Pakistan Has Just Tested the Ultimate Nuclear Missile

Discussion in 'Air & Space' started by Falcon, Mar 10, 2018.

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  1. Falcon

    Falcon Lieutenant Colonel Staff Member Social Media Team

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    Pakistan has tested a ballistic missile with a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV), the United States confirmed this week.

    During testimony to Congress outlining worldwide threats on March 6, Robert Ashley, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), stated: “In January 2017, Pakistan conducted the first test launch of its nuclear-capable Ababeel ballistic missile, demonstrating South Asia’s first MIRV payload.” It appeared to be the first time a U.S. official publicly confirmed that Islamabad tested a MIRVed missile; however, in a report last year on missile threats around the world, the Defense Intelligence Ballistic Missile Analysis Committee noted, “In January 2017, [Pakistan] began testing the MIRVed Ababeel MRBM.”

    MIRVs allow a single missile to deliver multiple warheads against different targets.

    The Pakistani military first announced its test of the MIRVed missile on January 24, 2017. “Pakistan has conducted its first successful flight test of Surface to Surface Ballistic Missile Ababeel, which has a maximum range of 2,200 kilometers,” the military announced in a press release at the time. “The missile is capable of delivering multiple warheads, using Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology.” The statement added that the test was aimed at “validating various design and technical parameters.” No other tests of the Ababeel missiles are known to have taken place since the first one.

    Despite these claims, many outside experts questioned whether Pakistan really had developed or tested a MIRV. As the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Missile Defense Project noted, “Some experts have expressed skepticism as to whether Pakistan has indeed surmounted the various technological hurdles required for MIRVed missiles. MIRV warheads are typically much smaller than unitary warheads, and thus require greater miniaturization. It is unclear if the country has manufactured a miniaturized nuclear warhead small enough to use in a MIRV.” Ashley’s confirmation should put this skepticism to rest.


    Re-entry vehicles explained:

     
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