Defence Security Asia
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Pakistan’s Ballistic Missile Program Advances with “Ababeel” MIRV

Pakistan is the first country in South Asia to conduct a test launch of the ballistic missile "Ababeel," equipped with Multiple Independently Targetable Re-Entry Vehicle (MIRV) capabilities. This achievement surpasses its neighboring country and formidable adversary, India, which has yet to attain such progress in its ballistic missile development program.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — In October last year, the Pakistani military conducted the second test launch of the medium-range ballistic missile “Ababeel,” designed to carry Multiple Independently Targetable Re-Entry Vehicles (MIRV).

Pakistan is the first country in South Asia to carry out a test launch of a ballistic missile equipped with MIRV capabilities, surpassing its neighboring country and “major adversary,” India.

The MIRV-capable medium-range ballistic missile “Ababeel” has the ability to strike targets up to 2,200 km away.

The test launch of this ballistic missile with MIRV capabilities also indicates that Pakistan continues to make advancements in acquiring the capability to penetrate India’s ballistic missile defense system.

The development of the MIRV-capable ballistic missile “Ababeel” is still under development but has achieved notable progress.

Ababeel
“Ababeel”

 

At present, India has an anti-ballistic missile defense program through the acquisition of the Russian-made S-400 “Triumf” air defense system in 2018, specifically designed to counter missiles from Pakistan.

India has reportedly received three battery units of this air defense system and is expected to receive two more by 2025.

 Two of the Russian-made S-400 anti-ballistic missile defense systems have already been deployed near the India-Pakistan border in the Punjab region.

Currently, Pakistan possesses two types of medium-range ballistic missiles, namely “Ababeel” and “Shaheen-III,” but only the “Ababeel” ballistic missile is known to be equipped with MIRV capabilities.

As a result, the development stages of the “Ababeel” ballistic missile are closely monitored by various parties, especially neighboring countries such as India and Iran.

Ababeel
“Shaheen-III” ballistic missile.

 

What is MIRV?

 MIRV refers to a payload carrying multiple thermonuclear warheads capable of striking multiple targets simultaneously.

Currently, only a few countries in the world possess ballistic missiles with MIRV capabilities, including Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and China, with Israel also believed to possess or be developing MIRV-capable ballistic missiles.

If Pakistan’s medium-range ballistic missile “Ababeel” successfully progresses in its development, it will join a small group of countries in the world with MIRV capabilities.

The test launch of the MIRV-capable medium-range ballistic missile “Ababeel” last October took place in the Sakhi Sarwar mountain range located in the Punjab region.

Ababeel
“Shaheen-III” ballistic missile

 

Pakistan is reported to have issued seven Notices to Air Missions (NOTAM) before the test launch to comply with Article 3 of the 2005 India-Pakistan Agreement regarding notification before conducting ballistic missile test launches.

Similarly, India, a staunch adversary of Pakistan, is also working on developing its own MIRV capabilities.

New Delhi is reportedly developing an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) named “Agni,” but it has not yet reached the testing stage achieved by Pakistan through “Ababeel.” — DSA

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