Babur (cruise missile)

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Hatf-VII Babur
The Hatf-VII Babur seen in IDEAS in Karachi, ca. 2006.
TypeGLCM/SLCM/AshM
Place of origin Pakistan
Service history
In service2010–Present[1]
Used by Pakistan Army
(Army Strategic Forces Command)
 Pakistan Navy
(Naval Strategic Forces Command)
Production history
DesignerNational Defence Complex
Designed1998–2008 (GLCM)
2001–2018 (SLCM)
ManufacturerNational Defence Complex
VariantsSee variants
Specifications (Technical data)
Mass1,500 kg (3,300 lb)[1]
Length6.2 m (20 ft)
Diameter0.52 m (20 in)
Wingspan2.50 m (8.2 ft)

Maximum firing range900 km (560 mi)
WarheadHE/NE
Warhead weight450 kg (990 lb)–500 kg (1,100 lb)
Blast yield5 kilotons of TNT (21 TJ)—12 kilotons of TNT (50 TJ)[2]

EngineTurbofan
TransmissionAutomatic
SuspensionWS2500 10WD
PropellantLiquid-propellant (jet engine)
Solid-propellant (booster)
Operational
range
Babur-I:700 km (430 mi)[1]
Babur-IA: 450 km[3]
Babur-II: 750 km (470 mi)[4]
Babur-III: 450 km (280 mi; 240 nmi)[5]
Harbah: 700 km (430 mi; 380 nmi)[6]
Babur-IB: 900 km (560 mi)[7]
Harbah export variant: 290 km (180 mi; 160 nmi)[6]
Flight altitudeTerrain-following
Maximum speed 0.7 Mach. (subsonic)
990 km/h (620 mph)
Guidance
system
INS, TERCOM/DSMAC, GPS, GLONASS, Terminal,
Accuracy20 m (66 ft) CEP[8]
Launch
platform
Transporter erector launcher
Cruise-missile submarine
TransportTEL, Horizontal launch tube (HLT)

The Babur (Urdu: بابر; Military designated: Hatf-VII, Translit: Target–7), is an all-weather, subsonic cruise missile developed and designed by the National Defence Complex (NDC) of Pakistan.

Codenamed as Babur,[9] its development came as a surprise to the U.S. intelligence in 2005 as they had not expected the Pakistan being able to produce such a capable system, according to United States-based CSIS.[10]

After series of various data acquisition and validation trials, Babur entered first in military service of Pakistan Army in 2010, and evolved into able to launch from submarine, which saw its deployment with the Pakistan Navy in 2018.[11][12][13][14][15]

According to Pakistani military, SLCM-variant of Babur has provided Pakistan a long-sought "credible sea-based second-strike capability, augmenting existing deterrence."[16][17]

Development history[edit]

A Pakistan-engineered WS2500 TEL, displaying four cruise missiles at the IDEAS in 2008 in Karachi.

Development on Babur came at the tense atmosphere between India and Pakistan in 1998.[18] At that time, India was on pursuit of establishing a missile defense program, that included the acquisition of S-300 Grumble from Russia and Patriot PAC-3 from the United States, had adversely affected its deterrence mechanism.: 388 [19]

These development triggered the Pakistani war strategists to introduced a complex cruise missile technology to evade and penetrate Indian defenses in an event of Pakistani military losing ground against approaching Indian Army.: 388 [19] The development on cruise missile was codenamed after Zahir-ud-Din Babur– the first Mughal Emperor of India– and delegated this program to civilian contractor, the National Defence Complex.[9]

It is now documented that the Babur's cruise missile technology comes from the U.S. Tomahawk when Pakistani intelligence successfully retrieve the unknown number of Tomahawks from Afghanistan when these system malfunctioned during their mission in Afghanistan in 1998.: 248 [19][14]

Origins[edit]

A TEL system displaying the ground-launched cruise missile in Karachi.

