Pakistan on June 5 successfully test-fired a multi-tube, indigenously developed, nuclear-capable cruise missile, the Hatf-VII (or Babur), which has a range of 700 km (435 mi.).

“[The] Babur cruise missile is a low-flying, terrain-hugging missile with high maneuverability, pinpoint accuracy and radar-avoidance features,” a Pakistan defense ministry official says. “The missile can carry both nuclear and conventional warheads and has stealth capabilities.” This was the fifth missile test by Pakistan since late April.

“The test will consolidate Pakistan’s strategic deterrence capability and further strengthen national security,” the official says.

The missile was launched from a multi-tube missile-launch vehicle. It incorporates terrain contour matching and digital scene matching and area co-relation to enhance precision. The launch was conducted at the conclusion of an annual field training exercise of the Army Strategic Force Command.

Pakistan has tested a wide array of missiles since late last month. On April 25, it tested an improved version of the nuclear-capable Hatf-IV ballistic missile with a range of 1,000 km.

The launch came just six days after India tested the Agni-V missile with a range of 5,000 km.

On May 10, Pakistan tested the nuclear-capable Hatf-III with a range of 290 km.

The nuclear-capable Hatf-IX, with a range of 60 km, was tested on May 29, reflecting the Pakistani military’s focus on developing tactical weapons aimed at deterring India’s purported Cold Start doctrine.

On May 31, the military tested a version of the Hatf-VIII cruise missile with a range of more than 350 km.

The military official says these tests have helped Pakistan “achieve strategic standoff capability on land and at sea.”

The latest Babur test comes days after Pakistan presented its annual budget for fiscal 2012-13. The country is allocating 643 billion Pakistani rupees ($6.8 billion) to the defense budget for fiscal 2013.

Hatf-VII (Babur) photo: Pakistan's Inter Service Public Relations