Pakistani Armed Forces ORBAT, Part 4: Nuclear Forces



This paper is a part of a series of texts covering Order of Battle (ORBAT) and a few other details of Pakistani armed forces. The index of all other posts is at links provided at bottom. Some information is already published there, but it will be replaced with more detailed and updated data in the coming few months. 

Nuclear Command & Control

Pakistan nuclear command and control structure is a 3 layered structure with representation from military as well as civilian authority. The three tiers are National Command Authority (NCA), Strategic Force Commands (SFC of Army, Air Force and Navy) and Strategic Plans Division (SPD). This is the highest decision making body in Pakistan and is tasked with formulating and exercising control over use of nuclear and conventional assets of the country. 

There have been a few changes in the roles played by the members over the years, mostly due to unstable political environment and constant interference of the army in civilian administration. It is not possible to cover the past events and the likely effects on future workings of the command structure due to such events repeating again without making this section too long. So I’ll stick to the current system as we know it.

Following is the list of NCA members:

  1. Chairman: Prime Minister or head of government when under dictatorship.. (Till 2009, this post was held by the President)
  2. Deputy Chairman: Foreign Affairs Minister
  3. Defence Minister
  4. Finance Minister
  5. Interior Minister
  6. Defence Production Minister of Pakistan
  7. Military Adviser: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC)
  8. Chiefs of Staff of Army, Navy & Air Force
  9. Secretary: Director General of the Strategic Plans Division (SPD) 
  10. Director General of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI)

The Prime Minister who is the chairman of NCA is president of two committees, Employment Control Committee (ECC) and Developmental Control Committee (DCC). Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC) is deputy chair of DCC while Foreign Affairs Minister is of ECC. ECC is the primary policy making body tasked with developing nuclear doctrines,threat assessment and controlling deployment of nuclear assets. DCC’s role is to implement the policy decisions made by ECC and development of nuclear weapons delivery and nuclear command control and communications systems.

Strategic Plans Division (SPD) is Secretariat of NCA and is tasked with developing, managing and securing the nuclear assets as well as usage of nuclear assets in civilian fields. It has its own security forces tasked with securing nuclear weapons, delivery systems, reactors and other related assets. More on this later. 

The 3rd layer is Strategic Force Command (SFCs) from Army, Air Force and Navy with each having their own dedicated Commands for training, management and administrative control. The operational control and strategic planning of these forces lies with SPD.

IMAGE: A NCA meeting from 2021
IMAGE: A National Command Authority (NCA) meeting in 2021

IMAGE: Pakistani nuclear command and control structure
IMAGE: Pakistani nuclear command and control structure

Employment Control Committee

ECC has balanced representation from civilian authority as well as all three services and is tasked with making policy decisions related to nuclear command, control and deployment.  It can be considered as the main decision making body as far as the decisions related to nuclear command and control are concerned. 

Following is the list of members of ECC:

  1. Joint Chiefs of Staff (Chairman)
  2. Foreign Minister (Deputy Chairman)
  3. Defence Minister
  4. Finance Minister
  5. Interior Minister
  6. Army chief
  7. Air Force chief
  8. Navy chief
  9. Director General SPD (Secretary)
  10. Other members, as required

Developmental Control Committee

Following is the list of members of DCC:

  1. Chairman: Joint Chiefs of Staff
  2. Army chief
  3. Air Force Chief
  4. Navy Chief
  5. Director General SPD (Secretary)
  6. Scientists and representatives/chiefs of strategic organisation.

DCC takes decisions of ECC and makes sure that they are implemented by coordinating with various other military and civilian organisations. It has a certain degree of autonomy in fields like internal management and administrative control over a few strategic national organisations. It can also create new organisations or committees to meet certain objectives.

Strategic Plans Division

SPD is headed by a military officer of rank Lt Gen or equivalent and has 8 directorates:

  1. Operations & Planning
  2. Strategic Weapons Development
  3. Arms Control & Disarmament 
  4. Conventional and Open Programmes
  5. Security Division
  6. Strategic Communications
  7. Civil Works
  8. Consultancy

Operations & Plans has four other departments, namely Operations, Plans, Intelligence and Computerised, Control, Command, Communication, Information, Intelligence and Surveillance Directorate (C4ISD).

Security Division is the biggest one with following departments:

  1. Security Directorate
  2. Counter Intelligence
  3. Technical Directorate
  4. Training Academy
  5. Special Tasks and Protections.
  6. Evaluation and Analysis Directorate.
  7. Personnel Reliability Programme

Security Division is responsible for security of multiple strategic organisations and installations including Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), Space and Upper Atmosphere Commission (SUPARCO), Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) and  National Commission on Science and Technology (NESCOM). It is the biggest department with around 25,000-28,000 personnel, headed by an officer than rank of Maj Gen  and following departments:

  1. Counter Intelligence.
  2. Technical Directorate
  3. Personnel Reliability Programme Directorate.
  4. Security Directorate

All four of these departments are headed by a Brigadier ranked officer. Of these, the Personnel Reliability Programme (PRP) is the most wide reaching one which covers more than 1.5 lakh personnel spread across various organisations all over the country. These individuals are the ones who are directly or indirectly involved with the nuclear establishment in various capacities. Multiple types of checks and tests covering varied aspects such as psychological, social, medical and character are organised initially as well as during their tenure by the PRP.

Security Division has been recruiting its own personnel drawn from a cadre of ex-servicemen since 2004. In 2010, the service was opened for civilian recruits. Although the initial training is done in various regimental training centres, a new training facility was setup in Chakri, south of Islamabad 2012 with American help and possible oversight. There is also one Emergency Response Centre in Rawalpindi which houses a rapid reaction force tasked with countering any nuclear emergency in the country.

