Office Says Zionists Distorted His Comments (IAP20020120000016 Tehran Nowruz in Persian 02 Jan 02 16).


An always-astute reader suggested that I post the relevant portion of Rafsanjani’s 2001 sermon so that readers have adequate context. Here it is:

bq.. The colonialists will keep this base as long as they need it. Now, whether they can do so or not is a separate issue and this is my next point. Any time they find a replacement for that particular instrument, they will take it up and this will come to an end. This will open a new chapter. Because colonialism and imperialism will not easily leave the people of the world alone. Therefore, you can see that they have arranged it in a way that the balance of power favours Israel. Well, from a numerical point of view, it cannot have as many troops as Muslims and Arabs do. So they have improved the quality of what they have. Classical weaponry has its own limitations. They have limited use. They have a limited range as well. They have supplied vast quantities of weapons of mass destruction and unconventional weapons to Israel. They have permitted it to have them and they have shut their eyes to what is going on. They have nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and long-range missiles and suchlike.

If one day – changes thought Of course, that is very important. If one day, the Islamic world is also equipped with weapons like those that Israel possesses now, then the imperialists’ strategy will reach a standstill because the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything. However, it will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality. Of course, you can see that the Americans have kept their eyes peeled and they are carefully looking for even the slightest hint that technological advances are being made by an independent Islamic country. If an independent Islamic country is thinking about acquiring other kinds of weaponry, then they will do their utmost to prevent it from acquiring them. Well, that is something that almost the entire world is discussing right now.

Now, even if that does not happen, they can still inflict greater costs on the imperialists. That is possible as well. Developments over the last few months really frightened the Americans. That is a cost in itself. Under special circumstances, such costs may be inflicted on the imperialists by people who are fighting for their rights or by Muslims. Then they will compare them to see how they could advance their interests better or what they can do. However, we cannot engage in such debates for too long. We cannot encourage that sort of thing either. I am only talking about the natural course of developments. The natural course of developments is such that such things may happen.

Agni V Test

India “says”: that it successfully tested its Agni V ballistic missile, which has, according to DRDO, a range of 5,000 km.

There is outstanding video from DRDO “here”: and “here.”:

FWIW, although Indian commentators refer to the Agni V as an ICBM, “NASIC defines”: an ICBM as a missile with a range of greater than 5,500 km. A 5,000km-range missile would be an IRBM, according to the 2009 NASIC report, which does not appear to mention the Agni V.

This NDTV video of a DRDO missile lab also has some good missile porn, so to speak:


VK Saraswat discusses details of the launch in this video:

*Update II:*

Wow. Saraswat says that India may develop missiles with ranges in excess of 5,000km (5:13). He also indicates (6:02) that India can develop MRVs for the missile.