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Pakistan test-fires nuclear-capable cruise missile: military

A Hatf-7 missile in flight.
by Staff Writers
Islamabad (AFP) May 8, 2008
Pakistan on Thursday successfully tested a ground-hugging cruise missile capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads, the military said.

The Hatf-VIII (Ra'ad) missile, developed exclusively for launch from the air, has a range of 350 kilometres (217 miles), a statement said.

"It has enabled Pakistan to achieve a greater strategic stand-off capability on land and at sea," it said.

"It is a low-altitude, terrain-following missile with high manoeuvrability, and can deliver all types of warheads, with great accuracy," it said.

The firing comes just a day after neighbouring India tested a ballistic, nuclear-capable missile capable of hitting targets deep inside China.

President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani congratulated the Pakistani scientists and engineers on their "outstanding" success.

"The missile test is part of a continuing process of validating the design parameters of the weapon system," the statement said.

Last month Pakistan military carried out a training launch of Shaheen II, or Hatf VI, a long-range nuclear-capable missile which can hit targets far into India.

Pakistan's arsenal includes short-range, medium and long-range missiles named after Muslim conquerors.

South Asian rivals India and Pakistan -- which have fought three wars, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir -- routinely carry out missile tests since both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability in 1998.

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Tewksbury MA (SPX) May 08, 2008
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