Khan Research Laboratories (KRL)

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Last Updated: September 27, 2011
Other Name: Kahuta Research Laboratories; Engineering Research Laboratories
Location: Rawalpindi
Subordinate To: Directorate of Scientific and Technical Cooperation
Size: Ghauri Development Area of ~32 buildings, Dynamic Test Facility of 1 isolated building, sparsely developed engine test area [1]
Facility Status: Active

While more frequently associated with Pakistan’s nuclear program, Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) also figures prominently in Pakistan’s medium-range liquid-fueled ballistic missile development history. [2] A historical competitor to Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission’s solid-fueled ballistic missile initiatives, the 1999-2001 command-and-control reforms consolidated the bulk of missile development activities under the National Defence Complex (NDC). [3,4] KRL, however, continues to contribute to the development of the Ghauri missiles. [5]

KRL’s missile development efforts focused on liquid-fueled medium-range missiles built with North Korean assistance. On 6 April 1998, KRL held a test flight of the liquid-fueled medium-range Ghauri-1/Hatf-5 missile. [6] Senior U.S. intelligence officials identified the missile as a Nodong missile from North Korea. [7] The same sources also confirmed the launch site as either KRL or an alternate site near Jhelum. [8]

Following the April 1998 Ghauri-1 test-flight, the Clinton Administration imposed sanctions on KRL under the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Arms Export Control Act. [9] This failed to hamper KRL, as none of the parts or expertise for the Ghauri project came from the Unites States. [10] Development continued, and KRL tested Ghauri-2/Hatf-5A with an improved range of 2,000km, and repeatedly indicated that the Ghauri-3, with a range of 3,000km, was also ready for testing. [11,12] In January 2003, the Ghauri-1 missile entered service in the Pakistan Army. [13] On 23 March 2003, the Bush Administration issued sanctions against KRL and North Korea, ostensibly for missile collaboration. [14]

[1] Estimates based on IKONOS satellite imagery: Space Imaging, ikonos_kahuta_010-7, accessed 27 January 2011,,; Space Imaging, ikonos_kahuta_005-1, accessed 27 January 2011,; and Space Imaging, ikonos_kahuta_010-8, accessed 27 January 2011,
[2] Dr. A. Q. Khan Research Laboratories, accessed 27 January 2011,
[3] 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. 22.
[4] Usman Ansari, “Pakistan Pushes to Improve Missile Strike Capability,” DefenseNews, 17 November 2008,
[5] “Pakistan tests ballistic missiles,” Jane’s Missiles and Rockets, 1 July 2004.
[6] “Pakistan Tests Medium-Range Missile,” The Washington Post, 7 April 1998, p. A18 in LexisNexis Academic Universe,
[7] “Pakistan’s missile ‘was a Nodong,’” Jane’s Missiles & Rockets (Surrey), 1 May 1998, p. 16.
[8] “Pakistan’s missile ‘was a Nodong,’” Jane’s Missiles & Rockets (Surrey), 1 May 1998, p. 16.
[9] “Bureau of Political-Military Affairs: Imposition of Missile Proliferation Sanctions Against Entities in North Korea and Pakistan,” 63 Federal Register 85 (4 May 1998), p. 24585.
[10] Chidanand Rajghatta, "U.S. Curbs on Pak lab over Ghauri," Indian Express, 5 May 1998,
[11] “Celebrations in Pakistan as Ghauri II is test-fired,” Rediff on the Net, 14 April 1999.
[12] "Daily Says Pakistan to Test-Fire Ghauri III on 29 May, 3 June," BBC Monitoring International Reports, 28 May 2004, in LexisNexis Academic Universe,; "Pakistan to Test-Fire Ghauri III Missile in October – Daily," BBC Monitoring International Reports, 30 August 2004, in LexisNexis Academic Universe,
[13] “Pakistan Army accepts first Ghauri missiles,” Jane’s Missiles and Rockets (Surrey), 22 January 2003.
[14] “Imposition of Nonproliferation Measures on a Foreign Entity, Including a Ban on U.S. Government Procurement,” 63 Federal Register 63 (2 April 2003), pp. 16113 – 16114.

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