If Pakistan and India Clash: 5 Pakistani Weapons of War India Should Fear

While India's military might be larger, Pakistan can still pack quite a punch. 

Editor’s Note: Please also check outFive Indian Weapons of War Pakistan Should Fear.”

Since 1947, Pakistan has played second fiddle to a larger, stronger India. Despite spending 50% more as a percentage of GDP on defense than India, Pakistan is militarily much weaker than India, and would lose in any conventional war. Like North Korea, Pakistan is a weakening state that invested in nuclear weapons as an inexpensive way to assure territorial integrity. An invasion of Pakistan is now likely extremely dangerous and one of the surest ways to a nuclear war. In that respect, Pakistan’s nuclear program can be considered a success.

Pakistan practices a particularly brutal form of realpolitik that involves constantly playing one party against another, to distract all parties from Pakistan’s own weakness. In support of such a policy it has evolved a wide spectrum of destructive tools, from terrorist groups to nuclear weapons. All of these tools are arrayed against India. From terrorism to nuclear war, India has to consider a wide array of contingencies it could face from Pakistan. Here are five of the most dangerous weapons India could face in any contingency.

JF-17 Thunder Fighter Bomber:

A low-cost, single-engine multirole fighter, the JF-17 “Thunder” was jointly designed by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (developers of the J-20 fighter) and the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex. Two hundred JF-17s may be built for the Pakistani Air Force, a significant upgrade over the existing Mirage III, Mirage V, and Chengdu F-7 fighters. The JF-17 is destined to become the backbone of the Pakistani Air Force’s fighter fleet.

Pakistan, traditionally a strong customer for American weapons, purchased several dozen F-16 Fighting Falcons in the 1980s and 1990s. The first 40 were delivered but a second batch of 28 was not, held up by American disapproval over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. This delay sparked an effort by Pakistan to diversify the sources of its weapons. The need for fighters coincided with China’s burgeoning military aviation industry, and the JF-17 Thunder was born.

The JF-17 outwardly appears similar to existing Pakistani Air Force fighters, in particular the French Mirage V and the American F-16 Fighting Falcon. This is probably not a coincidence, and hints at extensive Chinese study of both fighters. First flight for the JF-17 was in Chengdu, China in August 2003, with initial production in 2007.

JF-17 Thunder has an extensive suite of features common to modern fighters: a fly-by-wire control system, pulse-Doppler radar for detection and air to air engagement, in-flight refueling capability, a laser designator for ground attack, an advanced defensive countermeasures suite, and an ergonomic cockpit featuring a heads-up display and full-color digital displays. It continues to benefit from the breakneck pace of Chinese aerospace development, with new engines, a new electro-optical, helmet-mounted targeting system and avionics upgrades all planned for the near future.

The JF-17 has five weapons hardpoints that can carry a total of 8,000 pounds of fuel, equipment or munitions. Air-to-air weapons are supplied by China, with PL-5 and PL-9 short-range infrared missiles occupying the two wingtip hardpoints. For beyond visual-range engagements, the JF-17 would be equipped with the Chinese PL-12 active-radar homing missile. Air-to-ground weapons are less well known but would likely include various forms of unguided “dumb” bombs, laser-guided bombs, rocket pods, precision-guided missiles and anti-ship missiles.

Khalid-Class Submarine:

The Pakistani Navy is heavily outmatched by the Indian Navy in nearly all respects. The Indian Navy has more people, more ships and more planes. In terms of technology, it is far outstripping Pakistan. Pakistan’s most useful naval assets against India are its three Khalid-class diesel electric attack submarines. These submarines alone could practice an “anti-access, area-denial” (A2/AD) strategy of their own against an Indian Navy attempting to impose a blockade on Karachi and ports west.

The three Khalid-class submarines are modernized versions of the French Agosta-class diesel electric submarines. Khalid, Saad and Hamza are relatively small, weighing in at 2,050 tons submerged. The Khalid class can make 12 knots surfaced and just over 20 knots submerged. All three submarines have been fitted with an air independent propulsion system, allowing them to stay submerged—where they are difficult to detect—for greater periods.

Armament for the Khalid class is in the form of four 533mm standard diameter torpedo tubes. The torpedo tubes can be used to launch French-made ECAN F17 Mod 2 wire-guided torpedoes. Capable of both active and passive homing, the F17 Mod 2 can deliver a 250kg warhead up to 20 kilometers. At longer ranges, the submarines can strike targets with the famous Exocet anti-ship missile. SM39, the submerged version of Exocet, has a range of up to 50 kilometers and a high explosive warhead of 165 kilograms.

Pakistani Nuclear Weapons: