Pakistan air force has successfully tested the Hatf-VIII Ra’ad ALCM (Air-Launched Cruise Missile). Ra’ad has a range of over 350km and it can be launch from fighter aircrafts of the Pakistan air force. Indigenously designed and developed missile is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads.

ALCM Hatf-VIII Ra’ad provides Pakistan air force with a weapon system which have strategic standoff capability to strike even highly defended targets. Pakistani scientist has designed Ra’ad cruise missile with stealth capability so that missile cannot be detected by the enemy radars.

Hatf-VIII Ra’ad cruise missile follows a low altitude path using its terrain following capability to complement the stealth capability to achieve a surprise attack. It can be used to strike targets like hardened aircraft shelters at air bases, bunkers and command-and-control centers of the enemy.

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) can use the Hatf-VIII Raad air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) from its upgraded Mirage IIIEA and missile might also be integrated on the JF-17 Thunder fighter jets.

Development of the Hatf-VIII Raad ALCM started in 2003 and missile was tested for the first time in 2005. It uses the infra-red imaging (IIR) seeker for digital scene-matching capability.

Missile uses twin horizontal fins and is powered by a turbojet engine. It has estimated cruising speed of Mach 0.8. Raad’s carries pre-planned data along with latest imagery intelligence of its intended target area. This capability allows ALCM to follow a safest possible path to its target and it can avoid the risks of detection and engagement by the enemy’s air defense systems.

Missile uses GPS and terrain-matching capability of the area to fly at the low altitude. It uses its high resolution infra-red imaging seeker to take images of the area and then compare them with images stored in its memory to stay on course.

Infra-red imaging IIR seeker allows Hatf-VIII Raad ALCM to achieve Circular Error Probable (CEP) of just 3 meters. Pakistan air force already uses the short range H-2 precision guided weapon with range of 60 kilometers and medium range H-4 with 120 kilometer range.

President and Prime Minister of Pakistan have applauded the efforts of the scientists and engineers involved in the project.

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