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Sonmiani Flight Test Range (FTR)

  • Location
    50km W Karachi [1]
  • Type
  • Facility Status

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The Flight Test Range (FTR) at Sonmiani Beach is SUPARCO’s primary rocket launch facility. The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and the National Defense Complex (NDC) also use the Somniami FTR for test-flights of solid-fueled ballistic missiles. Expanded and modernized in the 1990s, its facilities include rocket launchers; a rocket assembly workshop; a payload assembly area; high-speed tracking radars; a control room; a telemetry station; flight communications equipment; optical cameras; and a maintenance workshop. Prior to this, it was used for the civilian space program.1 2

The Flight Test Range at Sonmiani Beach is now primarily used for ballistic missile testing.3  It has hosted test flights of the Hatf-3/Ghaznavi (M-11) and Hatf-4/Shaheen-1, and the Hatf-6/Shaheen-2 solid-fueled ballistic missiles. 4 In total, Sonmani has hosted four known test flights of the Hatf-2/Abdali, two test flights of the Hatf-3/Ghaznavi, seven test flights of the Hatf-4/Shaheen-1, and five test flights of the Hatf-6/Shaheen-2.5


Ballistic missile
A delivery vehicle powered by a liquid or solid fueled rocket that primarily travels in a ballistic (free-fall) trajectory.  The flight of a ballistic missile includes three phases: 1) boost phase, where the rocket generates thrust to launch the missile into flight; 2) midcourse phase, where the missile coasts in an arc under the influence of gravity; and 3) terminal phase, in which the missile descends towards its target.  Ballistic missiles can be characterized by three key parameters - range, payload, and Circular Error Probable (CEP), or targeting precision.  Ballistic missiles are primarily intended for use against ground targets.


  1. “History,” SUPARCO, 2015, suparco.gov.pk.
  2. Dinshaw, Mistry, Containing Missile Proliferation: Strategic Technology, Security Regimes, and International Cooperation in Arms Control (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2003), p. 118.
  3. Kiran Krishan Nair, Space: The Frontiers of Modern Defense (New Delhi: Knowledge World, 2006).
  4. “Missile Flight Tests,” The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 31 January 2011, www.iiss.org.
  5. “Missile Flight Tests,” The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 31 January 2011, www.iiss.org.


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