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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Ababeel 1

Pakistan successfully test-fired indigenously-developed surface to surface nuclear-capable missile Ababeel, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said 24 January 2017. “Pakistan successfully conducted first flight test of SSM Ababeel, Range 2,200 kilometres,’ DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor stated. According to the military’s media wing, the missile "is capable of delivering multiple warheads, using Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology." The statement said “The test flight was aimed at validating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system”.

“Ababeel is capable of carrying nuclear warheads and has the capability to engage multiple targets with high precision, defeating the enemy’s hostile radars,” it added. The ISPR said, development of Ababeel Weapon System is aimed at ensuring survivability of Pakistan’s ballistic missiles in the growing regional Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) environment. “This will further reinforce deterrence.”

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah congratulated the nation and the missile launch team on the achievement. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain also conveyed their appreciation to the team engaged and armed forces of Pakistan on this landmark achievement. Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Darhas congratulated the scientists, engineers and the nation on successful conduct of test of surface-to-surface ballistic missile ‘Ababeel’. In his message, the Minister warmly appreciated the launch while congratulating the strategic forces and the rest of the team on their outstanding achievement.

The Shaheen III surface-to-surface ballistic missile, tested on 09 March 2015, was said to be able to carry nuclear and conventional warheads within a range of 2,750 kilometers. While Pakistan maintained that the Shaheen-III was indigenously developed, some speculated that the missile could be a derivative of the Chinese DF-26. This seems improbable, since the DF-26 is a rather larger missile. In fact, the Shaheen III appears to be a Shaheen II first stage with a longer version of the Shaheen II second stage. The Shaheen II appears to be derived from the Chinese M-18 and DF-21 missiles, of similar design. The much smaller Shaheen I is unrelated.

Now the Ababeel [Ababil] appears to be a further development of this family, with constant diameter first and second stages. The first stage appears to be about the same dimensions as the Shaheen II first stage. The Ababeel second stage seems to be even longer than the Shaheen III second stage. What is most noteworthy about the Ababeel is the payload shroud, which is bulbous, with a larger diameter than the first and second stage motors. Previously, the nose cones of the Shaheen family were connical, suggesting a heavy unitary warhead of not overly impressive yield to weight ratio. The new payload shroud on the Ababeel is consistent with the claim of multiple warheads, which would be of rather superior yield to weight ratio relative to the earlier weapons.

Of course, the enlarged payload shroud could be a deception, but if so, it is a plausible deception. The Ababeel's reported 2,200 km range is shorter than the 2,700 km range claimed for the smaller Shaheen III, which is consistent with a larger throw-weight and multiple warheads. The 2,200 km range would enable Ababil to cover all of India, when launched from anywhere in Pakistan.

The story of the owners of the elephant is given in Sura Al-Fil (105:1-5). It is a story illustrating the fate of those who trie1d to attack the Ka’aba. The incident is supposed to have taken place just before the birth of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.S). The ruler of Abyssinia, Abraha Al-Ashram, built a place of worship and asked all Arabs to worship there. But the Arabs refused to bow down. Their loyalty lay with the Ka’aba, built by Ibrahim (alaihis salam). Abraha Al-Ashram swore to destroy the Ka’aba. The Abyssnians had tame elephants that they used in wars. Abraha gathered his army of men and elephants and marched towards Makkah. Allah the Almighty then sent birds from the seaside that resembled hawks. Each bird held three stones: one in its beak and one in its each leg. The birds dropped these stones on the Abyssinians killing them.

“Have you (O Muhammad (Peace be upon him)) not seen how your Lord dealt with the owners of the Elephant? [The Elephant army which came from Yemen under the command of Abraha Al-Ashram intending to destroy the Ka’bah at Makkah]. Did He not make their plot go astray? And He sent against them birds, (Ababil) in flocks. Striking them with stones of Sijjil (baked clay). And He made them like (an empty field of) stalks (of which the corn has been eaten up by cattle)” (Al Fil, 105:1-5).

India is home to between 50 and 60% of all of Asia’s wild elephants and about 20% of the domesticated elephants. The Indian elephant is a sub-species of Asian elephant which includes the Indian elephant, the Sumatran elephant, the Sri-Lanka elephant and the Borneo elephant. The Indian elephant is the most widely distributed of the four Asian elephant sub-species. The Indian elephant has smaller ears than the African elephant and the Indian elephant also has a more curved spine than the African elephant. Due to their large size, Indian elephants have very few predators within their natural environment. An India without elephants is simply unimaginable.

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Page last modified: 24-01-2017 22:39:24 ZULU