Strategic Force Command

All three armed forces branches Army, Navy and Air Force have their own SFCs responsible for maintenance of their respective nuclear delivery systems and training of weapon crews Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff is in charge of coordinating with all the HQs as well as operational planning and final control. Naval and Air Force commands are led by a 2 star officer while a 3 star officer leads that of Army.

IMAGE: SPD Training Academy in Chakri, south of Islamabad
IMAGE: SPD Training Academy in Chakri, south of Islamabad

Nuclear Delivery Systems

Pakistani nuclear doctrine seems to depend upon some missiles controlled by the Army and certain aircraft of the Air Force.


The Pakistani Army depends upon missiles as the sole nuclear delivery platform. Most of these missiles or their initial versions are of Chinese and North Korean origins which have been repainted in Pakistani colours. Some of the later versions do seem to have some local input. How much is a matter of debate.  Following is a list of nuclear capable missiles with the army:

Nasr (Hatf-9)SRBM7040060.561200Chinese WS-2Wanshan WS2400 8×8
Hatf-1Unguided Rocket70-10050060.561500No guidance
Abdali (Hatf-2)SRBM180-200250-4506.50.561750
Ghaznavi (Hatf-3)SRBM3007008.50.84650Chinese M-11Same as M-11
Shaheen-1 (Hatf-4)SRBM900700-10001219500Chinese DF-15MAZ-543 WS2500
Shaheen-2 (Hatf-6)MRBM1500-200070017.21.423600Chinese M-18MAZ-547V
Shaheen-3 (Hatf-10)MRBM275019.31.4WS21200 16×16
Ghauri-1 (Hatf-5)MRBM1250-150070015.91.3515850North Korean Nodong-1. Liquid fuelled.Modified Russian ‘Scud-B’
Ghauri-2MRBM2000-25001200181.3517800Modified Russian ‘Scud-B’
AbabeelMRBM2200Under development
Babur (Hatf-7)Cruise350-700400-5006.20.521500Reverse engineered Tomahawk
Babur-2 (Hatf-8)Cruise750450-5006.20.521500Reverse engineered Tomahawk
TABLE: Pakistani Army’s Nuclear Capable Missiles

  • SRBM: Short Range Ballistic Missile
  • MRBM: Long Range Ballistic Missile

Of these, Nasr is presented as a counter to Indian Cold Start Doctrine of limited thrusts into Pakistani territory. It’s been declared that Nasrs armed with nuclear warheads will be fired to destroy advancing Indian columns in Pakistani territory. But there is no credible proof that Pakistan has any nuclear warheads small enough to fit into such a small missile. Even if they have such warheads, their yield of 0.5-5kt will make it nearly useless against all but very concentrated slow moving military formations. It may be yet another way of sabre rattling as a way of deterrence by Pakistanis as any such nuclear strike on Indian assets even in enemy territory will attract nuclear retaliation as part of Indian nuclear doctrine.

Ghaznavi Ballistic missile. Repainted copy of M-11, on rightChinese M–11 (DF-11)
Ghauri-1 ballistic missileShaheen 1-A ballistic missile
Babur-1 Cruise MissileHatf-1 Unguided rocket
Hatf-3 ballistic missileNASR Ballistic missile
Air Force

Pakistani Air Force is the sole operator of nuclear capable aircraft in the country’s arsenal. It has around 36 air-dropped nuclear bombs which can be delivered by F-16s, Mirage-III, Mirage-5, JF-17s and by perhaps the newest induction J-10. Ra’ad, air -launched version of Babur cruise missile, can also carry nukes, but verifiable details are not available yet.  

9th(Griffins)Mushaf Airbase, Sargodha38 Multirole WingF-16A/BNukes 10 km south
11th (Arrows)Shahbaz Airbase, Jacobabad39 Tactical Air WingF-16A/B
5th (Falcons)Shahbaz Airbase, Jacobabad39 Tactical Air WingF-16C/D
7th (Bandits)Masroor Airbase, Karachi32 Tactical Attack WingMirage 3EA & 3DPNukes 5 km north-west
8th (Haider)Masroor Airbase, Karachi32 Tactical Attack WingMirage 5PA2, 5PA3 & 5DD
22nd (Ghazis)Masroor Airbase, Karachi32 Tactical Attack WingMirage-3DP, 5EF, 3EL,3BE & BL
TABLE: Pakistani Nuclear capable squadrons and their bases
Ra’ad ALCM in flightRa’ad ALCM on Mirage-3

9th Squadron

F-16 of 9th 

11th Squadron

F-16 of 11th

5th Squadron
F-16 of 5th

7th Squadron
Mirage-III of 7th

8th Squadron
Mirage-V of 8th

Insignia of 22nd is a man riding a horse
Mirage-III of 22nd
Pakistani nuclear capable aircraft and squadrons

 Pakistani Navy’s SFC is the newest and least well known. Most naval nuclear arsenals are usually based upon Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) fired from nuclear powered submarines (called  Ship, Submersible, Ballistic, Nuclear or SSBN) and occasionally diesel electric submarines capable of firing ballistic missiles. Pakistani Navy doesn’t have any SSBNs and SLBMs and is unlikely to have the budget to induct one in the foreseeable future. They do have nuclear capable Babur cruise missile in service with a range of 700-900 kms and payload of 300 kgs. 

It is a Chinese made copy of American Tomahawk missiles which crash landed in Pakistan during the Afghan campaign in 2001. Atleast one of them was transferred to China in 2001 and first declared test flight was in August 2005. Some of the missile’s characteristics and dimensions closely mimic the Tomahawk. Nawaz Sharif claimed in 2020 that it was reverse-engineered in Pakistan during his tenure. But more details remain elusive. There are claims that efforts are afoot to enable Agosta 90B submarines to fire these missiles and perhaps Hangor-class (II) submarine being purchased from China will be capable of firing these missiles too. 

