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Pakistan tests Babur-3 submarine-launched cruise missile
June 26, 2017
As per Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the Babur-3 submarine-launched cruise missile. Photo credit: ISPR

Pakistan tests Babur-3 submarine-launched cruise missile

Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) has announced the successful test-firing of a Babur-3 submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) on Tuesday, 09 January 2017.

As per ISPR, the test was conducted from “an underwater, mobile platform.”

The Babur-3 SLCM possesses a range of 450 km and relies on an “underwater controlled propulsion” system. The Babur-3 utilizes an “advanced” guidance suite comprising of “Global Navigation, Terrain and Scene Matching Systems.”

ISPR states that the Babur-3 is the SLCM variant of the Babur-2, a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) that was tested on Wednesday, 14 December 2016. Like the Babur-2, the Babur-3 is capable of “terrain hugging and sea-skimming flight capabilities to evade hostile radars and air defences.”

ISPR has heralded the Babur-3 for imbuing Pakistan with “a credible second-strike capability” as well as “augmenting” Pakistan’s deterrence posture.

Notes & Comments:

The introduction of a SLCM was one of Pakistan’s expected deterrence efforts, though its introduction prior to the delivery of the Hangor-class air-independent propulsion (AIP) submarines (SSP) was surprising. It had been assumed that the submarines were procured from China because it would have been the simplest method to introduce a sea-based deterrence system, but it now appears that Pakistan sought the capability in accordance with its existing assets, such as the Khalid-class (i.e. Agosta 90B) SSP.

It is not clear at this stage if this specific Babur-3 test was conducted from a submarine or another platform, such as a submerged pontoon.

The Babur-3 does possess a lower range than the Babur-2 (450 km vs. 700 km). The cause for the lower range can only be speculated upon. It is possible that compatibility with the Agosta 90B’s torpedo tubes required the Babur’s length to be reduced, and in turn, necessitated a smaller powerplant.

If this is an accurate understanding of the issue, then it is effectively tied to the design characteristics of Pakistan’s present submarines. It is possible that the Hangor-class SSPs will possess longer torpedo tubes, thus enabling the deployment of the 700 km Babur-2. However, there is no verified insight into the reason. Nonetheless, challenges of this nature could push Pakistan to further its research and development efforts in miniature air-breathing propulsion (for range extension).

The Babur-3 retains the TERCOM and DSMAC-based guidance suite of the Babur-2 and Babur, but ISPR noted that it also benefits from “global navigation” – suggesting that a satellite-navigation system is also in place. It is possible (in light of a likely wartime blackout of GPS) that this is made possible with BeiDou.

ISPR also noted that Babur-3 has a “land-attack mode”, suggesting that an alternate – i.e. anti-shipping – mode is also possible. The core Babur platform, especially in the Babur-2, was positioned as an anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM). However, enabling this capability would require a terminal active-homing seeker, be it active radar-homing or imaging infrared. It is also plausible that the revised 2×3 launcher onboard the fourth Azmat-class FAC is for the Babur-3.

  • Naveed Khan

    Its a great effort

  • Shakeel

    This Babur 3 missile will bring in a whole new dimesion to Pakistan’s offensive capabilities. A great achievement. Embrace the ‘Triad’ world.

  • Kashif

    Another milestone achieved, hail to our scientists, engineers and the management. The induction of a SLCM has enabled us to deter our enemies besides we now are among tiny elite nations who possess land, air and sea base cruise missiles.

  • Shershahsuri

    This is a big step towards completing the Nuclear triad. However still alot to be done. it will take few more years to have a sea based nuclear deterrent.

  • SP

    450km range of the missile has limited usefulness. However it is a first step in having a second or third strike nuclear capability but what is required both with land and sea based missiles is a range of around 4000km.

  • Salman Khan

    When were the upcoming Chinese subs named Hangor?

  • GhalibKabir

    1. China is already completing it as a payback for what it sees as Indian commissions and omissions. Type 039A will feature VLSes for sure. 120% guarantee.

    2. Compared to many other nations (ex: US with JASSM, China and India with many missiles), you don’t see many Pakistani test failures (you can literally count Shaheen and Ghauri failures using the fingers of one hand..I cannot recall Babur failing….I could be overlooking things of course). I have seen data from 1993 through 2011.

    The simple reason being the learnings transfer and support Pak gets from China plays a big role.

    What it does or impact etc is not worth discussing as it will end up with jingoistic claims devoid of factual logic…so i will leave it here

    • There was a mock-up of a submarine at KSEW’s booth during IDEAS. There was no VLS. I don’t think we’ll see VLS, rather, wide and long enough torpedo tubes for Babur and, potentially, one of China’s supersonic cruising missiles (e.g. CX-1).

