Pakistan tests nuclear-capable Hatf-VIII cruise missile

Islamabad:  For the second time in a week, Pakistan today successfully test-fired another nuclear-capable Hatf-VIII cruise missile with a range of more than 350 km, the latest in a series of tests of missiles that can hit targets within India.

The military described the flight test of the air-launched Hatf-VIII or Ra'ad cruise missile as successful. "The Ra'ad missile, with a range of over 350 km, enables Pakistan to achieve strategic stand-off capability on land and at sea," a military statement said.

The Ra'ad missile has stealth capabilities and is a "low-altitude, terrain-hugging missile with high manoeuvrability".

The test comes just days after Pakistan test-fired its quick-reaction tactical, nuclear-capable Hatf-IX missile with a range of 60 km on May 29. The Hatf-IX is virtually a battlefield missile, designed to hit massed armour.

The Ra'ad can deliver "nuclear and conventional warheads with pinpoint accuracy", the statement said.

The military said today's launch had also tested a new automated command and control system.

"A major additional feature of today's test was the effective employment of the National Command Authority's fully automated Strategic Command and Control Support System," the statement said.

This system has "enabled robust command-and-control capability of all strategic assets with round-the-clock situational awareness in a digitized network-centric environment to decision.

The system has the "added capability of real time remote monitoring of missile flight path", the statement added. The military contended that the cruise technology used in the Hatf-VIII is "extremely complex and has been developed by only a few countries".

The launch was commended by the President, Prime Minister, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, who congratulated scientists and engineers on their achievement.

The Hatf-VIII was the fourth missile tested by Pakistan since last month.

On April 25, Pakistan tested an improved version of the nuclear-capable Hatf-IV intermediate range ballistic missile with the range of 1,000 km.

The launch came just six days after India tested the Agni-V missile with a range of 5,000 km.

On May 10, Pakistan conducted a test of the nuclear-capable Hatf-III ballistic missile with a range of 290 km. The launch was conducted at the conclusion of the annual field training exercise of the Army Strategic Force Command.
Story First Published: May 31, 2012 12:39 IST

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