Pakistan has test-launched its nuclear-capable Hatf-IX (‘Nasr') short-range ballistic missile: a weapon which, it says, can overcome every known missile defence system.
According to a statement issued by defence officials on 11 February 2013, the latest Hatf-IX tests featured ‘successive launches of two missiles from a state-of-the-art multi-tube launcher' and, in each instance, a positive outcome ensued.
Previously, sources in Pakistan have described the Hatf-IX as "a low-yield battlefield deterrent, capable of deterring and inflicting punishment on mechanised forces like armed brigades and divisions,"
Hatf-IX Nuclear Missile
The latest addition to Pakistan's well-established Hatf missile range, the Hatf-IX is a BRBM (battlefield-range ballistic missile) with an in-flight manoeuvring capability, manufactured by NDC - the National Development Complex.
Compatible with the Pakistan Army's current, in-service mobile missile launching system, the Hatf-IX nuclear missile is powered by a single-stage rocket motor and has about a 60 kilometre (37 mile) range. Such a range sets it apart from designs like the Hatf-V (‘Ghauri'), which can reach targets located more than 800 kilometres away.
Pakistan test-launched numerous missiles in 2012 and, in many cases, these launches occurred soon after similar missile trials has been carried out in India. Tensions between these two countries remain high and such missile launches seem to have become power demonstrations, with each party apparently determined to remind the other what it can do on the military stage.
Hatf-IX Missile Launch
Four days prior to the latest Hatf-IX missile launch, India had announced it was working on a nuclear-capable version of its Agni-VI missile, equipped with multiple warheads.
Pakistan's 11 February statement did not identify the Haft-IX's launch area but confirmed that a number of high-ranking officials watched the proceedings, including the head of the Army Strategic Force Command and representatives from the National Engineering and Science Commission.
Since 1947, India and Pakistan have fought each other four times, most recently in 1999.