An Ababeel surface-to-surface ballistic missile launches from an undisclosed location in Pakistan, January 24, 2017 © ISPR / AFP
The missile, called Ababeel, has a maximum range of 2,200km and “is capable of delivering multiple warheads, using Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media branch of the Pakistani armed forces, said in a press release.
Pak successfully conducted first flight test of SSM #ABABEEL, Rg 2200 Km. #COAS congrats team and Pak Armed Forces for landmk achievement. pic.twitter.com/iXBGgJf9JN
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) January 24, 2017
It also confirmed that the missile can carry nuclear warheads and is able to “engage multiple targets with high precision, defeating the enemy’s hostile radars.” It was developed as an answer to the “growing … ballistic missile defense” capabilities of Pakistan’s regional neighbors and is designed to “further reinforce deterrence,” the press release says, apparently referring to India’s nuclear arsenal.
India tested its own anti-ballistic missile system allegedly capable of intercepting a nuclear-capable ballistic missile last year, Reuters reports. The Indian Defense and Foreign Ministries have not yet commented on the issue.
“The test flight was aimed at validating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system,” the Pakistani statement adds.
The press release also calls the test a “landmark achievement” and says that the Pakistani president and prime minister had already “conveyed their appreciation to the team involved.”