Pakistan tests Ballistic Missile capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads
Pakistan has successfully tested a surface-to-surface ballistic missile ‘Ababeel’ with a range of 2,200 kilometers (1,400 miles) that is capable of carrying nuclear warheads, the Inter Services Public Relations said.
The nuclear capable, medium range missile is equipped with ‘multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles’ (MIRVs).
With the successful test, Pakistan has joined the elite club of nuclear countries that have MIRV capabilities. Others are Britain, France, Russia, the United States, China and India.
“First successful flight test of surface-to-surface ballistic missile Ababeel, which has a maximum range of 2,200 kilometres, was conducted. The missile is capable of delivering multiple warheads, using MIRV technology,” the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.
The MIRV technology enables a missile to deliver multiple warheads.
“Ababeel is capable of carrying nuclear warheads and has the capability to engage multiple targets with high precision, defeating the enemy’s hostile radars,” the statement said.
Military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said it “has the capability to engage multiple targets with high precision, defeating the enemy’s hostile radars.”
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) January 24, 2017
Pakistan’s rationale for attaining the MIRV technology is to defeat Indian ballistic missile defence (BMD) shield.
“Development of Ababeel weapon system is aimed at ensuring survivability of Pakistan’s ballistic missiles in the growing regional BMD environment. This will further reinforce deterrence,” the ISPR said.
MIRVing is a double-edged sword. While it will enhance strategic stability by allowing Pakistan to confidently evade BMDs at longer distances in addition to improving the survivability of nuclear forces, MIRVs at the same time become choice targets for a first-strike by the enemy.
The land-based missile test on January 24 was Pakistan’s second in a month. Pakistan also fired its first submarine-launched cruise missile on January 10.