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RA’AD ALCM: The Custodian Of PAKISTAN’s Airborne Nuclear Deterrence:
The RA’AD Air Launched Cruise Missile is lethal Air Launched Cruise Missile that makes the backbone of PAKISTAN AIR FORCE’s Airborne Nuclear Deterrent Posture. The Air Launch variant of the RA’AD ALCM was first revealed by PAKISTAN AIR FORCE back in 2007 with an initial range of 350 Kilometers or 218 miles in total.
PAKISTAN AIR FORCE launched the RA’AD ALCM from Mirage III ROSE/5 Combat Aircraft, which is the long range strike capable aircraft of the PAKISTAN AIR FORCE due to its immense capability of Standoff range weapons (SOW).
After nearly 1.5 decades, PAKISTAN AIR FORCE successfully test fires the RA’AD-2 ALCM. The new missile featuring enhanced 600 Kilometer range from the initial 350 Kilometers and it is designed to hit targets on land and sea with pinpoint accuracy.
It is important to mention that PAKISATN AIR FORCE has made fundamental changes in the basic structure of the missile that allows the missile to fire from other platforms, such as PAKISTAN’s Indigenous JF-17 Thunder Combat Aircraft, apart from the initial capability of Mirage III ROSE/5 Combat Aircraft.
Furthermore, the new version of RA’AD-2 Air Launched Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile is much more compact in size than its previous version, which give a clear indication that PAF want to deploy the missile on its other platform, notably on JF-17 Thunder Multirole Fighter Jet. In this configuration, JF-17 Thunder Fighter Jet can easily one RA’AD-2 ALCM under its wing.
The most prominent change PAKISAN AIR FORCE has made in RA’AD-2 ALCM is the new tailstock that uses a revolutionary “X”-shaped design rather than the conventional protruding horizontal stabilizers.
This is the most significant change that PAKISTAN AIR FORCE has made as it allows the latter air force to easily deploy its nuclear deterrent missile from several platforms, apart from the Mirage III ROSE/5 Jet.
Furthermore, changing the platform also gives complete assurance of the possibility of a nuclear attack in case of the unavailability of the Mirage III ROSE/5 Jet. Moreover, the enhanced range of RA’AD Air Launched Cruise Missile also minimize the chances of using a long-range strike jet for its launch.
Having said that the importance and effectiveness of a long-range strike fighter jet cannot be sidelined as the enhanced range of both, fighter jet and missile, will definitely give an edge to the Air Force in the future conflicts.
Initially, PAKISTAN AIR FORCE has sought to attain this capability back in the 1970s, when it shows the interest for the induction of 110 Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV) A-7 Corsair II Aircraft from the United States.
Nevertheless, Project AZM, PAKISTAN’s Indigenous Fifth Generation Long Range Stealth Jet, will help to resolve all the limitations PAKISTAN AIR FORCE has experienced before. The reviewed two engine design of the PAKISTAN’s Fifth Generation Long Range Stealth Fighter Jet can easily handle all the requirements of PAKISTAN AIR FORCE for long range strikes.
PAKISTAN’s Indigenous Fifth Generation Fighter Long Range Stealth Fighter Jet is a credible step of PAKISTAN for its need of long-range strike capable aircraft and it will continue to be the backbone of PAKISTAN AIR FORCE Nuclear Deterrent Element for the decades to come.
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