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BMD Watch: Indians Play Down Pak Missile

Pakistan's Ground Launched Cruise Missile "Babur" (Hatf VII ) being launched from an undisclosed location heading towards its pre-designated target. Photo courtesy: PakTribune.

Washington (UPI) Aug 25, 2005
A senior Indian defense official has said the new cruise missile Pakistan test fired successfully with much fanfare earlier this month was not as impressive as it seemed at the time.

The Hatf-VII Babur cruise missile fired Aug 11 was subsonic and not a supersonic missile, he said at the Indian high-tech center of Bangalore.

"What our neighboring country has built is a subsonic and not a supersonic missile. As per my knowledge, the cruise missile tested by Pakistan recently is a subsonic one unlike our Brahmos supersonic cruise missile."

M. Natarajan, a scientific adviser to India's defense minister, made the remark while delivering the 21st Brahm Prakash Memorial Lecture at the Indian Institute of Science, the Indo-Asian News Service reported.

The ground-launched cruise missile Hatf-VII remains a formidable weapon for Pakistan. It can carry nuclear and conventional warheads with a range of 300 miles. Pakistan claimed it had joined a select group of countries that have the capability to design and develop cruise missiles.

"As I understand, the Pakistani missile was tested with the help of another country," Natarajan said in an oblique reference to China.

India successfully test-fired its own Brahmos cruise missile in 2003 at a speed of 2.8 mach, but with a shorter range of 175 miles. The supersonic cruise missile was developed as an India-Russia 50-50 joint venture and named after the Bramhmaputra and Moscow rivers.

"Brahmos is already in the production phase. The Indian Navy has placed an order for 18 cruise missiles. We are in the process of selling its concept to the army, as it can also be launched from land, Natarajan said later in comments to reporters quoted by IANS. "At the design level, we are looking at the possibility of using it for the air force too."

The slower Pakistani cruise missile, therefore, is likely to be much vulnerable to being intercepted and shot down by Indian air defenses than India's own Brahmos.

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BMD Still On Track, Says Obering
Washington (UPI) Aug 25, 2005
Congress-mandated budget cuts and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's wide-ranging closures and restructuring of military bases haven't derailed the development of anti-ballistic missile defenses, the program's boss says.

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