Pakistan Armed Forces has claimed that it successfully conducted a “ training launch” of Nasr/Hatf-IX close-range ballistic missile. In addition to the statement, a video was released that showed four of these missiles being launched in a salvo. The test was conducted to beef up the operational efficiency of Army Strategic Forces Command as well as to validate the technical parameters of the missile. The statement noted that the missile has the ability for “in-flight maneuverability” and claimed that it has given a boost to Pakistan’s “full spectrum deterrence.”
The mobility, range, precision and rapid-fire capability of the Nasr all play into Pakistan’s response to Cold Start. Cold Start is designed to nevertheless use India’s conventional superiority to punish Pakistan by conducting a large number of shallow attacks into Pakistani territory. The hope is that the shallowness of such an attack will prevent Pakistan from finding a justifiable cause for using its nuclear weapons, while the width and number of attacks will both prevent Pakistan from being able to defend itself and allow India to capture some territory to force Pakistan to be amenable to Indian political demands.
Pakistan boasts that the missile, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, can beat India’s best missile defense systems: the S-400s it recently bought from Russia. Designed for forward deployment, experts fear Nasr makes the use of nuclear weapons more likely. The Hatf 9 “Nasr” is a Pakistani surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missile. Information regarding this new missile is sparse, but it is believed to be a modified Norico AR-series launcher procured from the People’s Republic of China. The Hatf 9 is also believed to be a nuclear capable missile, but it could potentially carry an HE or submunitions payload as well.