RAWALPINDI: Pakistan on Monday conducted its first successful test fire of a submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM), which can hit a target 450 kilometres away and provides the country with a ‘credible second strike capability’. According to the chief military spokesperson, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, the missile, Babur-3, was launched from an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean. “The missile was fired from an underwater, mobile platform and hit its target with precise accuracy,” added the Inter Services Public Relations in a statement. Babur-3 is a sea-based variant of the ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) Babur-2, which was successfully tested in December last year. 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. The second strike capability is something that world military powers, like the United States, Russia, China, have, and it will give Pakistan an edge over India. “Both Pakistan and India are nuclear powers. For them, the important thing is to survive the first strike and then strike back,” vice admiral (retd) Ahmad Tasnim told media. The good thing about a sea-based mobile platform is that it is undetected. The ISPR said: “The missile features terrain hugging and sea skimming flight capabilities to evade hostile radars and air defences, in addition to certain stealth technologies, in an emerging regional ballistic missile defence (BMD) environment.”
In land-attack mode, Babur-3 SLCM is capable of delivering various types of payloads and will provide Pakistan with a credible second strike capability, augmenting deterrence. 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. The test was witnessed by the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Strategic Plans Division’s Director General Lt Gen Mazhar Jamil, the commander of the Naval Strategic Force Command, senior officials, scientists and engineers from the Scientific Strategic Organisations. “President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated the nation and the team on the successful test fire of Babur-3,” the chief military spokesperson wrote on microblogging site Twitter. CJCSC Gen Hayat and three services chiefs also congratulated the nation and the team on the ‘landmark achievement’.