Pakistani defence sources claimed today that they have successfully tested the Hatf-III short range ballistic missile (SRBM), better known as the Ghaznavi. Ghaznavi is one of the several variants of the SRBM Pakistan is having. The others include Hatf-IB battlefield range ballistic missile (BRBM), Abdali-I, Shaheen-I, and the Hatf IX. The Pakistani armed forces are also in possession of the Chinese designed Dongfeng 11 SRBM.
The Pakistani sources said that the newly tested missile is capable of carrying both the conventional and nuclear warheads. The missile, which is having an operational range of 290 km, uses solid fuel propellant. The missile was first tested in 2003, and was inducted in to the Army on April 2004. A series of missile tests had followed the induction, in 2004, 2006, 2008, and in 2010. Today’s test was conducted as a part of a military training exercise. High ranking defence officials and scientists were present during the launch.
The Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and the President, Asif Ali Zardari congratulated the scientists and defence officials who made the successful launch possible. They also praised the efficiency of the scientists in raising the accuracy of the missile strike. The missile test was carried out during the annual exercise of the Army Strategic Force Command (ASFC). The exact location where the missile was launched was not revealed to the media by the defence sources.
The missile, which can carry a conventional high explosive warhead of up to 700 kg, measures 9 meters in length. It can also carry a nuclear warhead of up to 20 kT. The missile is named after the Afghan ruler Mahmud of Ghazni, who ruled from 997 until his death in 1030. In 2006, the Afghan Minister of Information and Culture had criticized Pakistan, for using the names of Afghan rulers in their missiles (Abdali, Ghori, and Ghazni). The issue has been largely forgotten ever since.