Paistan Navy on March 29 announced that it has successfully test-fired a cruise missile that is capable of being launched from a submarine. Defence experts believe that it has brought Pakistan closer to India, its main rival.
The Pakistani Navy revealed that the missile launched was the submarine version of ‘Babur’ missile and was test fired from an underground platform with a range of striking at 450 kms. They also revealed that the missile can carry various payloads and has enhanced its nuclear second-strike capability.
This is the second test of a missile of Babur class. The first test was reported in January last year and international defence analysts believe that this class of missiles was built by the inputs provided by the Chinese and Ukrainian navies.
The cruise missiles have a peculiar advantage over ballistic missiles. The former are smaller and hence can be launched from the torperdo tubes of the submarines. This could be the reason why Pakistan has started to modify its existing fleet of three French-designed Agosta-98 submarines. These Babur class missiles can also be launched by eight diesel-electric submarines that Pakistan is buying from China.
The test has raised serious concerns in New Delhi as the missile’s low-altitude profile makes it best for ‘sneak’ attacks along India’s vast coastline. This has also raised an alarm over Indian Navy’s depleting fleet of submarines and the nearly-obsolete anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
The Indian Navy still uses the outdated British Sea King helicopters for scanning the seas and launching quick attacks. These almost 50-years-old helicopters need to be replaced soon as they are an important part of the AWS capability.