      • GhalibKabir

        I see. I stand duly corrected. The next 12 odd Indian SSKs are slated to be big enough to have both a 5-6 VLS and AIP ( either PAFC by DRDO or more likely a PEMFC by Siemens). Current SSKs incl Scorpene only allow for either.

        Personally I think VLS allows for greater weapon options…. Indian SSKs likely might have a combo of 600 km LACM/AShM Brahmos, and torpedoes ( varunastra or F 21) with the 1000 km Nirbhay getting added as and when ready..

        Either way China will complete your country’s triad. End of story…

        • Syed Bushra

          Doesn’t negate the shameful title of India being the world’s #1 arms importer.

          • GhalibKabir

            I will ignore jingoistic or incorrect assertions. There are no ’emotions’ in policy. (if shame were any yardstick entire nations incl. yours (and you may say mine) should have committed suicide out of shame long ago)

            So, keeping things factual, What you lack you develop and fill the void through imports in the interim. Considering Chinese aggression, it would be fool hardy to not rely on imports to fill the gap.

            You succeed in making somethings and some you don’t. India is no exception. We have our successes and our fair share of failures. period.

            As always conversations remain pleasant when they are factual, evidence based and are done politely. Reaon and critical thinking are the defining features that separates humans from beasts. Good luck

    • Syed Bushra

      Pakistan Armed Forces tend to keep things under wrap. US intelligence agencies accused Pakistan of modifying Harpoon which Pakistan vehemently denied saying its something of our own. Clearly, something got launched from the sea and traveled inland to target, which was the main reason that US accused us of modifying Harpoons as no one expected us to have a sea to land attack capability.

      Was it really a Harpoon? No, it was Babur 3.

      ” Pakistan has denied the charge, saying it developed the missile itself. But according to the report, US intelligence agencies detected on April 23 a suspicious missile test that appeared to indicate that Pakistan had a new offensive weapon. ”

      http://www.dawn.com/news/914345/pakistan-illegally-modified-us-made-missiles-white-house

    • kash

      Pakistan has a great track record in missiles bcz they are simply better at it

      • GhalibKabir

        not a factual assertion. As I said, it does not matter, you have all the abilities thanks to China. in war, capabilities matter and not how it came about, a borrowed lathi will still cause broken bones

        • Syed Bushra

          And, we all know India’s capabilities are a result of imports hence India is the #1 importer of arms year after year for almost a decade now.

          Also, your assumptions about Pakistan are clearly biased.

          • GhalibKabir

            How? examples? your additional point adds nothing to my original assertion. As I told that person ‘Steve’… some prejudices run too deep.. no point talking past each other. My country needs to put effort and grow regardless of failures. nothing else counts

          • Steve

            So what if China helps us. Russia helps you, though maybe not for long as you are wooing Americans like mad. Your attempts to claim the moral high ground are noted. We are experts in picking up passive/aggressive behaviour. Have a look at posts by Indians on this forum. Prejudice runs deep both ways my utterly reasonable friend. Many of your countrymen reflexively denigrate Pakistan and exaggerate India, admittedly as this a mostly Pakistani forum not as much as on Bharat forums where open abuse and ridicule is used including foul language. Bilal keeps things civilised here which is good. Regarding comparing, being larger is not the only criteria which I suspect everything a lot of you think, say, and debate is based on. Being large also means the problems are much larger like the number of poor people and infrastructure required, which will cost you trillions of dollars and will take many decades, longer if you keep buying weapons like you are going to fight the whole world…maybe you are planing to. We would rather be like South Korea than India. Get my point?!

          • Abdul Rashid

            Steve, I had to correct that spelling mistake you made. It was necessary to do it in order to clear the comment for posting. I do not wish the users comments to be cut, chopped or edited it in any way from the original but I prefer doing that than remove the comment in its entirety. I hope you understand!

        • Steve

          We have no trouble with facts. We do have an issue when Indians pretend that they have an advanced highly developed country with a great ‘military industrial complex’, and become agressive and argumentative when told facts. No point in lying to make yourself happy. Step out of the plane in any Indian airport and drive into the city and it is crystal clear that the above statement is not true, and we all know it. Both counties are Third World with huge social and human development problems, and roughly at the same level of development with some good and some bad areas. Indians make out that they are like the USA and Pakistan is like Somalia. Yet your whole of country is queueing for H1B. That’s hatred and jingoistic mentality, not factual thinking like you are advocating. Nither India nor Pakistan can make advanced weapons without outside help. We can split hairs at the level of help required but that’s a fact. No need to get upset and send 10 pages of DRDO/TATA etc achievements as I won’t read what I know. I am talking in broad generalities.

          • GhalibKabir

            broad generalities hide details. India is at one stroke same as pakistan in many respects like infra etc you mention and also has advancements like IT, Pharma, Segments of Manufacturing etc…where we are closer to a second world country if such a thing would exist.

