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Pakistan Works to Enhance its Rocket Artillery Capabilities

The commercial representative of Pakistan’s state-owned defence producers, i.e., Global Industrial and Defence Solutions (GIDS), revealed that a new variant of the Fatah-series of multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) is under development. Called the Fatah-II, the new MLRS will offer a range of 250 km, a significant improvement compared to the Fatah-I, which has a range of 140 km.

Of the new weapon systems revealed by GIDS, the Fatah-II is likely among the ones nearing completion or operational induction in the near-term. Once inducted, the Fatah-II will complement the Fatah-I, Chinese A-100, Yarmouk-series, and Nasr tactical ballistic missile (TBM) in Pakistan’s rocket artillery inventory.

In 2019, Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) referenced two indigenous MLRS programs in development, a standard MLRS and an “extended-range” MLRS. Originally, it was believed that the initial MLRS variant was the A-100, and, in turn, the Fatah-I was the “extended-range” system. However, in light of the Fatah-II, it is now apparent that the MoDP was referring to two domestic programs whereby Fatah-I was the standard MLRS and, subsequently, the Fatah-II was the “extended-range” version.

The Fatah-II will leverage a satellite navigation-aided inertial navigation system (INS) to provide a precision-guided strike capability. It will have a circular probable error (CEP) of less than 10 m. The preceding Fatah-I likely uses a similar guidance system, hence forming a short and long-range precision strike grouping for the Pakistan Army’s (PA) rocket artillery forces.

Currently, it seems that the PA is gradually building a multi-layered rocket artillery inventory, one consisting of multiple types of guided munitions. The Fatah-series would likely form the larger set of the non-strategic munitions, potentially being 400 mm caliber rockets. Supporting the Fatah-series would be the Yarmouk-series of 122 mm diameter rockets, which reportedly offer a range of 20 km. However, the current series of Yarmouk MLRS rockets are unguided; the next step for the PA would be to procure a guided variant, so as to complete its land-based precision-strike capability across multiple ranges and warhead sizes…

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