Pakistan PAF ALCM credit Snapper Crew 640Pakistani Thunder

During rehearsals for the Pakistan Day Parade which will be held on 23 March 2023, the Pakistan Fiza'ya (PAF, Pakistan Air Force) showed a PAC JF-17 Thunder Block II carrying the RA'AD Hatf-VIII (Air Launched Cruise Missile, ALCM) for the first time in public.

Pakistan reportedly began testing the Hatf-VIII (Thunder) in August 2007 for the RA'AD-I with a range of 350 kilometres. In 2020, the latest RA'AD-II carried out a successfull test with a range of 550 kilometres. A mock-up of the RA'AD-II was shown in the Parade of 2017.

At the International Defence Exhibition and Conference IDEX (IDEX 23) exposition in Abu Dhabi (UAE), Pakistan’s Global Industrial & Defence Solutions (GIDS) showed the Taimoor ALCM. It is reported that the United Arab Emirates is possibly the customer for the RA'AD ALCM, but with a smaller range of 290 kilometres.

The Thunder ALCM is considered to be a powerfull augmentation for JF-17 fleet and as such complement the Pakistan Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons and the Chengdu J-10 fighter aircraft. For this reason, the air force allowed the JF-17 Thunder to participate in many national and international exercises, such as Anatolian Eagle 2021 (Turkey), Spears of Victory 2022 (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and Shaheen 2020 (Pakistan) which Scramble Magazine previously reported on.

The design of the RA'AD missile is common with the MBDA Storm Shadow/SCALP-EG ALCM used by the British and French military. It measured 4,85m in length and 0,5m in body diameter and has a speed of 0,8 Mach.

Photo by Rana Suhaib/Snapper Crew

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