Pakistan Test-Fires Longer-Range Missile

April 2015

By Kelsey Davenport

Pakistan last month tested a nuclear-capable ballistic missile that officials in Islamabad say has a range that makes it capable of reaching targets in all of India and parts of the Middle East.

A Shaheen-3 was test-fired into the Arabian Sea on March 9, the officials said. The Shaheen-3 is a medium-range ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead 2,750 kilometers, according to Pakistani officials. Earlier versions of the missile had an estimated range of 2,500 kilometers with a nuclear payload.

Lt. Gen. Zubair Mahmood Hayat, the director of the strategic plans division of Pakistan’s National Command Authority, said on March 9 that the successful test was a “milestone of historic significance.”

He said the purpose of the test was to validate “various design and technical parameters of the weapon system at maximum range.”

While rival India recently has focused on developing long-range systems, including the Agni-5, which has range of 5,000 kilometers, Pakistan has focused its ballistic and cruise missile activities on shorter-range systems. (See ACT, October 2013.)

In February, days after India’s most recent test of the Agni-5, Pakistan tested an air-launched cruise missile, the Raad. It is a nuclear-capable cruise missile with a range of about 350 kilometers and incorporates “stealth capabilities,” according to a Feb. 2 release from the Inter Services Public Relations office, a press branch of Pakistan’s military. Pakistan has been developing the Raad for the past several years.

Hayat said the Feb. 2 test was a “major step toward strengthening Pakistan’s full spectrum minimum credible deterrence.”