Pak test launches indigenously developed N-capable cruise missile

Islamabad: Pakistan today conducted a successful flight test of the indigenously developed nuclear capable cruise missile with a range of 350km which enables the country to achieve air delivered strategic standoff capability on land and at sea, the military said.

The flight test of the Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM), Ra'ad, which is also known as Hatf VIII, was the seventh since it was first tested in 2007.

It is essentially a flying bomb, generally designed to carry a large conventional or nuclear warhead many hundreds of miles with high accuracy. Modern cruise missiles can travel at supersonic or high subsonic speed, the Dawn reported.

These guided missiles are self-navigating and fly on a non-ballistic very low altitude trajectory in order to avoid radar detection.

The most common mission for cruise missiles is to attack relatively high value targets such as ships, command bunkers, bridges and dams. The modern guidance system permits precise attacks, the report said.

The Inter-Services Public Relations in a statement said that Ra'ad, with a range of 350km, "enables Pakistan to achieve air delivered strategic standoff capability on land and at sea." The missile is approximately five metres long and could weigh up to 1,000kg.

Special "terrain hugging low level flight maneuvers enable it to avoid detection and engagement by contemporary air defence systems," the statement said.

Cruise technology is extremely complex and has been developed by only a few countries in the world.

President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated the scientists and engineers behind the development for their outstanding achievement on the successful flight test of Ra'ad, the daily reported.

Director General Strategic Plans Division, Lt General Mazhar Jamil, termed the success a major step towards complementing Pakistan's deterrence capability. He said achievement of "this milestone will surely enhance strategic stability and contribute to peace in the region."

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