As of now in 2022, Pakistani Navy is a part of the nuclear command structure without any credible nuclear capability. Considering that India already has at least two SSBNs in service with two more entering service in next two years, Pakistanis are sure to leave no stone unturned to attain parity here.

Storage Sites

With nearly 200 warheads, extensive islamic extremism even in military and limited territory, Pakistan has chosen to spread its nuclear assets in a large number of storage sites spread all over the country. It is a bit difficult to ascertain which sites have nuclear warheads and delivery systems and which store conventional weapons or those which are just dummy sites to confuse the snooping enemies. SPD is supposed to be providing security to 13-15 such sites, but the numbers are just best guesses at this point. 

It is also possible that the arsenal is rotated within different sites from time to time. But the method of transport seems to be highly insecure. Jeffrey Goldberg and Marc Ambinder in their report “The Ally From Hell” claimed that Pakistan transports fully mated nuclear warheads in commercial road vehicles and sometimes helicopters with minimal security.

The text and images below list some of the known Pakistani storage sites for nuclear warheads and missiles. A table with geographical coordinates is provided at end of this section.

IMAGE: Locations of Pakistani nuclear storage sites
IMAGE: Locations of Pakistani nuclear storage sites

  1. Kirna Hills, Sargodha

This is one of the biggest such sites in Pakistan with a large number of reinforced storage bunkers, hillside tunnels and missile TEL storage.This base is around 9-10 km from Sargodha airbase which houses nuclear capable F-16s of 9th Squadron. The airbase itself has additional reinforced storage bunkers near the airstrip.

Kirna Hills was the site of multiple underground cold tests (testing of a nuclear bomb without fissile material) of Pakistani nuclear weapons in 1980s.

  1. Jinnah Cantonment, Khuzdar

This missile storage and launch site is located in Jinnah Cantonment, a few km south of Khuzdar city. One TEL with what looked like a Ghauri missile was spotted in September 2014 on a pathway to one of 8 TEL storage bunkers. 

Khuzdar cantonment has a new helicopter base and atleast two Cobra helicopters operated by Pakistani army have been spotted there, in addition to a few transport helicopters.

  1. Kirthar, Karkh

This is a tunnel storage complex 30 km west of Jinnah Cantonment with 3 large tunnel entrances dug into the mountain side. The rubble from digging has been dumped all around the site and by the looks of it, the scale of digging looks quite extensive. The site by itself is pretty isolated with only a small village called Khori as the sole human settlement 5 kms away as the crow flies.

  1. Qambar Shahdadkot

This is a storage site with tunnels in the hillside and a few reinforced concrete bunkers. This is one of the newer such storage sites and construction is still going on in multiple spots. Kirthar site is around 48 km west from here. There is a gas field 8 km east. Apart from that, the area is mostly inhabited.

  1. Petaro Cantonment, Akro

Petaro Cant is located just near Akro village, north of Hyderabad. Construction of this site started in 2003-04 as visible in pictures in next section. It is believed to be a garrison for up to 12 Babur TELs in 6 garages and a reinforced underground facility in the middle to store missiles. 

  1. Masroor Airbase, Karachi

Masroor airbase hosts 2 squadrons of nuclear capable Mirage-3 and 1 one of Mirage-5 under 32 Tactical Air Wing. So it is very likely that the weapons storage facility in the complex store some of air dropped nuclear bombs too. Some of the bunkers have been constructed in last 2-3 years and more construction is still going on.

  1. Chamba Pind

This facility is located around 12 km south-east from Mangla dam. It’s another hillside tunnel facility with at least 5 visible tunnel entrances and three adjacent structures which could be TEL garages. Pakistan Ordinance Factory (POF), Wah is around 20 km south from here and  It is likely that some of the warheads assembled at there are stored in this facility

  1. Rahwali Cantonment, Gujranwala

One of the biggest such complexes, Rahwali Cantt, just north of Gujranwala is home to 2nd Artillery Div (and one other division). Western part of the complex most probably is for conventional ammunition storage, while the smaller eastern section seems to be for missile TELs. There are two TEL garages with reinforced embankments  connected to one reinforced bunkers via a covered passage. SPDF vehicles as well as at least one missile TELs have been spotted in here.

  1. Jindar

This is a new hillside tunnel storage facility around 25 km south-west from Rawalpindi. It has at least 3 large entrances for tunnels going into the hill and two small entrances 115 m apart on south. The construction work is still going on and with a large number of heavy duty construction vehicles on the site.

  1. Pano Aqil

Pano Aqil missile base is under 21st Artillery Division of Strategic Forces Command. It has one airstrip and a munitions storage area 3.5 km to west and a huge Pano Aqil cantonment with atleast one other Division HQ (16th Div at the time of writing) garrison.

Multiple missile TELs and support vehicles have been spotted in the complex over the years, most probably Shaheen and NASR. The basic design of TEL garage area is almost identical to those in Rahwali mentioned earlier.

  1. Kala Chitta, Attock

This site is located right next to Kala Chitta National Park, roughly 47 km south-west from Pakistan Ordinance Factory, Wah. It has a hillside storage facility with at least 4 visible tunnel entrances. Additionally there are multiple large sheds spread all over the complex. which could be used for storage, assembly or maintenance of TELs. 