            There are many Indias so to speak…so many assertions would be true simultaneously.

            I have nothing to feel proud about or feel ashamed about..if you think with ability to make high end steel (Arihant), nano chips (for ISRO, military) etc India is the same as Pakistan, I have nothing to say.

            Some hatreds/prejudices run too deep for rational discussions. So i will end it here. Good luck.

          • Headstrong

            The point is that India must not be allowed to feel proud of achievements. Who can deny that India is a Third World country? Who can deny that India is the world’s largest arms importer? Who can deny that 70% of its weapons are sourced from abroad?
            These are facts – and are broadly accepted in India. Why, the PM himself announced from the Red Fort that India needs more toilets!
            But there is one country in the neighbourhood who insists that it must be treated at par with India, regardless of the parameter. Therefore, if India seeks NSG status, Pakistan must also be given the same. If Indians protest, you’re Third World!
            ‘Strategic balance’ must be maintained in South Asia, no matter that India has repeatedly stated that it’s chief rival is not in South Asia. Therefore, if India gets a NSG waiver, why Pakistan must too!
            A wannabe country will remain wannabe – after all, it has a GDP almost 10 times less than India, and population 6 times less. Area is also 4 times less. But the wannabe that it is, and the obsession to justify its existence makes it blind to everything else.
            In Sep 1947, just one month after Independence, in an interview to Life magazine’s Margaret Bourke-Smith, Jinnah stated very plainly – now that we have broken away from India, we have to prove that we are better than them. Otherwise, my people will ask me – why did we part if we’re not as good as them? This should be our sole aim.
            This in a nutshell explains people like ‘Steve’

          • Steve

            We have no problem with what India is, or is doing. We don’t want to be India. Who would? We would like to be like Singapore or Dubai with infrastructure, and like Korea or Japan with sciencetific development. We are very very comfortable ideologically, notwithstanding what some turncoat liars like that Pakistan hater TF keeps ranting about. We laugh when you try psychoanalysis on us as a nation! Our issue is that you occupy a part of our land against the will of the people living in that land, and since partition have undermined and tried to destroy us. For that reason we recognise you as an cleat enemy and will do everything in power to damage you in every possible way, which is exactly what you are doing so why complain. We would not like to spend so much on weapons but are forced to. We are of course not brainwashed, regressive or jihadi which is another myth perpetrated by Indian propaganda.

  • Türker Demircan

    ” ….but it now appears that Pakistan sought the capability in accordance
    with its existing assets, such as the Khalid-class (i.e. Agosta 90B)
    SSP. ”

    STM (so Roketsan, or Aselsan) currently does not have this experience as Turkey does not have any Submarine with a SLCM capability (even new AIPs will not)

    But may be the this is the reason for 45 months time for the first upgraded Sub, which is really really very long…Behind of the doors, Turkey and Pakistan could agree to adopt SLCM to Submarines..May be another reason project not awarded to DCNS, they did not want to do this

    Many questions..

    • I don’t think any structural work is involved in the upgrade. STM is essentially just upgrading the subsystems (e.g. sonar, periscope, etc) and adding a few new suites (e.g. ARES). The range reduction in the SLCM Babur (450 km vs. 700 km) indicates that the SLCM is a smaller missile, so as to fit in the Agosta. That said, it would be wise – and expected – for the Hangor-class to have larger and longer torpedo tubes, not just for Babur, but potentially supersonic cruising missiles (e.g. CX-1) in the future.

      • Türker Demircan

        Exactly, no structural work..At least not in STM’s scope

        My point was Havelsan’s work for ‘Combat Management System’….Which is directly related with torpedo tubes, so SLCM Babur…Pakistan has SLCM technology (even not fully) and Havelsan has integration capability and experience…45 months for the first sub seems quite enough to handle this..
        If Turkey and Pakistan do not do that, for me, it will be a big mistake..I also hope Turkey to closely co-operate with Pakistan for SLCM technology

        By the way, checked now…STM’s first submarine upgrade (2 pcs of Ay Class – German Type 209) took about 54 months, starting by 30 March 2011…Almost same schedule with Agosta subs..I said it is very long time but seems this is the way and reasonable for the Customer..

  • Khalid Riaz

    What are the implications of putting nuclear weapons on tactical submarines? As I understand, the subs are a part of sea denial strategy. They would seek and engage hostile ships, and in the process getting dangerously close. I don’t think this role will be performed by a submarine laden with nuclear weapons. So Navy would have to earmark some of its submarine fleet for strategic missions alone. If this is the case, why not acquire dedicated submaribes for strategic second strike role instead of retrofitting the old Khalid-class submarines for this purpose?

