Ra'ad-II reportedly features design changes, allowing more types of jets to carry it

Pakistan on Tuesday announced it had conducted a successful test of an air-launched cruise missile called the Ra'ad-II. The Inter Services Public Relations, the PR wing of the Pakistan military, released a statement on the Ra'ad-II test, noting that the weapon had a range of 600 km. The Ra'ad-II cruise missile is a modernised version of the Ra'ad-I missile, which Pakistan first test-fired in 2007 and was claimed to have a range of 350 km.

The Ra'ad-II was first unveiled at a military parade in 2017.

ISPR also shared a video of the Ra'ad-II cruise missile being launched off a French-built Mirage III/V fighter. The aircraft, which Pakistan has operated for over 50 years, was also used in testing the earlier Ra'ad-I missile. Interestingly, the Mirage-III/V jet was the aircraft Pakistan claimed to have used when it attempted to bomb an Indian Army facility on February 27 last year in retaliation for the Balakot air strike.

Defence News, a reputed defence website, on Tuesday, analysed the video footage of the Ra'ad-II test and speculated that the missile had been "entirely redesigned with a new intake and control surfaces".

The original Ra'ad-I missile had a 'twin tail' configuration, "but the Ra'ad-II appears to have adopted a more compact 'X' configuration layout", Defence News reported. This would enable it to be carried on more aircraft, such as the JF-17 fighter, jointly developed by Pakistan and China. Pakistan has built more than 100 JF-17 jets and the type will be the mainstay of the Pakistan Air Force.

Quwa, a Pakistani website covering Islamabad's military, claimed the design changes may have made the Ra'ad-II missile lighter, conceivably enabling it to be carried under the wings of the JF-17.