Pakistan has insisted that a Nov. 28 ballistic missile trial flight proceeded as planned, even though the weapon reportedly broke apart and dropped to the ground in pieces, Defense News reported on Monday.
Authorities promptly retrieved components of the nuclear-capable Ghauri missile from areas close to Dadu district residences in the country's Sind province.
The exercise was a "complete success" even though parts of the weapon had scattered, according to the Inter-Services Public Relations office of the Pakistani armed services.
“The missile during its flight remained within the designated flight path and corridor. The metal parts found in a remote area of Dadu, as reported in media today, were part of the motor body, which separated from the missile as planned, well within the safety corridor,” the government branch added in prepared remarks.
The falling parts reportedly produced no injuries or other harm in the affected region. “It was ensured that at no point, would human life or property be at risk. There is no cause for alarm or concern,” the release states.
"Some kind of failure" in the trial appears evident, countered Pakistan Military Consortium expert Haris Khan.
“I’m not sure if the Ghauri has a separating warhead, but it is possible," Khan stated. "However, the missile body clearly disintegrated and fell over a wide area. The missile was a single-stage weapon. This is unusual. The body should have stayed intact even if the warhead did separate.”
“There’s no advantage to the missile body breaking up [by intention] unless it was over the target to confuse [a ballistic missile defense] radar," he said. "Also, I don’t think the army would choose to have pieces of missile fall out of the sky over a populated area, even if not many people were living there.”
He added no such occurrence had ever been "reported to have happened in any previous missile test.”