According to a March 5 Pakistani press release, Pakistan conducted a successful test of a “Short Range Surface to Surface Ballistic Missile Hatf II (Abdali),” which, according to Pakistan, has a range of 180 kilometers and “carries nuclear as well as conventional warheads with high accuracy.”
This wasn’t Pakistan’s first test of the missile, but it’s perhaps useful to compare this press release with one announcing a March 2011 Hatf-II test.
According to the March 5 announcement, the Hatf II
“provides an operational level capability to Pakistan’s Strategic Forces, additional to the strategic and tactical level capability, which Pakistan already possesses.”
That’s different from last year’s announcement, which asserted that
the Abdalli weapons system now provides Pakistan with an operational level capability, additional to the strategic level capability, which Pakistan already possess because of its medium range and long range Ballistic missile systems.
Now, this language certainly seems to describe sub-strategic nuclear weapons. Robert Norris and Hans Kristensen noted last year that Pakistan’s test announcement provided “another indication that Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine is developing a new nonstrategic role for short-range missiles.”
Maybe I’m being pedantic, but I find it interesting that the March 2011 announcement didn’t use the word “tactical.” Perhaps Islamabad is trying to send a more direct signal to the world. Dunno.
As a side note, Norris and Kristensen described the Hatf II as a
“mysterious program because its designation…suggests that its origins date back to before the 2004 introduction of the Ghaznavi (Hatf-3), indicating that its development was somehow delayed”
FWIW, the Hatf-2 is not named in the 2009 NASIC report.
Here’s an Associated Press of Pakistan video of this month’s test:
And here’s one of the March 2011 test: