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Babur cruise missile/Hatf VII
Babur cruise missile's booster rocket firing during initial launch phase
Type Medium-range subsonic cruise missile
Place of origin  Pakistan
Service history
In service 11 August 2005
Used by Pakistan Army
Production history
Manufacturer National Defence Complex (NDC)
Weight <1500 kg (payload >300 kg)
Length 6.25 m (7 m with booster)
Diameter 0.52 m

Warhead Conventional or nuclear

Engine Turbofan
(Solid-fuel rocket booster during launch)
Wingspan 2.67 m
Propellant Solid fuel (booster rocket)
Liquid fuel (jet engine)
700 km (435 mi)
Speed 880 km/h or 550 mph (Mach 0.8)
Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL)

Babur (Urdu: بابر) (named after the first Mughal Emperor Zahir ud-Din Babur), also designated Hatf VII, is the first land attack cruise missile to be developed by Pakistan.[1]

Launched from ground-based transporter erector launchers, warships, submarines and aircraft, Babur can be armed with a conventional or nuclear warhead and has a reported range of 700 km (435 miles). The missile is designed to avoid radar detection and penetrate enemy air defences.[1][2][3] Serial production of the Babur started in October 2005.[4]



It has been speculated that Babur is based on the BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missile, after six Tomahawks crash-landed on Pakistani territory in 1998 during US airstrikes on targets in Afghanistan,[5] and its design seems to show this influence. The propulsion system appears to approximate that of BGM-109 Tomahawk according to videos of its launch.[6] However, there is no confirmation of this and the Pakistani missile development organisation NESCOM has rejected this theory. Some members of NESCOM have stated, off the record, that Pakistan has been working on cruise missiles since 1995.

Babur is believed to have been developed in response to reports that India was planning to acquire Patriot missiles from the US, in order to set up a ballistic missile defense system to counter Pakistan's arsenal of ballistic missiles.[7]


The Babur's airframe is made up of a tubular fuselage, with a pair of folded wings attached to the middle section and the empennage at the rear along with the propulsion system. Propelled by a jet engine (either turbofan or turbojet), the Babur has a maximum speed of approximately 550mph. On launch, a booster rocket provides additional thrust to accelerate the missile away from the launch vehicle. After the launch the wings unfold, the booster rocket is jettisoned and the jet engine started.

The Babur's guidance system uses a combination of inertial navigation systems, terrain contour matching (TERCOM) and GPS satellite guidance.[8] The guidance system reportedly gives the missile pinpoint accuracy.[1]

A transporter erector launcher (TEL) armed with four Babur cruise missiles, on display at the IDEAS 2008 defence exhibition, Karachi, Pakistan.

The missile is stated to have a high degree of manoeuvrability, allowing it to "hug" the terrain, and "near-stealth" capabilities.[9] Terrain hugging ability helps the missile avoid enemy radar detection by utilising "terrain masking", giving Babur the capability to penetrate enemy air defence systems undetected and survive until reaching the target.[1] The missile's design features can be compared with the American BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missile.[4]

More advanced versions of the Babur are under development. Later versions are planned to have a range of 1000 km [4][10] and be capable of being launched from submarines such as the Pakistan Navy's Agosta 90B class submarine and Type 214 submarine.[11] [12]

Operational history

The 2005 test-launch of the Babur cruise missile.

On August 12, 2005, Pakistan publicly announced that it had successfully test fired a nuclear-capable Babur cruise missile.[13] The missile was launched from a land based transporter erector launcher (TEL). With this test, Pakistan became one of twelve countries that possess cruise missile technology. The then Pakistani president, Pervez Musharraf praised the Pakistani scientists and engineers on the successful development of Babur cruise missile.[7][14] The unannounced initial launch on 11 August 2005 caught much of the international community by surprise due to the technically advanced nature of the missile, as well as the fact that Pakistan did not notify India of its test-firing as the existing notification agreement is limited to ballistic missile testing only.

On March 22, 2007, Pakistan test-fired an upgraded version of the Babur cruise missile, with an extended range of 700 km.[3] Pakistan carried out two more tests of Babur on July 26, 2007 and December 11, 2007. The tested upgrades are believed to have been the ability to fire the missile from airborne platforms. It is currently unclear if Pakistan Air Force (PAF) plans on using Babur on its aircraft because PAF has already added an air-launched cruise missile, Ra'ad ALCM, to its arsenal.

On May 6, 2009, Pakistan conducted another test-firing but did not announce the event until 9 May 2009, citing political reasons.[15][16]

See also

Related developments
Similar missiles
Related lists


External links



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