Pakistan's engineering feat on successfully developing and deploying of Babur quickly attracted the speculation regarding its origins and development.: 248 [19] In 2005, Pakistan's test of Babur surprised the United States as they had not expected that the country could produce such weapon system.[1]

The U.S.-based analysts leveled serious allegations on China of helping Pakistan when they pointed out the similarities of the missile with Chinese and American designs, namely the DH-10 and Tomahawk.[20][21]

In 2012, Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg– former program manager and an army chief in 1991– rebuffed and dismissed the U.S. allegations on Chinese help, giving credits to Pakistani scientists who mastered the technology.: 388 [19]

In 2020, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (who was Prime Minister in 1998) confessed in stating that Pakistani scientists had reverse-engineered the American Tomahawk missile to make the Babur missile, when one fell as an unexploded ordnance in Pakistan's territory during the American cruise missile attack in Afghanistan.[22]

Design[edit]

The Babur's airframe is made up of a tubular fuselage, with a pair of folded wings attached to the middle section and the empennage at the rear along with the propulsion system. Propelled by a jet engine (turbojet),[23] the Babur has a maximum speed of approximately 550 mph. Launched from ground-based mobile transporter erector launchers (TELs), the Babur can be armed with both conventional and nuclear warheads and has a reported range of 750 km (470 mi). On launch, a booster provides additional thrust to accelerate the missile away from the launch vehicle. After the launch the wings unfold, the booster rocket is jettisoned and the jet engine started. The missile is stated to have a high degree of maneuverability, allowing it to "hug" the terrain, and "near-stealth" capabilities.[13][24][25] Terrain-hugging ability helps the missile avoid enemy radar detection by utilizing "terrain masking", giving Babur the capability to penetrate enemy air defence systems undetected.[14][26]

The Babur's guidance system uses a combination of inertial navigation systems (INS), terrain contour matching (TERCOM) and GPS satellite guidance. The guidance system reportedly gives the missile pinpoint accuracy.[14] GPS access is not guaranteed under hostile conditions so the latest production models have also reportedly incorporated the Russian GLONASS. Future software and hardware updates could include the European Union's GALILEO and China's BeiDou Navigation Satellite System.[27] An upgraded variant tested on the 14 December 2016 included upgraded avionics where now the missile is able to accurately hit land and sea based targets without the aid of GPS. Also the missile is able to hit targets more accurately.[28][29][30]

Enabling Babur being launched from a submarine was quite difficult for Pakistan because the Agosta-class submarines (both 70A and 90B) of Pakistan Navy do not have vertical launching system.[17] Over the several decades, Pakistan worked towards quietly converting and engineering its traditional Agosta-90B class submarines into cruise-missile submarines.[17] While deployed in the submarine, Babur uses air-water controlled, advanced guidance/controls system and is designed to launched cold and horizontally through submarine torpedoes in the absence of vertical launch systems.[17] Within the vertical system, it is impossible to keep weapons in knockdown assembly form but with horizontal launch system Pakistan has made this option possible for herself.[17]

Operational history[edit]

On 12 August 2005, Pakistan publicly announced that it had successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable cruise missile with a range of 500 km.[31][32] The missile was launched from a land-based transporter erector launcher (TEL).[18][33] Pakistan did not notify India of its test-firing as the existing notification agreement is limited to ballistic missile testing only.[citation needed]

On 22 March 2007, Pakistan test-fired an upgraded version of the Babur with an extended range of 700 km.[26]

On 6 May 2009, Pakistan conducted another test-firing but did not announce the event until 9 May 2009, citing political reasons.[34][35]

On 28 October 2011, Pakistan successfully test-fired its Babur cruise missile which has a range of 700 km. The ISPR said Babur was capable of carrying conventional and atomic warheads. A special feature of this launch was the validation of a new multi-tube missile launch vehicle (MLV) during the test. The three-tube MLV enhances manifold the targeting and deployment options in the conventional and nuclear modes. With its shoot-and-scoot capability, the MLV provides a major force multiplier effect for target employment and survivability.[36]