  1. National Development Complex, Shahpur

NDC is one of the major plants in Pakistan working on assembly and manufacture of Babur and Shaheen (1 and 2) missiles. Chassis and some TELs of these missiles have been observed many times in more than one spot. The complex has been under near constant expansion ever since it started. The latest constructions include a few new buildings towards east and possibly two tunnels for underground storage. Some more details are provided in the next section.

IMAGE: Kirna Hills, Sargodha
IMAGE: Kirna Hills, Sargodha

A bunker, perhaps undergoing repairs

A row of burners with round water tanks for fire control

Hillside bunkers
TEL storage are

More bunkers of different design missile launch or SAM site near TEL storage

Residences, offices & support area

SDF trucks near a TEL bunker
IMAGE: Jinnah Cantonment, Khuzdar
IMAGE: Jinnah Cantonment, Khuzdar

Possible Ghauri missile on TEL8 TEL storage bunkers
IMAGE: Kirthar site with 3 tunnels and visible dugout rubble (grey)
IMAGE: Kirthar site with 3 tunnels and visible dugout rubble (grey)

IMAGE: Qambar Shahdadkot nuclear storage site
IMAGE: Qambar Shahdadkot nuclear storage site

Concrete bunkers (1-4)Tunnel entrances (6-10)
IMAGE: Petaro Cantonment
IMAGE: Petaro Cantonment

IMAGE: Site of base under construction in 2004 with underground storage in middle.
IMAGE: Site of base under construction in 2004 with underground storage in middle.

IMAGE: Masroor air base weapons storage site
IMAGE: Masroor air base weapons storage site

IMAGES: Construction of 1 and 2 bunkers from Aug 2020 till June 2022

IMAGE: Chamba Pind nuclear storage site
IMAGE: Chamba Pind nuclear storage site

1-5 Tunnel entrancesReinforced TEL storage sheds
IMAGE: Rahwali Cantonment storage site
IMAGE: Rahwali Cantonment storage site

MAGE: Rahwali Cantonment nuclear storage complex
IMAGE: Rahwali Cantonment nuclear storage complex

IMAGE: TEL Garages & weapons bunker (1-4) from 2011 till 2022

IMAGE: TEL storage sheds (5-6) during construction

Possible warhead transport truck or TELSPDF & military vehicles
IMAGE: Jindar nuclear storage site
IMAGE: Jindar nuclear storage site

IMAGE: Pano Aqil nuclear storage site with missile TELs & other vehicles
IMAGE: Pano Aqil nuclear storage site with missile TELs & other vehicles

Some more vehicles & TELsVehicle length ~9m
Same design as Rahwali siteUnder construction in 2015
IMAGE: Airstrip and ammunition storage area, 3.5 km south-east
IMAGE: Airstrip and ammunition storage area, 3.5 km south-east

IMAGE: National Development Complex, Shahpur
IMAGE: National Development Complex, Shahpur

6-axle TEL chassis, possible Shaheen-12 TELs and a chassis
Different types of TELsNew buildings under construction
Training areaAdmin  & support area
IMAGE: Storage site near Kala Chitta National Park
IMAGE: Storage site near Kala Chitta National Park

IMAGE: 4 tunnel entrancesIMAGE: One of possible TEL storage or repair sheds
Kala ChittaAttock33°40’44.72″N72°15’28.72″EStorage
Kirna HillsSargodha31°57’44.95″N72°41’31.41″EStorage
Pano AqilSukkur27°49’54.04″N69° 9’26.84″ENuclear missiles storage & launch
Qambar ShahdadkotLarkana27°41’36.82″N67°25’31.84″EStorage.Tunnels 27°41’0.84″N 67°25’11.17″E
Jinnah CanttKhuzdar27°43’16.00″N66°37’26.87″ENuclear missiles storage & launch
Rahwali CanttGujranwala32°14’27.70″N74° 4’30.26″ENuclear missiles storage & launch
Petaro CanttAkro25°32’55.24″N68°20’3.93″ENuclear missiles storage & launch. Babur and Shaheen missiles
Chamba PindHaripur33°57’53.31″N72°46’0.26″ENuclear missiles storage & launch
NDCShahpur33°37’48.11″N72°43’43.68″ENational Development Complex.Assembly & possible storage for Shaheen 1,2 & Babur
MasroorKarachi24°52’57.58″N66°55’17.82″ENuclear weapon storage and C&C. Possibly bombs for for Mirage

Strategic Organisations and Facilities

This section lists some of the organisations and facilities involved in the Pakistani nuclear program. Geographical coordinates of some of some of them are provided at end of this section.

IMAGE: Organisations involved in manufacturing, research and development of Pakistani nuclear arsenal
IMAGE: Organisations involved in manufacturing, research and development of Pakistani nuclear arsenal

  1. Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission
Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) 

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC)  works under SPD and is responsible for development and operations of Pakistani nuclear activities like mining, metallurgy, reactors, fissile material production and reprocessing.It’s Directorate of Technical Development (DTD) is responsible for the design, development and testing of nuclear weapons. PAEC owns multiple shell companies directly involved in trade and import of dual use machinery from overseas.

Some of its subsidiaries are:

  1. Chemical Plants Complex (CPC)
  2. Chashma Nuclear Complex
  3. Kundian Nuclear Fuel Complex
  4. Khushab Nuclear Complex
  5. Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology
  6. New Laboratories
  7. Heavy Mechanical Complex
  8. Pakistan Welding Institute
  9. National Centre for Non-Destructive Testing
  10. National Institute for Lasers and Optronics
  11. Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  12. Al-Technique Corporation
  13. Directorate of Technical Development

Details of some of these organisations are listed further.

