DRDO Planning to Test-fire High-altitude 'Killer' Missile in January
By Hemant Kumar Rout | ENS | Published: 29th November 2013 08:51 AM |
After a long wait, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is contemplating to conduct the first test of its newly developed interceptor missile from a defence base off the Odisha coast in January.
The missile, dubbed as Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV), has the potential to destroy enemy missile with a strike range of around 2,500 km outside the earth’s atmosphere (at an altitude of over 150 km). Only a few countries in the world have such a capability.
The air defence exercise, a part of India’s Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) programme, would involve two missiles - the interceptor and enemy missile. Both the missiles have been developed for the first time and will be programmed at separate locations in Chandipur and Wheeler Island.
A reliable source said while the enemy missile would be fired from a Naval warship in the Bay of Bengal, the interceptor would be launched from the launching complex-IV at Wheeler Island. “The test is likely to be conducted in January,” it said.
Earlier, the DRDO had successfully test-fired exo-atmospheric (outside the atmosphere) and endo-atmospheric (within the atmosphere) interceptor ballistic missiles.
Of the seven interceptor missile tests, six have been successful. While two were in exo-atmosphere region, five took place in endo-atmosphere (below an altitude of 50 km).
“Programme Air Defence (PAD) interceptor missile has already demonstrated its killing capability at an altitude of 50 to 80 km. The Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile also has destroyed the target missile at an altitude of 15 to 30 km. Now we want to achieve the interception altitude of over 150 km,” a defence scientist said.
The two-stage PDV interceptor will be powered by solid propellants and fitted to an innovative system for controlling the vehicle at an altitude of more than 150 km. The PDV interceptor is expected to replace the PAD interceptor.
A scientist associated with the PDV project told ‘The Express’ that the focus was now to achieve the killing precision at the highest altitude with the help of an advanced software for which the DRDO would achieve a direct hit-to-kill on the target missile.
In a bid to protect major cities, the DRDO has developed two-layered BMD system and the R&D is on to develop Phase-II anti-ballistic missile defence system, capable of destroying enemy inter-continental ballistic missiles fired from 5,000 km away.
The two-layered BMD system is expected to be inducted in the armed forces by the end of next year.
However, prior to the PDV test, two user trials by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) have been planned.
While the 350-km range Prithvi-II ballistic missile is slated for test on December 3, Agni-III missile, with a range of 3,000-km, is scheduled for test on December 18.
* The missile, dubbed as Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV), has the potential to destroy enemy missile with a strike range of around 2,500 km outside the earth’s atmosphere (at an altitude of over 150 km)
* Only a few countries in the world have such a capability
* The focus was now to achieve the killing precision at the highest altitude with the help of an advanced software for which the DRDO would achieve a direct hit-to-kill on the target missile