Pakistan on Monday conducted the first test of the submarine-launched nuclear-capable Babur-3 cruise missile with a range of 450 km, with the military saying the weapon system would give the country a “credible second strike capability”.
The test, which the Pakistani military described as successful in a statement, was carried out from “an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean”. It added, “The missile was fired from an underwater, mobile platform and hit its target with precise accuracy.”
“Babur-3…in land-attack mode is capable of delivering various types of payloads and will provide Pakistan with a credible second strike capability, augmenting deterrence,” the statement said.
“While the pursuit and now the successful attainment of a second strike capability by Pakistan represents a major scientific milestone, it is manifestation of the strategy of measured response to nuclear strategies and postures being adopted in Pakistan’s neighbourhood,” it added.
Footage posted on Twitter by military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor showed the missile emerging from the water and cruising over land before hitting a target on land.
Though the military did not give details, reports have suggested that the Pakistan Navy’s Agosta 90B class submarines have been configured to launch cruise missiles.
The military described the Babur-3 as a sea-based variant of the ground launched cruise missile Babur-2, which was successfully tested in December. The Babur-3 incorporates advanced technologies, including underwater controlled propulsion, advanced guidance and navigation features, that are augmented by global navigation, terrain and scene matching systems.
The missile is capable of hugging terrain and sea skimming to evade radar and air defenses and “certain stealth technologies”, the statement said without giving details.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat, who witnessed the test, was quoted as saying that it was “a step towards reinforcing policy of credible minimum deterrence”.