  1. Chemical Plants Complex, Dera Ghazi Khan

CPC is one of oldest unsafeguarded nuclear facilities in Pakistan built in late 1970s. It converts  yellowcake into UF6. This UF6 is enriched in Khan Research Laboratories and brought back to be converted into metallic form for use in warheads. It’s also believed that this facility has the machinery to manufacture parts of certain specialised munitions which use depleted Uranium.

Baghlachur facility which manages nuclear waste was constructed in 1989.

There have been allegations by local villagers that the nuclear waste is being dumped in old Uranium mines without any proper safeguards.

IMAGE: Chemical Plants Complex, Dera Ghazi Khan
IMAGE: Chemical Plants Complex, Dera Ghazi Khan

  1. Chashma Nuclear Power Complex

Chashma Nuclear Power Plant (CHASNUPP) is a complex of 4 reactors, one nuclear fuel manufacturing plant and one possible reprocessing plant. The original design of reactors was French, but the deal was cancelled midway. The subsequent reactors were Chinese with some Pakistani input, perhaps from the data already transferred by the French.

The four reactors are all pressurised water reactors (PWR) with 300 MW output except for C4 which produces 315 MW. Construction of a fifth reactor is being proposed, but status is not clear yet. This site has one Kundian Nuclear Fuel Complex (KNFC which produces natural Uranium for Khushab reactors. It’s not under international safeguards.

IMAGE: Chashma Nuclear power complex
IMAGE: Chashma Nuclear power complex

  1. Khushab Nuclear Complex

This nuclear complex has 4 heavy water reactors meant for producing weapons grade Plutonium for the Pakistani nuclear weapons programme. It is not under international safeguards and most of the information available is either from Pakistani sources or speculative. The complex has one plant for heavy water and one thermal power plant. There are multiple points spread all around the perimeter which seemingly are air defence and security outposts.

First of the reactors went critical in 1998 and is different from other 3 reactors which seem to share the same design among themselves. According to some sources, K1 has a capacity of around 50 MW. K2 and K3 came online in 2010 and 2013 while K3 became critical in 2015.  Some sources claim that these 3 reactors are double the capacity of K1, but there is no authentic source to confirm it.

The total annual Plutonium production in all three reactors should be around 40-45 kgs.

Heavy water plant likely produces 70 to 100 tons of heavy water every year. None of the figures have been released publicly and these are just educated guesses.

IMAGE: Khushab nuclear complex
IMAGE: Khushab nuclear complex

IMAGE: Potential air defence and security sites

SPDF Trucks

Firing range

  1. Pakistan Ordnance Factories 
Pakistan Ordnance Factories 

POF is supposedly the biggest state owned defence development and manufacturing organisation in Pakistan. It started as R&D and production facility for traditional weapons during colonial times.. It is believed to be the lead integrator of Pakistani nuclear weapons handling explosives, electronics, firing mechanisms and fuses. It is not clear whether it handles fissile material or not.

There are two known facilities, one at Panj Graan Road, Havelian and in Wah Cantt, the latter being the biggest. It employs more than 25,000 people and sources some of manpower from the armed forces. Its chairman is usually a three star ranked officer from the armed forces. It is under the Ministry of Defence and most higher ranks are appointed by the Pakistani Army.

Its conventional weapons manufacturing includes various types of  explosives, grenades, small arms, artillery and their ammunition. Some of the produced items are exported.

IMAGE: Pakistan Ordnance Factories  Complex, Havelian
IMAGE: Pakistan Ordnance Factories  Complex, Havelian

IMAGE: Weapons storage bunkers & water storage tanks for fire fighting

IMAGE: Manufacturing & Assembly sheds
IMAGE: Pakistan Ordnance Factorie Complex, Wah
IMAGE: Pakistan Ordnance Factorie Complex, Wah

IMAGE: Manufacturing & Assembly sheds

IMAGE: Possible storage area
  1. Pakistani Institute of Nuclear Science & Technology

PINSTECH is the leading R&D institute in Pakistan responsible for the majority of nuclear research in the country. It operates two research reactors (1 American, 10 MW, local 30 KW)), one Plutonium reprocessing plant called New Laboratories (British), one Molybdenum Production Facility, one Charged Particle Accelerator and one Fast Neuron Generator (American). This is in addition to education and research in various other scientific and engineering fields. New Labs isn’t under international safeguards and produces weapons grade Plutonium.

IMAGE: PINSTECH, New Labs, Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences(PIEAS) & National Institute of Lasers & Optronics (NILO) in Nilore
IMAGE: PINSTECH, New Labs, Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences(PIEAS) & National Institute of Lasers & Optronics (NILO) in Nilore

  1. Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra
Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra

PAC is under the Ministry of Defence and a support organisation for Pakistani Air Force. Its Chairman is an air force officer with the rank of Air Marshal. It started in 1973 as a facility to repair and overhaul Chinese origin F-6 aircraft in PAF service. After that, a Mirage Rebuild Factory was established in 1974 followed by Kamra Avionics & Radar Factory (KARF) and Aircraft Manufacturing Factory (AMF).

It is responsible for repair and overhaul of most of aircraft in PAF service as well as manufacturing spares and complete aircraft where technology transfer has taken place. Currently, it manufactures parts of MFI-17 Mushshak, K-8 Karakorum trainers and JF-17 including final assembly of the latter. 

The modifications required by Mirage-, Mirage-5 and F-16s enabling them to drop nuclear weapons were believed to be done by its personnel.

IMAGE: Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra
IMAGE: Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra

IMAGE: Reinforced storage bunkers

IMAGE: Assembly plant with 3 nearly complete JF-17s
  1. Karachi Nuclear Power Complex

Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP) started in 1971 with one 137 MW pressurised heavy-water reactor (PHWR) from Canada.  Construction of 2 Chinese PHWRs, Hualong One producing 1100 MW, started in 2013 and 2016. One started electricity production in 2021. KANUPP-1 had a cumulative load factor of 29.5 percent, making it the worst performing reactors worldwide. It was supposed to be shut down in 2002, but operated for some time after that. 

