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Pakistan Navy's SSBN plans

Khafee

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For the benefit of everyone, Pakistan Ballistic and Cruise Missile tech is in some areas, is ahead of China, and in others on par, so no question of MTCR.
 

AliYusuf

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Conventional subs armed with nuclear tipped cruise missiles are limited by two factors. Range of the sub(which is much less than that of a nuclear powered one) and secondly by the range of the cruise missile.

Let's for example take the example of Babur III SLCM. It has a stated range of 450 km(let's set aside for a moment the discussion that stated range may not be true and take this number for the sake of the discussion)...
...if in the event of a second strike PN subs could miraculously fire these from the Indian coast...it still leaves a rather large portion of inland area of India out of reach of the missile. This is best case scenario btw...
...given the rather large IN fleet along with its P8I and SeaHawk helicopters(on order)...chances are high that the subs would have to stay a considerable distance out in the water(at least 100-200 Km if not more). This further reduces the range of Babur SLCM(the more distance it will have to travel over the water...the less distance it can then travel over land).
This range limitation also gives IN a rough area to search for PN subs(from their coast to about 450 Km out to sea). Add to this the fact that even AIP equipped subs still have to surface for air at some point...and conventionally powered subs have range limitations...this adds more predictability for the search area. For example a PN Agosta will be far more likely to strike(in the event of a second strike) from Pak's side of Indian waters than from BD's side of Indian waters.
...in conclusion...limited range of missiles(whether cruise missile or ballistic missile) and limited range of subs doesn't offer a true second strike capability.

To increase the range of the missile...the simplest option for Pak is to switch to ballistic missiles. It has been much easier for nations around the world to develop long range ballistic missiles as opposed to cruise missiles of that similar range. In addition Pak has been making ballistic missiles for decades now. There exist ballistic missiles currently that have the stated range of a couple thousand Km.

This however means that the missile is going to be rather large...and if multiples of these ballistic missiles are to be carried...it necessitates an SSBN. The only conventional sub that is to carry ballistic missiles...is the North Korean one(in news recently)...the effectiveness of which remains to be seen. It will only carry 3 of their SLBMs and I assume with such a heavy load with the same fuel capacity...it wouldn't have a lot of range(which then adds to predictability).

Yes SSBNs have huge operating costs...but for now...the only TRUE second strike capability lies with having an SSBN.

In separate news Rajnath Singh has implied that India may discard its no first use policy...BJP had promised to change it in 2014(not so in 2019). With increased pressure from China...and facing two fronts(two nuclear armed neighbors)...along with Modi's need to show a "strong man" image...
...the no first use policy can change. If that happens...it would make it imperative that Pakistan has in place a TRUE second strike capability.
AFAIK ...

First of all, the basic make/dimensions of all the 8 Subs we are acquiring are more or less the same. So both type of subs of the differing propulsion systems under discussion will be carrying the same type and capabilities of nuclear missiles.

Secondly the SSK's under question are not that short legged as you are assuming them to be. In my humble opinion they have enough range and duration to remain submerged ... to suffice for the Indo-Pak theater.
 
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AFAIK ...

First of all, the basic make/dimensions of all the 8 Subs we are acquiring are more or less the same. So both type of subs of the differing propulsion systems under discussion will be carrying the same type and capabilities of nuclear missiles.

Secondly the SSK's under question are not that short legged as you are assuming them to be. In my humble opinion they have enough range and duration to remain submerged ... to suffice for the Indo-Pak theater.
I'm not sure if the SSBNs are separate from that order of 8 or if the two SSBNs are included in those 8.
U r right that as per the news...the 8 subs are supposed to be of the same type.

I'm not selling them short. The comparison in range is relative...it is in comparison to nuclear powered subs. U r also right that for now SSKs with nuclear tipped Babur should suffice. It is in the long term Pak would need SSBN IMO(2040s and after). If India does away with its no first use policy...and given its vast navy and a sizable fleet of P8I and SeaHawks...an SSBN based second strike capability would be a must.
 

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I've been keeping mental notes of sorts...all of which piece together the puzzle of PN's SSBN(s). Going in chronological order(as I came across it)...
1) 4 of the 8 submarines were to be built at KSEW...and the order of these 8 subs included ToT.
2) Rafi(from "elsewhere") mentioned that a miniaturized nuclear reactor is being worked on.
3) Ababeel MIRV ballistic missile was revealed.
4) Khafee dropped hints of SSBN in the works.
5) PN Chief mentioned a ballistic missile that can be launched from ships.

