Pakistan & Second strike

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by RPK, Sep 16, 2009.

  1. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    Pakistan needs to acquire a matching capability, not only to restore balance in the region but also to assure second-strike capability. There are several options available to Pakistan, though each presents its own unique challenges

    On July 26, 2009, India launched its first nuclear submarine, capable of launching nuclear ballistic missiles. While the submarine, Arihant, and its nuclear reactor are still undergoing trials, the Indians have already started building a second such submarine.

    The upshot is that the induction of this capability would enhance India’s outreach in and domination of the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean littoral and beyond. Since the development presents a serious threat to Pakistan, in theory, it has the potential to spur an arms race in South Asia. The Indian Navy could threaten Pakistan’s brown water navy and be in a much better position to blockade Pakistani ports and choke the flow of trade from the Persian Gulf via the Suez Canal in the west and the Straits of Malacca in the east.

    Pakistan therefore needs to acquire a matching capability, not only to restore balance in the region but also to assure second-strike capability. There are several options available, though each presents its own unique challenges.

    The easiest option is to modify the existing fleet of conventional submarines. The most potent submarine with the Pakistan Navy fleet at the moment is the French Agosta-90B. One of the Agosta-90Bs, the PNS Hamza, is equipped with an air-independent propulsion system, which enables the submarine to remain submerged for longer periods.

    Currently, Pakistan is the only country in South Asia in possession of a submarine with air-independent propulsion. With a few modifications to its torpedo tubes — they are already capable of launching Exocet missiles — the PN can launch nuclear cruise missiles. That would provide an instant second-strike capability.

    Compared to nuclear submarines, conventional submarines are smaller, more manoeuvrable, quieter and more capable of underwater offensives against adversaries. The flip side is that conventional submarines are marred by lesser range and limited submersion endurance time. This, however, should be viewed in the context of PN’s modest regional ambitions, limited to brown waters only.

    Arihant will carry the K-15 Sagarika, a submarine-based ballistic missile with a 700-km range. If Pakistan is able to equip its Agosta-90Bs with cruise missiles, e.g. the Babur cruise missile with a 500-km to 750-km range, then it can match India. Both submarines will require similar distance to carry out a nuclear strike. If Pakistan can meet the technological challenges, this capability could be achieved even before Arihant’s reactor goes critical and the Sagarika missiles become operational.

    In that scenario, Pakistan can have assured second-strike capability before the Indians.

    But this assurance would be limited and may last only till Arihant becomes operational. A submarine with longer range and greater endurance under water is necessary for a credible assured second-strike capability. Pakistan will thus require a nuclear submarine at some point.

    For an easier way out, Pakistan can opt for the second option, i.e. removal of the air-independent propulsion system and the diesel engine on the Agosta-90B and make room for a miniaturised nuclear reactor, thereby increasing the range of the Agosta-90Bs and enabling them to stay underwater for longer periods. Theoretically, this option is possible, but literature does not indicate if any state has attempted such an experiment.

    That said, the French Rubis Class nuclear submarine could be an inspiration in this context: it is the most compact nuclear submarine ever built, almost the same size as Pakistan’s Agosta-90Bs.

    The challenge in resorting to the above option is miniaturising the nuclear reactor, which should be small enough to fit into the slim frame of the Agosta-90B. If Pakistan does overcome this challenge, it would be illogical not to develop a nuclear submarine capable of launching ballistic missiles.

    But as noted earlier, each option has its own unique challenges. Building such a submarine will require tremendous work and technological effort. A larger submarine will be required with enough room for a nuclear reactor and ballistic missile containers, apart from the miniaturisation of the nuclear reactor and improving warheads. Whether Pakistan can overcome all these challenges remains to be seen. Even so, if we can miniaturise a reactor, there is no reason to think we cannot meet the other challenges.

    In view of the above argument, it would only be logical for Pakistan to develop a similar indigenous capability, especially since Pakistan’s command and control structure also suggests the country needs a triad of nuclear forces.


    Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan
     
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  3. Sabir

    Sabir DFI TEAM Senior Member

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    Think...This guy (author) is a defence analyst. To make a miniature of nuclear reactor they wd have to work for couple of decades. And while depending on a single Aghosta (he forgot India will have the Scorpenes in near future) he should have kept in mind the ASW capability India is acquiring.
     
  4. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    This guy must be smoking hot. It is not easy to change torpedo tubes to hold cruise missiles which are big and wider and need a different kind of launcher.

    Regarding the fitting of nuclear reactor in Agosta, he is forgetting that it is not easy for any country to make a miniaturized nuclear reactor. Pakistan doesn't even have the technology to make a normal size reactor. Even if by miracle, china supplies the nuclear reactor, it is not easy to fit it into the Agostas. You need to cut it open and put it inside and a lot of modifications needs to be done in the design itself.

    He should stop having wet dreams.
     
  5. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Pakistan’s Nuclear Doctrine

    That is Pakistani nuclear doctrine. From when did they start worrying about second strike capability?
     
  6. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    From the above

    This is a hilarious nuclear doctrine. No where in the world you can find such doctrine. Third step is good enough for India to annihilate Pakistan. I highly doubt if this is the official doctrine of Pakistan. It doesn't make sense at all. With this doctrine they are inviting their own destruction.:2guns:
     

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