    • Steve

      Israel does that as well. It does reduce the number available for conventional warfare like sea denial and need minimum of 3 for second strike. I don’t think you can mix and match

  • Steve

    A 4000 km missile launched by submarine will be very large and essentially needs to be a SLBM rather than SLCM and as far as we know S-20 do not have VLS. In cruise missiles, Russian 3M14K Kalibr for submarine launch is about the same size as Babur with a range of 2500 km, so that is possible.

  • SP

    450km missile range limits the submarine to attacking areas close to the coastal areas of India, it also means the submarines have to be relative close to India. A 4000 missile range would allow the submarines to attack any part of India and the submarines will be difficult to track as they could roam anywhere in the Indian Ocean.

    Pakistan cannot be invaded and destroyed, they can only arm India and try to destroy the economy of Pakistan which they are doing already. With long range missiles Pakistan will be a force in the world and cannot be treated like a doormat.

  • gujrat victim

    india me to bol rhe ki fake h ye launch.

    (Moderator’s translation: In India they are saying this is a fake launch).

    • Abdul Rashid

      Please bear in mind we only approve comments written in the English language so that all can understand (as long as they understand English of course).

    • Steve

      Of course. Pakistan nuclear bombs are fake…Shaheen missiles are fake…JF17 is never going to fly as the Russians will never allow it to have RD33….surgical strikes are true…little elephant statues drink milk…Modi does not hug Western leaders inappropriately and other gems of wisdom lol

  • Steve

    Totally agree, MIRV is the next urgent need as the unmentionables may be able to cobble together an ineffective Prithvi based interceptor, but we need to preempt that like we preempted their vaunted Cold Start with TNW and Nasr.

  • jamshed_kharian_pak

    Another milestone has been successfully crossed thanks to our Pakistani talented genies, BABUR-3 a plus in our inventory

  • Steve

    Some truth in that but we keep electing 10% and CTBT lol

  • Muhammad Usman

    Guys before we jump off our seats in excitement, please look at the shared video. The missile gets launched from the submarine, zoom into it, it is a WHITE colored rocket departing the vessel followed by a huge trail of thick white smoke.

    Ok, then why do we have a RED colored Rocket flying through the terrain in the later stages of the same video? I am a Pakistani but this raises a serious question in my mind about the authenticity of this video.

    Perhaps, Mr. Bilal Khan or anyone else with credible knowledge could elaborate on this?

    • Pakistani state media haven’t discovered much beyond 144p, but the photo used by ISPR shows a red missile.

      http://c.tribune.com.pk/2017/01/1289770-imgwacopy-1483997293-280-640×480.jpg

      • Abdul Rashid

        The image on ISPR own site is of slightly better quality than the one you have uploaded here. I was about to upload it but my laptop froze.

        • mazhar

          I am laughing out loud on this, Indians drove us to suspicions and we got caught in this Indian trap. I also checked it with my laptop Win7 ease of access magnifier and the result is missile with RED and White color, which means it’s Baber. Indians wake up, We have completed our TRIAD.

    • SP

      It is possible that for visual effects a second missile may have been shown in the video. However there is no doubt that a test took place and it was successful. Indians can believe what the like but eventually they will wake to reality just like they did with the nuclear explosion and jf-17.

      • Steve

        Historically ISPR have not lied to the nation, only to our enemies in times of conflict. What is there to be gained? Every development announced is followed by derision from across the border followed later by grudging admission. Same will happen here. Size and shape of missile emerging looks like a Babur with booster. Colour is also red if you magnify original video. On a lighter note read my post near the bottom of this page about this being fake.

        • Abdul Rashid

          100% agree, Steve. There is absolutely no reason for ISPR to fake this launch. No credible evidence to contradict the claim has been offered by those who doubt. The colour is the same. Even based on the greyish image of Pak media it takes a good stretch of imagination to call it a fake. It can clearly be seen the footage is a touch blurry taken from some distance while the later clips are clearer and close up.

    • Rizwan

      If you look closely at the image, you will see red pixels on and going slightly outside the border of the missile.

  • Shakeel

    Clearly, you must be be heartened with Mr Usman’s naivity. His indoctrination resemble art of ‘Bollywood’, in being able to matermind offshoot campaign using NDTV & Times of India.Mr Usman has just woken up from his ‘turtle shell’ & discovered that a pop had had occured only just today, given India blockbuster releases of the Babur 3 missile,.Mr Headstrong should be encouraged by the fact that Indian films are no longer sanctioned by Pakistan – hence people like Mr Usman fall easy prey

    • mazhar

      Well done Shakeel, we face lots of false propaganda. Bottom line is that we have the capability.

  • SP

    Indian is fermenting anarchy in Karachi and Baluchistan and the US is using WOT as an excuse to distabilise Pakistan. The end result is a weak economy and a halt of development.

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