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Naval Weapons

Pakistan test-fires first nuclear-capable submarine-launched cruise missile

10 January 2017
A still taken from a video released by Pakistan's ISPR on 9 January shows the country's first nuclear-capable SLCM being test-fired from an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean. Source: Via ISPR

Pakistan has successfully test-fired its first nuclear-capable submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM), according to a 9 January statement by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistani military.

Named Babur-3, the SLCM was fired to a range of 450 km from an underwater, mobile platform at an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean, according to the statement, adding that the missile "hit its target with precise accuracy". The new head of ISPR, Major General Asif Ghafoor, posted a video of the test launch on his Twitter account.

The Babur-3 is a sea-based variant of the Babur-2 ground-launched cruise missile, which was successfully tested in December 2016, according to ISPR. Also known as Haft 7, the missile is believed to have a maximum range of 700 km, according to IHS Jane's Weapons: Strategic.

"The Babur-3 incorporates state-of-the-art technologies, including underwater controlled propulsion and advanced guidance and navigation features, duly augmented by global navigation, terrain and scene-matching systems," said ISPR.

The missile reportedly features terrain-hugging and sea-skimming flight capabilities to evade hostile radars and air defences, in addition to stealth technologies.

In land-attack mode the Babur-3 SLCM is capable of delivering various types of payloads and provides Pakistan with a "credible second strike capability", augmenting deterrence, said ISPR.

"While the pursuit and now the successful attainment of a second strike capability by Pakistan represents a major scientific milestone, it is [a] manifestation of the strategy of measured response to nuclear strategies and postures being adopted in Pakistan's neighbourhood," the statement said, adding that "Pakistan eyes this hallmark development as a step towards reinforcing [a] policy of credible minimum deterrence".

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