Shaheen-III ballistic missile Pakistan
Pakistan test-fired a long-range, Shaheen-III ballistic missile on Jan 20, 2021. Image Credit: Screengrab from ISPR video

Islamabad: Pakistan has successfully conducted a flight test of Shaheen-III surface-to-surface ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads up to 2,750 kilometers. The test flight was aimed at “re-validating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system”, Pakistan armed forces spokesperson Major General Babar Iftikhar said in a tweet.

The successful flight test, with its impact point in the Arabian Sea, was witnessed by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Nadeem Raza, Director General Strategic Plans Division, Commander Army Strategic Forces Command, Chairman NESCOM and the scientists and engineers. Pakistan’s President Dr Arif Alvi, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, CJCSC and three service chiefs have congratulated the scientists and engineers on the successful missile test.

Experts believe that the “Shaheen-III missile, once inducted will provide Pakistan with the full spectrum deterrence against the adversary” and will further enhance strategic stability in the South Asian region.

The Shaheen-III missile that entered development in the early 2000s was “originally envisaged as a Space Launch Vehicle (SLV) but was later evolved into a weapon system” defence analyst Shahid Raza told Gulf News. The missile completed its initial tests in 2015 and was tested again on January 20, 2021, with various modifications based on groundbreaking technology. It is believed to be compatible with the Ababeel Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicle (MITREV) that allow a missile to deliver multiple nuclear warheads to different targets and is capable of evading most ballistic missile interceptors. Shaheen-III also opens up the possibility of Pakistan’s space exploration program in the future, Raza believes.

On January 7, Pakistan’s Fatah-1 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) successfully completed a 140-kilometer mission. The indigenously developed Fatah-1 surface-to-surface weapon system “will give Pakistan Army capability of precision target engagement deep in enemy territory”, said the military’s media wing. GMLRS is an all-weather rocket that delivers precision strike beyond the reach of most conventional weapons.