The Pakistani military’s media relations wing Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) reports that the armed forces had tested a new surface-to-surface ballistic missile capable of using multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) technology. Designated the Ababeel, the medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) has a maximum range of 2,200 km. As per ISPR, “the test flight was aimed at validating various design and technical parameters” of the Ababeel, which was designed and developed to ensure the “survivability of Pakistan’s ballistic missiles in the growing regional Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) environment.” With MIRV, countries can deploy multiple warheads from a single ballistic missile. Each warhead is equipped with an inertial navigation system (INS), enabling the user to target different locations using the same payload. This enables the single ballistic missile to stress a BMD’s ability to simultaneously intercept multiple targets, thereby increasing the scope for a warhead to strike its target. The Ababeel MRBM test comes at the heels of the Babur 3 submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM), which was recently tested from an underwater mobile platform. Where the Babur 3 SLCM represents a clear step in building Pakistan’s assured second-strike capability, the Ababeel is a major step towards strengthening Pakistan’s first-strike element.