ISLAMABAD – Pakistan on Monday successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable missile from a submarine in the Indian Ocean, a Defense Ministry official said.
The official said that the stealth technology-based Babur-3 cruise missile was fired from an underwater, mobile platform and hit its target with precise accuracy.
The Babur-3 with a range of 450 km is an improvised version of the Babur-2 ground-launched cruise missile, which was successfully test-fired in December 2016.
Pakistan’s Army and Air Force are known to have, respectively, set up Armed Strategic Force Command and Air Force Strategic Force Command equipped with nuclear-capable missiles. Although Pakistan’s Navy formally set up Naval Strategic Force Command in 2012, the command is still to be equipped with strategic weapons.
The successful testing of the Babur-3 is a step toward the equipping of the Naval Strategic Force Command with nuclear-capable weapons.
“Babur-3 SLCM (submarine-launched cruise missile) in land-attack mode is capable of delivering various types of payloads and will provide Pakistan with a credible second strike capability, augmenting deterrence,” a press release issued by the Defense Ministry said.
The press release said that the development of second strike capability by Pakistan was a “major breakthrough” and a “manifestation of the strategy of measured response to nuclear strategies and postures being adopted in Pakistan’s neighborhood,” a clear reference to the Indian nuclear doctrine and missile development program.
The test was witnessed by Gen. Zubair Mehmood Hayat, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, and other senior military officials and scientists.
“Pakistan eyes this hallmark development as a step towards reinforcing policy of credible defense capability,” the press release reported Gen. Hayat as saying on the occasion.