It is under international safeguards and for all intents and purposes, seems to be a civilian facility.

IMAGE: Karachi nuclear power plants
IMAGE: Karachi nuclear power plants

  1. Khan Research Laboratories

KRL, now Institute of Industrial Control Systems (IICS) is one of the two main nuclear research and development organisations in Pakistan. It was started by AQ Khan as Pakistan’s Uranium enrichment facility based on stolen designs from his employer Urenco. Under AQ Khan, the organisation was involved in mass scale theft and sale of nuclear technologies to multiple rogue entities and nations. The name was changed to IICS after the nuclear proliferation scandal became public

Like PAEC, it too buys multiple kinds of dual use and military equipment under cover of multiple shell companies.

Its main complex in Kahuta has 3 centrifuge facilities for enrichment of Uranium. It has also developed some other weapon systems like liquid fuelled Ghauri ballistic missile, Anza MANPADS, Bakhtar Shikan ATGM and some targeting systems. The technology of liquid fuelled Ghauri missile was brought in from North Korea (Nodong missile) and modified by KRL in this facility. Its role in development of solid fuelled ballistic missiles remains unclear.

IMAGE: Khan Research Laboratories
IMAGE: Khan Research Laboratories

Missile manufacturing

Newest centrifuge

Older centrifuges

Construction & support area in south
  1. Civil Works Organisation
Civil Works Organisation

CWO was created by the Pakistani Army in the 1970s as a cover for Pakistan’s nuclear program. It is subordinate to SPD, but the scale of its involvement in nuclear projects is not widely known.  Many of the staff seem to be from the Pakistani army, especially engineering units.

It seems to be involved in creation of basic infrastructure for military as well as some civilian projects. It has been used as a front company by KRL to source some dual use technology items.

  1. Frontier Works Organisation

FWO was established in 1966 by Pakistani Army  to carry out engineering works of strategic nature. Its mandate seems to have some overlap with that of CWO mentioned above. Apart from construction of important civilian and military infrastructure like roads and buildings, it has also participated in Pakistani nuclear program. Some of its known nuclear projects include construction of tunnels for nuclear tests in Chagai, Uranium mining facilities,nuclear waste management facility in Dera Ghazi Khan and was also involved in construction at Khushab nuclear complex

  1. National Development Complex (NDC)

NDC is responsible for aerospace and some defence projects of Ministry of Defence and works under National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM). It was established in 1990 by carving out and renaming Special Development Works (SDW) from Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). It is involved in research and development of various missiles and ammunition. Some of the known projects include Babur, Nasr, Shaheen-1, Shaheen-2 tank ammunition and naval mines.Some of its facilities have been explained in previous section.  It’s HQ is at NESCOM’s Rawalpindi Complex.

  1. National Electronics Complex (NECOP)

NECOP is a joint project of Chinese defence electronics manufacturer, CETC International and Pakistan for civilian, information technology and defence electronic domains in Pakistan. It was established in 2008 as a way to facilitate Chinese business and defence interests in Pakistan

  1. National Institute Of Electronics (NIE) 
National Institute Of Electronics (NIE) 

NIE is an autonomous organisation under Ministry of Science and Technology. It was established in 1979 for research in to civilian and defence electronics. It works in fields of power and digital electronics, computer hardware, software and training. It also does some work related to PCB design, fabrication and integrated circuit design. 

Although there is not much  information available publicly about its role in defence sector, it is quite likely that the expertise of this organisation is used in various conventional and military projects of Pakistan.

  1.  Project Management Organisation (PMO)

PMO has played an important role in Pakistan’s solid fuelled ballistic missile program. It was involved in absorption of technology for Chinese M-11 (Ghaznavi) and M-9 (Shaheen-1) ballistic missiles and modifying them to some extent to meet Pakistani requirements. It may also be involved in production of some systems of newer missiles, but more details are not available. It has been on international black lists for proliferation of restricted missile technologies.

  1. Winder Missile Launch Facility

This is one of known missile test launch facilities in Pakistan, weat of Karachi and around 20 km away from SUPARCO’s test range. A number of missiles and specialised support vehicles have been spotted in the facility over the years. Missiles launched from this facility splash down in Arabian sea when fired south. 

There is a command and control facility with large garages and open spaces for vehicles and sometimes tents near the main road. Actual launch pad with a movable shed is around 1 km further towards the sea shore.

Missile test launch facility in Winder
IMAGE: Missile test launch facility in Winder

IMAGE: Ababeel missile before its failed test in June 2018

IMAGE: Another test preparation in Dec 2017

IMAGE: Perhaps Shaheen

IMAGE: Some special vehicles near Admin section

  1. Space and Upper Atmosphere Commission (SUPARCO)

SUPARCO is Pakistan’s national space agency working under SPD. Since inception, main mandate of this organisation has been the development of Pakistani missile program.It was involved in development of Abdali missile and initial development of Shaheen was as a solid fuelled booster rocket. Hatf-1 was based on sounding rockets provided by the French. Its involvement in development and manufacturing of other missiles is not clear. 

Space and Upper Atmosphere Commission (SUPARCO)

In the civilian field, it’s involved in launching sounding rockets, satellite design and operating their ground stations. Yet since its inception in 1961, it has met very limited success in this field even with multiple collaborations with a number of foreign countries with established space programs such as China, Britain, Russia & USA.  SUPARCO’s HQ is in Karachi and a few other facilities in different parts of the country. Pakistani missile test launch facility at Winder is located around 21 km from SUPARCO’s Flight Test Range and it is likely that the two facilities share expertise and resources for tracking performance of missiles being tested.

