Pakistan Conducts First Test of Submarine-Launched “Babur-3” Cruise Missile

On Monday, January 9, 2017, Pakistan reportedly conducted its first test of its submarine-launched Babur-3 cruise missile from an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean. The Babur-3 has a range of 450 km and, according to the Pakistani military, is “capable of delivering various types of payloads and will provide Pakistan with a Credible Second Strike Capability, augmenting deterrence”. A spokesman for the Pakistani army later confirmed that the missile is equipped to carry nuclear weapons in addition to other payloads. According to the Inter Services Public Relations of the Pakistani military, the Babur-3 was launched from a mobile underwater platform, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif deemed the test a “success” in a press release. The military reported that the missile has “underwater controlled propulsion and advanced guidance and navigation” as well as sea-skimming flight capabilities and stealth technology. The Babur-3 is a sea-launched variant of the ground-launched Babur-2, an enhanced version of the Hatf 7 “Babur” missile that was most recently tested in December. Several Indian news outlets have since claimed that the video showing the Babur-3 launch was faked, citing conflicting satellite imagery of the landscape as evidence.