National Defense Complex (NDC)

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A backgrounder

Nuclear Threat Initiative

OTHER NAME: National Development Complex; National Development Centre

LOCATION: Fatehjang, Tarwanah suburb, Rawalpindi (50km, SW Islamabad)

SUBORDINATE TO: National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM)

SIZE: Unknown


The 1999 to 2001 command-and-control reforms transferred Pakistan’s nuclear weaponization programs, including missile development, to the National Defense Complex (NDC) and its supervisory organization, the National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM). As of 2008, NDC remains the focal point for Pakistan’s missile development programs. Jane’s credits NDC for the redesign of several models, including the Hatf-2/Abdali, Hatf-3/Ghaznavi, Hatf-4/Shaheen-1, and Hatf-6/Shaheen-2 missiles originally developed by the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Organization (SUPARCO) and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). Whether NDC also took control of existing liquid-fueled Ghauri models developed by the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) remains less clear. However, Jane’s credits NDC with developing the updated Ghauri-3 missile, with a range doubling the KRL’s Ghauri-1.

NDC has also developed the Hatf-7/Babur, Pakistan’s first land attack cruise missile. The 2005 inaugural test-flight of the Hatf-7/Babur stunned many observers both for its technological complexity and its undetected development. Whether NDC benefited, as PAEC historically did, from Chinese assistance while developing the Babur remains unclear – analysts have identified design similarities with several Chinese cruise missiles as well as U.S. Tomahawk missiles, which have crash landed over Pakistani territory. Upgraded Babur missiles were test-fired in 2007 and 2009. Some analysts believe that further development includes air-launch and sea-launch capabilities.

In 1998, the Clinton Administration imposed sanctions on NDC under the Arms Export Control Act and the Export Administration Regulations for unspecified involvement in nuclear or missile activities. President George W. Bush waived these sanctions in 2001 to facilitate post-September 11 collaboration with Pakistan.

See also

Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission

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