6 of 11 SUPARCO’s chiefs have been from Pakistani armed forces, two from the Air Force and four from the Army.

IMAGE: Suparco Flight Test Range near Karachi
IMAGE: Suparco Flight Test Range near Karachi

  1. Heavy Mechanical Complex (HMC)

HMC was established in 1979 with Chinese assistance. There are 3 known HMC complexes, of which only HMC-3, a subsidiary of PAEC, is believed to be involved in design and manufacturing of items used in nuclear fields. It was established in 1992 and specialises in construction of very large equipment and structures of particular use in nuclear reactors and related facilities. It has manufactured some civilian grade equipment for a handful of foreign clients.

HMC-1 and HMC-2  focus on conventional military manufacturing such as parts for armoured vehicles, guns as well as many civilian equipment such as equipment for power plants, construction, farming, railways and oil processing. Heavy Rebuild Factory under HMC does refurbishing and upgrades of a few tanks including Type-59 plus manufacture of Al-Khalid. Gun Factory, established with Chinese help in 1992 produces various types of artillery barrels.

At Least 30% of HIT employees are ex-servicemen

Heavy Mechanical Complex
IMAGE: Heavy Mechanical Complex 3
  1. Pakistan Welding Institute (PWI)

PWI is a subsidiary of PAEC which works in Pakistani nuclear projects such as Khushab Nuclear Complex. It also provides training and manpower to other Pakistani organisations involved in this field.

  1. Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS)

PIEAS is under PAEC and part of PINSTECH. It’s campus is right next to PINSTECH listed earlier in this section. It offers specialised training and performs research in strategic engineering and scientific fields such as nuclear technology, metallurgy, computing, biotechnology and a few others. 

  1. Directorate of Technical Development (DTD)

DTD established in 1974 is another subsidiary of PAEC. Its mandate includes research, design fabrication and testing of nuclear weapons. As with most of Pakistani institutions, there seems to be a number of associations with Chinese commercial and dual use entities.

  1. National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM) 
National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM)

NESCOM is under administrative control of SPD and NCA and one of the major Pakistani organisations involved in Pakistani missile and other weapons programs. Its mandate includes research of civilian and dual-use items too. It has three divisions listed below:

  • National Development Complex. Ballistic & cruise missiles.
  • Maritime Technology Complex. Radars, sonars, ships and other maritime defence systems.
  • Air Weapons Complex. Aircraft weaponry of all types.

NDC has been mentioned earlier, other two are covered next.

NESCOM has a few other direct and indirect subsidiaries such as Centre of Excellence in Science and Applied Technologies (CESAT) which undertake research and training efforts in varied scientific and engineering fields such as propulsion, energy, explosives, communications, fluid dynamics,  electronics among a few others. It also works for sales of locally manufactured equipment in global markets. 

Organisations such as CESAT and NESCOM personnel have played important roles in development of nearly all ballistic and cruise missiles of Pakistan. Additionally they’ve contributed to most of Pakistani air-to-ground guided and unguided  bombs, depleted Uranium ammunition, Starfish naval mine, towed array sonars and some electronic warfare systems. 

It was founded in 2000 and employs around 16,000 people. It is involved in trade of dual use items and has multiple collaborations with similar organisations in China and Turkey.

  1. Maritime Technologies Complex (MTC)

MTC is the research and development organisation for Pakistani Navy and as mentioned earlier, a subordinate to NESCOM. It works on R&D of naval weapon systems and sensors including ongoing efforts for development of nuclear delivery platforms for Pakistani Navy. There’ve been some reports of Pakistani attempts to develop a nuclear reactor for a SSBN or SSN. MTC is likely to be one of the leading organisations involved in this project. 

Head of organisation is a Director General, a Rear Admiral ranked officer.  

  1. Air Weapons Complex (AWC)

AWC, as mentioned above, is a part of NESCOM and is located in Wah. It was established in 1988 as a military unit of the Pakistani Air Force to develop weapons and sensors for military use. It has collaborated with foreign entities like Denel of South Africa and some Chinese weapons manufacturers to assimilate and deploy their technologies in Pakistan. Some Pakistani guided munitions like H-2 and H-4 SOWs are rebranded Denel products. Ra’ad cruise missile is based upon Chinese HY-2 Seersucker. Chief of the organisation is usually an Air Force officer rank of Air Vice Marshall.

  1. Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DESTO)
Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DESTO)

DESTO was established in 1963 by Pakistani Ministry of Defence mainly for scientific research which included reverse engineering of certain military and some dual use items. It’s headed by a Director General, a two star officer from the Pakistani Army. It is subordinate to SPD and part of NESCOM. Its field of work includes aerodynamics, explosives, propulsion, electronics, metallurgy, chemical and biological warfare. It is perhaps the only Pakistani organisation to own and operate a wind tunnel. 

  1.  Peoples Steel Mills (PSM) 

PSM is one of largest industrial companies  involved in production of metal and alloys. It was established in 1968 and has supplied important equipment which has been used in Pakistani nuclear program as well as conventional weapons.

