Pak test fires nuclear capable Hatf-9 missile

Pak test fires nuclear capable Hatf-9 missile Islamabad: Pakistan on Tuesday conducted the first test of a newly developed short-range surface-to-surface missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, and the military said the launch was aimed at boosting the "deterrence value" of the country's strategic weapons programme.

The Hatf-9 or Nasr missile, with a range of 60 km, can carry "nuclear warheads of appropriate yield with high accuracy" and has "shoot and scoot attributes", the military said in a statement.

The "multi-tube ballistic missile" system was developed "to add deterrence value to Pakistan's strategic weapons development programme at shorter ranges," the statement said.

"This quick response system addresses the need to deter evolving threats," the statement said. The missile test, conducted at an undisclosed location, was successful, it said.

Footage on television showed the missile being launched from a system mounted on a truck. The vehicle was equipped with tubes to carry and launch two missiles.

The test was apparently conducted at a range located in mountainous terrain. The test was witnessed by Strategic Plans Division Director General Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, who said the launch was a "very important milestone in consolidating Pakistan?s strategic deterrence capability at all levels of the threat spectrum."

He said that in the hierarchy of military operations, the Nasr weapon system "now provides Pakistan with short-range missile capability in addition to the already available medium and long-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles in its inventory."

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani congratulated military scientists and engineers on the missile test.

Pakistan routinely tests what it claims are indigenously developed short and long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The country's strategic arsenal includes short, medium and long-range missiles.