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National Defense Complex (NDC)

  • Location
    Fatehjang, Tarwanah suburb, Rawalpindi (50km, SW Islamabad)
  • Type
  • Facility Status

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The 1999 to 2001 command-and-control reforms transferred Pakistan’s nuclear weaponization programs, including missile development, to the National Defense Complex (NDC) and its supervisory organization, the National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM). As of 2008, NDC remains the focal point for Pakistan’s missile development programs. 1 2 Jane’s credits NDC for the redesign of several models, including the Hatf-2/Abdali, Hatf-3/Ghaznavi, Hatf-4/Shaheen-1, and Hatf-6/Shaheen-2 missiles originally developed by the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Organization (SUPARCO) and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). 3 Whether NDC also took control of existing liquid-fueled Ghauri models developed by the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) remains less clear. 4 However, Jane’s credits NDC with developing the updated Ghauri-3 missile, with a range doubling the KRL’s Ghauri-1. 5

NDC has also developed the Hatf-7/Babur, Pakistan’s first land attack cruise missile. The 2005 inaugural test-flight of the Hatf-7/Babur stunned many observers both for its technological complexity and its undetected development. 6 Whether NDC benefited, as PAEC historically did, from Chinese assistance while developing the Babur remains unclear – analysts have identified design similarities with several Chinese cruise missiles as well as U.S. Tomahawk missiles, which have crash landed over Pakistani territory. 7 Upgraded Babur missiles were test-fired in 2007 and 2009. 8 Some analysts believe that further development includes air-launch and sea-launch capabilities. 9

In 1998, the Clinton Administration imposed sanctions on NDC under the Arms Export Control Act and the Export Administration Regulations for unspecified involvement in nuclear or missile activities. 10 President George W. Bush waived these sanctions in 2001 to facilitate post-September 11 collaboration with Pakistan. 11


Cruise missile
An unmanned self-propelled guided vehicle that sustains flight through aerodynamic lift for most of its flight path. There are subsonic and supersonic cruise missiles currently deployed in conventional and nuclear arsenals, while conventional hypersonic cruise missiles are currently in development. These can be launched from the air, submarines, or the ground. Although they carry smaller payloads, travel at slower speeds, and cover lesser ranges than ballistic missiles, cruise missiles can be programmed to travel along customized flight paths and to evade missile defense systems.
Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM)
A missile designed to be launched from an aircraft and jet-engine powered throughout its flight. As with all cruise missiles, its range is a function of payload, propulsion, and fuel volume, and can thus vary greatly. Under the START I Treaty, the term "long-range ALCM" means an air-launched cruise missile with a range in excess of 600 kilometers.
Punitive measures, for example economic in nature, implemented in response to a state's violation of its international obligations.


  1. Nuclear Black Markets: Pakistan, A.Q. Khan and the Rise of Proliferation Networks – A Net Assessment, (London: The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2007), p. 111.
  2. Usman Ansari, “Pakistan Pushes to Improve Missile Strike Capability,” DefenseNews, 17 November 2008, www.defensenews.com.
  3. “Hatf 2 (Abdali) (Pakistan), Offensive weapons,” Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Surrey), 11 August 2010; “Hatf 3 (Ghaznavi) (Pakistan), Offensive Weapons,” Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Surrey), 11 August 2010; “Hatf 4 (Shaheen 1) (Pakistan), Offensive weapons,” Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Surrey), 11 August 2010; “Hatf 6 (Shaheen 2) (Pakistan), Offensive Weapons,” Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Surrey), 12 August 2010.
  4. “Hatf 5 (Ghauri) (Pakistan), Offensive Weapons,” Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Surrey), 12 August 2010.
  5. Robert Hewson, “Cruise missile technology proliferation takes off,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, 1 October 2005.
  6. Robert Hewson, “Cruise missile technology proliferation takes off,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, 1 October 2005.
  7. Robert Hewson, “Cruise missile technology proliferation takes off,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, 1 October 2005; Robert Hewson, Andrew Koch, and Farhan Bokhari, “Pakistan tests cruise missile,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, 17 August 2005.
  8. Doug Richardson, “Pakistani Hatf-VII flies for third time,” Jane’s Missiles & Rockets, 1 February 2008; Sohail Abdul Nasir, “Pakistan: Foreign Ministry says cruise missile successfully tested May 6,” Nawa-i-Waqt in Urdu, reported in English by BBC Worldwide Monitoring, BBC Monitoring South Asia – Political, 10 May 2009, in LexisNexis Academic Universe, www.lexisnexis.com.
  9. Shannon N. Kile, Vitaly Fedchenko and Hans M. Kristensen, ‘World Nuclear Forces,’ SIPRI Yearbook 2009 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009) p. 375.
  10. “India and Pakistan Sanctions and Other Measures,” 63 Federal Register 223 (19 November 1998), pp. 64322-64342.
  11. “Presidential Determination No. 2001-28 of September 22, 2001: Waiver of Nuclear-Related Sanctions on India and Pakistan, Memorandum for the Secretary of State,” 66 Federal Register 191 (2 October 2001), p. 50095; “India and Pakistan: Lifting of Sanctions, Removal of Indian and Pakistani Entities, and Revision in License Review Policy,” 66 Federal Register 190 (1 October 2001), p. 50090, and Dianne E. Rennack, India and Pakistan: U.S. Economic Sanctions, CRS Report, 3 February 2003.


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