Some of the known contributions include material for centrifuges, maraging steel for reactors and is used as a proxy to purchase dual use items from abroad.  It is under SPD

IMAGE: Nuclear facilities

PNRAG 8/1 , Islamabad24°50’51.59″N66°46’57.56″EPakistan Nuclear Regulatory AuthorityAdmin
POF 1Wah33°46’38.52″N72°46’2.35″EWarhead productionPakistan Ordnance FactoriesR&D & manufacturing
POF 2Panj Graan Road, Havelian34° 2’1.14″N73° 7’30.51″EPakistan Ordnance Factories 2R&D & manufacturing
PACKamra Kalan, Attock33°52’4.72″N72°25’9.58″EPakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) KamraAircraft manufacturing & servicingR&D & manufacturing
KRLKahuta33°36’45.59″N73°22’21.21″EKhan Research LaboratoriesDesign, cold testsR&D
CWOConstruction Materials Lab Peshawar Road, Rawalpindi33°37’34.24″N72°57’44.72″ECivil Works OrganisationConstruction
FWOKashmir Rd, R. A. Bazar, Rawalpindi33°35’20.54″N73° 2’47.34″EFrontier Works OrganizationConstruction
AWCWah33°50’53.53″N72°43’42.34″EAir Weapons Complex (AWC)R&D & manufacturing
PSMKarachi24°57’53.32″N67° 1’26.34″EPeoples Steel Mills (PSM)Manufacturing
HITRawalpindi33°43’45.91″N72°49’49.80″EHeavy Industries TaxilaR&D & manufacturing
HMC 2Hattar Road, Rawalpindi33°46’41.00″N72°48’40.15″EHeavy Mechanical ComplexManufacturing
HMC 3Kot Najeebullah Rd, Taxila33°47’11.06″N72°48’44.73″EHeavy Mechanical ComplexManufacturing
NECNational Electronics Complex (NEC)
NIEH-9, Islamabad, Pakistan33°39’58.29″N73° 2’36.61″ENational Institute Of Electronics (NIE)R&D
PMOTarnawa, Haripur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa33°46’52.96″N72°53’48.29″EProject Management Organisation. Ballistic missilesR&D & manufacturing
Winger launch siteLas Bela, Balochistan25°20’51.80″N66°39’23.64″EBallistic missile test siteR&D
Suparco FTRSonmiani Beach25°11’35.29″N66°44’52.93″ESonmiani Flight Test Range (FTR)R&D
FWO509 Kashmir Rd, R. A. Bazar Rawalpindi33°35’18.74″N73° 2’46.97″EFrontier Works OrganizationConstruction
PWIStreet 7, I-9/2 I 9/2 Industrial Area, Islamabad33°39’37.48″N73° 3’4.86″EPakistan Welding InstituteManufacturing
SPDF Training33°16’9.05″N72°43’40.77″ESPDF Training AcademySecurity
TABLE: Pakistani nuclear research & manufacturing facilities.

Chashma 1 & 2Mianwali32°23’30.12″N71°27’43.10″EChashma Reactor 1 & 2. CHASNUPPReactor
Chashma 3 & 4Mianwali32°23’8.81″N71°28’15.56″EChashma Reactor 3 & 4 CHASNUPPReactor
Chashma ReprocessingMianwali32°22’55.99″N71°26’26.88″EChashma Reprocessing Plant KNC-2Fuel Processing
Karachi Reactor 1Karachi24°50’42.06″N66°47’18.36″ENuclear power production KANUPPReactor
Karachi Reactor 2&3Karachi24°51’4.11″N66°46’29.74″ENuclear power production KANUPPReactor
KNC-1Kundian32°23’45.57″N71°27’18.57″EKundian Nuclear Fuel Complex KNC-1Fuel Processing
Khushab reactor 1Khushab32° 1’12.44″N72°12’28.47″EPlutonium production PHWR, possibly Titium, 40 MWReactor
Khushab reactor 2,3Khushab32° 0’35.08″N72°10’22.19″EPlutonium production PHWR, possibly Titium, 40-120 MWReactor
Khushab reactor 4Khushab32° 0’4.18″N72°10’21.57″EPlutonium production PHWR, possibly Titium, 40-120 MWReactor
Khushab thermalKhushab31°59’17.34″N72°10’10.38″ECoal fired power plantOther
Khushab HWKhushab31°59’30.78″N72°11’50.18″EKhushab Heavy Water ProductionOther
PINSTECHNilore33°39’11.15″N73°15’34.08″EPakistan Institute of Nuclear Science & Technology10 MW and 27 kw Research reactors & ReprocessingFuel Processing
Chemical Plants ComplexDera Ghazi Khan29°59’54.41″N70°35’4.09″EUranium processing including UF6 ProductionFuel Processing
Baghal ChorDera Ghazi Khan29°59’6.63″N70°35’26.46″EPAEC,Uranium Mine & Mill
New LaboratoriesPINSTECH, Nilore33°38’59.27″N73°15’21.53″E15-20kg Plutonium annuallyFuel Processing
Gudwal CentrifugeGudwal, Wah33°48’31.79″N72°44’38.01″EUltracentrifuge Plant. Weapons grade Uranium processingCentrifuge
MineQabul Khel32°39’0.15″N71° 7’57.78″EPAEC,Uranium Mine & MillMine
MineDera Ghazi Khan30°14’23.19″N70°17’9.76″EOld Uranium mine, used for waste storageMine
MineTaunsa30°35’21.11″N70°32’8.76″EPAEC,Uranium Mine & MillMine
MineShanwa Karak32°52’27.45″N71° 4’30.18″EUranium mine
TestingRas Koh,28°55’57.82″N64°44’31.57″ENuclear test siteTesting
TestingWazir Khan Khosa28°41’54.12″N64° 1’16.78″ENuclear test siteTesting
TABLE: Pakistani nuclear reactors and fissile material sites

Some other Pakistani Uranium deposits and possible mines are at Kirther Range, Kohat, Potwar, Mianwali, Nangar Nal, Chaklala, Golra, Sihala, Chinji, Nagri, Dhok Pathan and Soan


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