1 & 2 are crucial to be able to build an SSBN. 4 is further confirmation of what 1&2 were pointing to. 3 & 5 are hints towards SLBM IMO...
...launching a ballistic missile from seaborne assets is a whole different ball game as compared to launching it from land...5 could be the basis of what will eventually become an SLBM. 3 is crucial to be able to hit multiple targets with one missile...and ensures that even in presence of ABM systems at least some warheads will still get through.

All that remains to be seen(or hinted at) is an ICBM capability(or development of it). This would ensure that the subs can be literally anywhere in the world and still be able to strike their targets...putting them truly out of reach of IN(literal needle in a haystack)...regardless of how massive and superior IN becomes. If Pak can develop(with or without Chinese help
...whichever the case may be) a sub, MIRV, miniaturized nuclear reactor, etc...then developing an ICBM shouldn't be too hard.

Below are quoted messages of @Khafee that I have gathered from various other threads regarding PN's SSBN plans




@Caprxl @AliYusuf @Mingle @Counter-Errorist @Zulu @Pakhtoon yum @ali razza @Khafee @Gripen9
Tag other members and feel free to add any news related to this that I may have missed out on.
I don't know why we are so much awaiting SSBN.
That's not a requirement in Pakistan India situation, although India done it for bragging rights, not actual need.
Pakistan has enough 2nd strike capability on ground, and don't need any at sea.
 
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I don't know why we are so much awaiting SSBN.
That's not a requirement in Pakistan India situation, although India done it for bragging rights, not actual need.
Pakistan has enough 2nd strike capability on ground, and don't need any at sea.
India has not done it for bragging rights. U must look at things objectively. They have done it bcuz land based nuclear arsenal is never 100% safe from ur enemy's preemptive first strike. This is why all nations with nuclear weapons have also developed a sea based second strike capability(the only exceptions that remain are North Korea, Pakistan, and Israel...these three have either rumored or confirmed limited submarine based nukes but not boomers). An SSBN removes that uncertainty arising from the potential of a preemptive strike(however small it may be) and GUARANTEES a MAD scenario. This is why US and it's European allies have done it...this is why Russia, China, and India have done it...and this is why Pak must do it at some point.
 

Khafee

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I've been keeping mental notes of sorts...all of which piece together the puzzle of PN's SSBN(s). Going in chronological order(as I came across it)...
1) 4 of the 8 submarines were to be built at KSEW...and the order of these 8 subs included ToT.
2) Rafi(from "elsewhere") mentioned that a miniaturized nuclear reactor is being worked on.
3) Ababeel MIRV ballistic missile was revealed.
4) Khafee dropped hints of SSBN in the works.
5) PN Chief mentioned a ballistic missile that can be launched from ships.

1 & 2 are crucial to be able to build an SSBN. 4 is further confirmation of what 1&2 were pointing to. 3 & 5 are hints towards SLBM IMO...
...launching a ballistic missile from seaborne assets is a whole different ball game as compared to launching it from land...5 could be the basis of what will eventually become an SLBM. 3 is crucial to be able to hit multiple targets with one missile...and ensures that even in presence of ABM systems at least some warheads will still get through.

All that remains to be seen(or hinted at) is an ICBM capability(or development of it). This would ensure that the subs can be literally anywhere in the world and still be able to strike their targets...putting them truly out of reach of IN(literal needle in a haystack)...regardless of how massive and superior IN becomes. If Pak can develop(with or without Chinese help
...whichever the case may be) a sub, MIRV, miniaturized nuclear reactor, etc...then developing an ICBM shouldn't be too hard.

Below are quoted messages of @Khafee that I have gathered from various other threads regarding PN's SSBN plans




@Caprxl @AliYusuf @Mingle @Counter-Errorist @Zulu @Pakhtoon yum @ali razza @Khafee @Gripen9
Tag other members and feel free to add any news related to this that I may have missed out on.
Oscar aka SQ8 was the first one to officially confirm the mini reactor project.
 

safriz

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India has not done it for bragging rights. U must look at things objectively. They have done it bcuz land based nuclear arsenal is never 100% safe from ur enemy's preemptive first strike. This is why all nations with nuclear weapons have also developed a sea based second strike capability(the only exceptions that remain are North Korea, Pakistan, and Israel...these three have either rumored or confirmed limited submarine based nukes but not boomers). An SSBN removes that uncertainty arising from the potential of a preemptive strike(however small it may be) and GUARANTEES a MAD scenario. This is why US and it's European allies have done it...this is why Russia, China, and India have done it...and this is why Pak must do it at some point.
And thats where everyone makes the mistake.
USA vs USSR was a situation where both had 10 gigatons worth of nuclear weapons yield pointed at each other and could scorch every inch of each other's country.
The combined yield of nuclear weapons in the arsenal of India and Pakistan is less than 100 megaton or 0.1 gigaton.
Now do you see the difference of magnitudes?
Thats why neither India nor Pakistan can annihilate each other and whoever strikes first will have a guaranteed retaliatory strike.
Without SSBN
 
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And thats where everyone makes the mistake.
USA vs USSR was a situation where both had 10 gigatons worth of nuclear weapons yield pointed at each other and could scorch every inch of each other's country.
The combined yield of nuclear weapons in the arsenal of India and Pakistan is less than 100 megaton or 0.1 gigaton.
Now do you see the difference of magnitudes?
Thats why neither India nor Pakistan can annihilate each other and whoever strikes first will have a guaranteed retaliatory strike.
Without SSBN
Nope no mistake...

US/USSR had a lot of warheads but their land masses are huge as well. In addition to US land mass there was also Britain and France...there were other NATO countries where there could be nukes stored(they were in Turkey at one point not sure if they still are there). Additionally there were special hardened bunkers/silos that were built to survive a nuclear attack.
...so that reasoning u r using of having land based nukes survive a preemptive strike to be able to counter strike...still applies to them.
...and yet they all built SSBNs.
--> while talking about this subject...there are leaked lists of targets that shows which cities/areas were to be targets of nuclear strikes in US and it's allies(by USSR)...and declassified documents by US that shows the cities/areas that would have been targeted by US and it's allies.

Besides India doesn't only have to rely on nukes btw. Unless a land based nuclear missile has been placed in some hardened bunker(designed to survive strikes)...it can be targeted with conventional weaponry. A road mobile nuclear ballistic missile can be destroyed using a fighter jet to bomb it. Missile silos can be targeted with conventional ballistic missiles. So the reasoning that a nation needs nukes in a certain quantity to neutralize an enemy's nukes is also wrong. All one needs is locations of enemy's nukes...and the ability to launch massive amounts of attacks(conventional or nuclear or both) simultaneously at all those locations. This is where it helps to not have all ur eggs in one basket.

To reiterate(using US/USSR example of land based nukes)...there was no way to know ALL the locations of each other's nukes...and they could not know for sure that if one of them preemptively struck the other...that they would be able to fully neutralize the enemy's land based ability to counter strike...
...yet still bcuz there was a chance...that a preemptive enemy strike has the potential to either neutralize or substantially reduce land based nuclear capability...an insurance policy(SSBN) was deemed necessary...
...bcuz when planning for doomsday...u do not go by the best case scenario...u plan for the potential worst case scenario.
 
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MIRauf

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Nope no mistake...

US/USSR had a lot of warheads but their land masses are huge as well. In addition to US land mass there was also Britain and France...there were other NATO countries where there could be nukes stored(they were in Turkey at one point not sure if they still are there). Additionally there were special hardened bunkers/silos that were built to survive a nuclear attack.
...so that reasoning u r using of having land based nukes survive a preemptive strike to be able to counter strike...still applies to them.
...and yet they all built SSBNs.
--> while talking about this subject...there are leaked lists of targets that shows which cities/areas were to be targets of nuclear strikes in US and it's allies(by USSR)...and declassified documents by US that shows the cities/areas that would have been targeted by US and it's allies.

Besides India doesn't only have to rely on nukes btw. Unless a land based nuclear missile has been placed in some hardened bunker(designed to survive strikes)...it can be targeted with conventional weaponry. A road mobile nuclear ballistic missile can be destroyed using a fighter jet to bomb it. Missile silos can be targeted with conventional ballistic missiles. So the reasoning that a nation needs nukes in a certain quantity to neutralize an enemy's nukes is also wrong. All one needs is locations of enemy's nukes...and the ability to launch massive amounts of attacks(conventional or nuclear or both) simultaneously at all those locations. This is where it helps to not have all ur eggs in one basket.