On 6 June 2012, Pakistan conducted a successful test-fire of the multi-tube, indigenously developed cruise missile Hatf-VII (Babur), which can carry both nuclear and conventional warheads with stealth capabilities. It was the third test-fire conducted by Pakistan in the recent past, of different capacity and load. “It can carry both nuclear and conventional warheads and has stealth capabilities”, said an official announcement of the ISPR. “It also incorporates the most modern cruise missile technology of Terrain Contour Matching (Tercom) and Digital Scene Matching and Area Co-relation (DSMAC), which enhances its precision and effectiveness manifolds.”[37] A new variant of the missile, termed Babur-1B, was test fired on 14 April 2018.[38]

On 14 December 2016, Pakistan conducted a successful launch of an enhanced version of the Babur II missile. Enhancements include upgraded aerodynamics and avionics where now the missile is able to accurately hit targets without the aid of GPS, and also target sea-based targets as well land based targets.[28][29]

On 9 January 2017, Pakistan conducted a successful launch of the Babur III missile from an underwater mobile platform. The Babur-III has a range of 450 km and can be used as a second-strike capability.[39][40][41][42] It has been speculated that the missile is ultimately designed to be incorporated with the Agosta 90B-class submarine which has been reported to have been modified.[43][44] On 29 March 2018, Pakistan reported that the missile had again been successfully tested.[45]

On 11 February 2021, Pakistan conducted successful launch of Babur-1A cruise missile having upgraded avionics and navigation systems and capability to hit the ground based and sea based surface targets with the range of 450 km.[46][47]

On 21 December 2021, Pakistan conducted a successful test of an enhanced range version of the indigenously developed Babur-1B that had a range of more than 900 km.[48][49]

Variants[edit]

The Babur weapons system was developed over a series of variants by the Pakistan military.

  • Babur-1: Initial variant developed with the range of 700 km first tested on 22 March 2007.
  • Babur-2: The second variant of the Babur missile series, it boasts an enhanced range of 750  and was developed to hit ground and naval targets without using a GPS. The variant was first tested on 14 December 2016.
  • Babur-3: Submarine launched variant with a range of 450 km. It was first tested on 9 January 2017 and provides second strike capabilities.
  • Babur-1A: Enhanced avionics and navigation systems with a range of 450 km. It can hit ground and naval targets with high accuracy. It was first tested on 11 February 2021.
  • Babur-1B: Enhanced range variant which can hit targets more than 900 km, the first test being conducted on 21 December 2021.

Sea-based deterrence[edit]

Babur-III and Harbah[edit]

On 9 January 2017, Pakistan conducted a successful launch of the Babur-III missile from an underwater mobile platform, with a targeted range of 450 km (280 mi); Babur-III can carry nuclear warheads and it affectively established Pakistan's second-strike capability from sea.[50][51][52][42] It is not known which submarine Pakistan had launched but it has been speculated Agosta 90B-class submarine have been engineered towards cruise missile submarines.[53][54] After first test of Babur-III, India was of the view that this is a bluff and its military establishment believed that Pakistan was bluffing which India could easily call any time.[17] On 29 March 2018, Pakistan Navy conducted another successful tested for validation and assurances, which negated India's claim of bluff.[55]

During the same time, the Pakistan Navy revealed the Harbah, which is an anti-ship missile non-nuclear version of Babur.[56] The ISPR, media wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces, reported that the missile was test fired on 3 January 2018 from PNS Himmat, an Azmat-class missile boat[further explanation needed].[57][58][59]

Harbah export variant[edit]

A variant of the Harbah Missile for export, this variant has a range of 290 km. According to NDS, The salient features of this missile are a mid-course/terminal guidance system, fire and forget capabilities and an all weather operational capability.

See also[edit]

Related developments
Similar missiles
Related lists

References[edit]

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External links[edit]