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On 11 May, the daily Frontier Post publication reported that Pakistan was planning to test-fire a new 4000 km range ballistic missile - Tipu [the fighter] on 28 May 1999, the first anniversary of Pakistan's nuclear tests. No other reports assert the fact of the existence of such a missile, and no test has taken place as of the end of 1999. According to report, the new missile was developed by a team of scientists from the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, and is capable of carrying either conventional or nuclear payloads.

The missile was described as being 12 meters long. This reported length is evidently inconsistent with the reported range of the missile, since Chinese [possibly DF-3A or DF-4] and North Korean [TD-2] missile with ranges of several thousand kilometers are several times larger. The utility of a missile in this range class is obscure, since the 1500 km range Ghauri/Hatf-5 ND-1 derivative provides almost complete coverage of India, and politically interesting targets at more than twice this range are rather difficult to identify.

Although the existence of a Tipu missile is doubtful, the origins of the "Tipu" nomeclature are interesting, nonetheless. Tipu Sultan was the muslim ruler of Mysore in Srirangapatnam, who was enthroned as the ruler of Mysore on 04 May 1783. He continued the Second Mysore War against the English, and defeated many English generals. His maxim was that "it was far better to live like a lion for a day than to live like a jackal for a hundred years". It is said that Tipu Sultan forced Hindus to convert to Islam, though there is conflicting evidence that these claims are true. When Tipu was killed at the battle of Tipu Khanahally in 1799 the British captured more than 700 rockets. These rockets were taken to England by William Congreve and subsequently "reverse engineered."

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Thursday, December 09, 1999 6:48:31 PM