To reiterate(using US/USSR example of land based nukes)...there was no way to know ALL the locations of each other's nukes...and they could not know for sure that if one of them preemptively struck the other...that they would be able to fully neutralize the enemy's land based ability to counter strike...
...yet still bcuz there was a chance...that a preemptive enemy strike has the potential to either neutralize or substantially reduce land based nuclear capability...an insurance policy(SSBN) was deemed necessary...
...bcuz when planning for doomsday...u do not go by the best case scenario...u plan for the potential worst case scenario.
Just Nuclear Bombs in Turkey, no Missiles. Missiles were removed as part of agreement on no Russian Nukes in Cuba.
 

Kabotar

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I've been keeping mental notes of sorts...all of which piece together the puzzle of PN's SSBN(s). Going in chronological order(as I came across it)...
1) 4 of the 8 submarines were to be built at KSEW...and the order of these 8 subs included ToT.
2) Rafi(from "elsewhere") mentioned that a miniaturized nuclear reactor is being worked on.
3) Ababeel MIRV ballistic missile was revealed.
4) Khafee dropped hints of SSBN in the works.
5) PN Chief mentioned a ballistic missile that can be launched from ships.

1 & 2 are crucial to be able to build an SSBN. 4 is further confirmation of what 1&2 were pointing to. 3 & 5 are hints towards SLBM IMO...
...launching a ballistic missile from seaborne assets is a whole different ball game as compared to launching it from land...5 could be the basis of what will eventually become an SLBM. 3 is crucial to be able to hit multiple targets with one missile...and ensures that even in presence of ABM systems at least some warheads will still get through.

All that remains to be seen(or hinted at) is an ICBM capability(or development of it). This would ensure that the subs can be literally anywhere in the world and still be able to strike their targets...putting them truly out of reach of IN(literal needle in a haystack)...regardless of how massive and superior IN becomes. If Pak can develop(with or without Chinese help
...whichever the case may be) a sub, MIRV, miniaturized nuclear reactor, etc...then developing an ICBM shouldn't be too hard.

Below are quoted messages of @Khafee that I have gathered from various other threads regarding PN's SSBN plans




@Caprxl @AliYusuf @Mingle @Counter-Errorist @Zulu @Pakhtoon yum @ali razza @Khafee @Gripen9
Tag other members and feel free to add any news related to this that I may have missed out on.
Tipu on other place is saying 4 different types other than Yuan class or whatever class that are on order. Two types will come before 2030 other two types after 2030.
I think
Type 1 will be replacement for X Crafts.
Type 2 could be SSBN.
Type 3 could be replacement for Augusta's would like to see something like SMX31 as replacement.
Type 4 could be anyone's guess.
@Khafee
 

Khafee

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Tipu on other place is saying 4 different types other than Yuan class or whatever class that are on order. Two types will come before 2030 other two types after 2030.
I think
Type 1 will be replacement for X Crafts.
Type 2 could be SSBN.
Type 3 could be replacement for Augusta's would like to see something like SMX31 as replacement.
Type 4 could be anyone's guess.
@Khafee
Type 1 - X craft
Type 2 - SSBN
Type 3 - SSK
Type 4 - SSN
 

safriz

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India has not done it for bragging rights. U must look at things objectively. They have done it bcuz land based nuclear arsenal is never 100% safe from ur enemy's preemptive first strike. This is why all nations with nuclear weapons have also developed a sea based second strike capability(the only exceptions that remain are North Korea, Pakistan, and Israel...these three have either rumored or confirmed limited submarine based nukes but not boomers). An SSBN removes that uncertainty arising from the potential of a preemptive strike(however small it may be) and GUARANTEES a MAD scenario. This is why US and it's European allies have done it...this is why Russia, China, and India have done it...and this is why Pak must do it at some point.
Then there's the trivial matter of cost.
I live in UK and the British government spends 2 billion GBP per year to keep the SSBN fleet afloat.
Then the cost of manufacturing warheads.
A megaton cost half a billion dollars.
Smaller weapons cost a bit more at a million a kiloton, due to more plutonium and other compact and complex technologies required.
So you are putting most of the eggs in one basket, the submarine. Which, if found and destroyed, can sink much of the country's nuclear arsenal with it.

Likewise the matter of warhead maintainance.
Plutonium made warhead core produces helium bubbles inside the core, which at atomic level acts as large shock absorbers slowing down neutrons, adversely affecting fission.
Uranium does note pose this problem.
That's why small and compact warhrads like the ones used on SLBM and MIRV require far more frequent maintenance than those large single warheads plonked on top of Ghairi and Shaheen-2.
We are not USA or Europe who have excessive money and resources to do all the above, and that's why SLBM or too much MIRV don't Suite us for not being feasible.
 
