Flag for Pakistan Pakistan

Sonmiani Flight Test Range (FTR)

  • Location
    50km W Karachi [1]
  • Type
    Missile-Testing
  • Facility Status
    Active

Want to dive deeper?

Visit the Education Center

About

The Flight Test Range (FTR) at Sonmiani Beach is SUPARCO's primary rocket launch facility. The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and the National Defence 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.

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and SUPARCO collaboratively use the FTR as the launch site for sounding rockets. [3] Somniami, however, has also 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, Somniami has hosted four known test flights of the Hatf-2/Abdali, five 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]

Sources:
[1] Dinshaw Mistry, Containing Missile Proliferation: Strategic Technology, Security Regimes, and International Cooperation in Arms Control (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2003), p. 118.
[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] “Sonmiani,” Encyclopedia Astronautica, 31 January 2011, www.astronautix.com.
[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.

Glossary

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.

Close

My Resources