On Jan 24, Pakistan successfully conducted first flight test of surface-to-surface missile named “Ababeel”.
- Ababeel has a maximum range of 2,200 kilometres.
- It is capable of delivering multiple warheads using Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology—a first for Pakistan’s arsenal—which means it can carry multiple nuclear bombs instead of just one.
- It has the capability to engage multiple targets with high precision, defeating hostile radars.
- Ababeel Weapon System aims at survivability of Pakistan’s ballistic missiles in the growing Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) environment.
- This is for the first time that Pakistan has conducted the flight of “Ababeel” missile. Earlier, Pakistan had only the Shaheen series of surface-to-surface missile.
- The unprecedentedly advanced missile means a lot for Pakistan in terms of its safety and defensive capabilities.
The development of the Ababeel weapon system was aimed at ensuring survivability of Pakistan’s ballistic missiles in the growing regional ballistic missile defence (BMD) environment. Launched just a month after India’s cruise missile Nirbhay failed its fourth test, Ababeel has also raised alarms in the neighbouring country as it can bypass defence system possessed by India. India tested its own anti-ballistic missile system allegedly capable of intercepting a nuclear-capable ballistic missile last year. However, Ababeel supersedes the capability of India’s defense system. The missile enhances first-strike proficiency for strategic forces and provides greater target damage for a given thermonuclear weapon payload. Several small warheads cause much more damage than a single warhead alone. This, in turn, reduces the number of missiles and launch facilities required for a given destruction level, much the same as the purpose of a cluster munition. With single warhead missiles, one missile is launched for one target. By contrast with an MIRV warhead, the post-boost—or bus—stage can dispense warheads against multiple targets across a broad area. Ababeel also reduces the effectiveness of an anti-ballistic missile system that relies on intercepting individual warheads.