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Then there's the trivial matter of cost.
I live in UK and the British government spends 2 billion GBP per year to keep the SSBN fleet afloat.
Then the cost of manufacturing warheads.
A megaton cost half a billion dollars.
Smaller weapons cost a bit more at a million a kiloton, due to more plutonium and other compact and complex technologies required.
So you are putting most of the eggs in one basket, the submarine. Which, if found and destroyed, can sink much of the country's nuclear arsenal with it.

Likewise the matter of warhead maintainance.
Plutonium made warhead core produces helium bubbles inside the core, which at atomic level acts as large shock absorbers slowing down neutrons, adversely affecting fission.
Uranium does note pose this problem.
That's why small and compact warhrads like the ones used on SLBM and MIRV require far more frequent maintenance than those large single warheads plonked on top of Ghairi and Shaheen-2.
We are not USA or Europe who have excessive money and resources to do all the above, and that's why SLBM or too much MIRV don't Suite us for not being feasible.
Those are two different questions...
1) Do we need it?
2) Can we afford it?
I'll circle back to these questions at the end...

Yes I'm aware of the excessive costs...and I'm also aware of the economic limitations...
...which is why if it was up to me...I would postpone this to 2050 and focus hard on economy. However...u see I'm not in charge of running the economy nor in charge of the military planning. The military saw the need of this...and they put the plans in motion...
...I'm not gonna say I know more than the military...surely they have waaay more knowledge and if based on the threat assessment they have decided to go through with it...it must be for good reason.

I'm only discussing the strategic significance of it here. I'm trying to argue my counter points to ppl who say we don't need it. I'm saying it's not that we don't need it...we surely do need it(for all the reasons discussed already)...so when u started the discussion saying that Pak doesn't need it...I argued my counter points.
...if however ur question is that we can't afford it...that's a different question...and there I agree that we can't afford it "right now". However Pak definitely has the potential to grow enough(if we get good hardworking leadership with a vision) to be able to have SSBNs by 2050s.

As for this below...
"So you are putting most of the eggs in one basket, the submarine. Which, if found and destroyed, can sink much of the country's nuclear arsenal with it."
No...it will not be putting most eggs in one basket. Having an SSBN doesn't mean u transfer ur land based nukes over to the sub. It is its own separate thing. If let's say Pak gets two SSBNs...that means Pak's nukes are in three locations(not including SSNs here)...land based...and aboard those two SSBNs(wherever they may be).
...and as far as finding and sinking it...that's almost impossible as far as IN is considered.
 

safriz

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Those are two different questions...
1) Do we need it?
2) Can we afford it?
I'll circle back to these questions at the end...

Yes I'm aware of the excessive costs...and I'm also aware of the economic limitations...
...which is why if it was up to me...I would postpone this to 2050 and focus hard on economy. However...u see I'm not in charge of running the economy nor in charge of the military planning. The military saw the need of this...and they put the plans in motion...
...I'm not gonna say I know more than the military...surely they have waaay more knowledge and if based on the threat assessment they have decided to go through with it...it must be for good reason.

I'm only discussing the strategic significance of it here. I'm trying to argue my counter points to ppl who say we don't need it. I'm saying it's not that we don't need it...we surely do need it(for all the reasons discussed already)...so when u started the discussion saying that Pak doesn't need it...I argued my counter points.
...if however ur question is that we can't afford it...that's a different question...and there I agree that we can't afford it "right now". However Pak definitely has the potential to grow enough(if we get good hardworking leadership with a vision) to be able to have SSBNs by 2050s.

As for this below...
"So you are putting most of the eggs in one basket, the submarine. Which, if found and destroyed, can sink much of the country's nuclear arsenal with it."
No...it will not be putting most eggs in one basket. Having an SSBN doesn't mean u transfer ur land based nukes over to the sub. It is its own separate thing. If let's say Pak gets two SSBNs...that means Pak's nukes are in three locations(not including SSNs here)...land based...and aboard those two SSBNs(wherever they may be).
...and as far as finding and sinking it...that's almost impossible as far as IN is considered.
I agree to the most part.
However the two bullet points you mentioned are interrelated .
With limited resources we need to spend them on places where its most needed and effective.
 
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