Development

The Babur or Hatf-7 is a Land Attack Cruise Missile with a range of 350 km. [1] The Babur is launched primarily from transporter erector launchers emplacements and is both conventional and nuclear capable. [2] The Babur is reported by the Inter Services Public Relations office to be stealth capable with pinpoint accuracy. The Babur has the terrain-hugging capability meaning that the missile does not fly in a horizontal or ballistic trajectory but stays close to the ground during its flight. [3] The Babur was initially tested in 2005 and then most recently in 2012.[4] The missile also surprised some analysts for its complexity as well as its unexpectedly unreported development.[5] The Babur bears some similarity to the U.S. Tomahawk system and is slimmer than other Pakistani missiles leading to some suggestion of warhead miniaturization. [6] Some reports hypothesize that Pakistan reversed engineered some of American from crashed missiles in Pakistan and uses technology from donated Chinese missiles. [7]

Strategic Implications

It appears that Pakistan is shifting toward a tactical nuclear doctrine. [8] This entails that Pakistan is trying to find a level of nuclear use which allows deployment on the battlefield without escalating to cities being targeted.[9] The Babur would be likely used in precision targeting and there are plans to develop a surface ship capability.[10] This could help blunt a conventional Indian invasion or prevent rapid nuclear escalation. [11] Furthermore, India has only developed a ballistic missile defense system. At the moment, it is unlikely that India could successfully intercept a Pakistani Cruise missile. [12]

References

[1] “Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat,” Air Force ISR Agency, 2013, accessed July 8, 2014,http://www.afisr.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-130710-054.pdf.

[2] Ibid

[3] Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris, “Pakistan’s Nuclear Forces,” Bulletin for the Atomic Scientists, 2011, accessed July 8, 2014,  http://bos.sagepub.com/content/67/4/91 .

[4] Ibid

[5] “Country Profile Pakistan: Missiles,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, accessed July 8, 2014,  http://www.nti.org/country-profiles/pakistan/delivery-systems/ .

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8]  Shane Mason, “Pakistan’s Babur and Ra’ad Cruise Missiles: Strategic Implications for India,” Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, July, 2012, accessed July 9, 2014,  http://www.ipcs.org/article/india/pakistans-babur-and-raad-cruise-missiles-strategic-implications-for-india-3681.html .

[9] Ibid

[10] “’Babur’ and Its Implications for Pakistan’s Defense Capabilities,” South Asia Asian Strategic Stability Institue, December 13, 2012, accessed July 9, 2014,  http://www.sassi.org/babur-its-implications-for-pakistans-defense-capabilities/ .

[11] Ibid

[12] Ibid

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