India likely to test fire homegrown AAD interceptor missile on Saturday

The preparation is near complete and final check-up of subsystems is being done at the launching complex in Abdul Kalam Island. 

Published: 09th February 2017 11:44 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th February 2017 01:08 AM   |  A+A-

AAD interceptor missile on the launch pad. | Express Photo Service

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: In a bid to develop robust Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) shield, India is scheduled to test fire its homegrown Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile from a defence base off Odisha coast on Saturday. The missile would intercept a target, mimicking an incoming enemy missile, mid-air.

The preparation is near complete and final check-up of subsystems is being done at the launching complex in Abdul Kalam Island. More than one hundred scientists and technical officials are camping at the test facility for the crucial launching of the complex system.

Defence sources said the test would be conducted to assess the weapon’s ‘killing' capability. The AAD interceptor, dubbed as Ashwin, will destroy the incoming missile in the endo-atmospheric region at a low altitude of less than 30 km.

As per the coordinated programme, the indigenously developed interceptor missile would be fired from the launching complex-IV of Kalam Island following a command from the tracking radar minutes after the target is launched.

Though on November 16 last, a similar test was attempted, but the interceptor missile could not be launched. The DRDO scientists had, however, launched the target missile, a modified version of Prithvi-II.

A defence official said the missile integration is finished and the test range is ready for the launch. “Since in a couple of occasions earlier the missile either deviated from intended trajectory or could not be tested, the scientists are leaving no stone unturned to make this mission successful,” he said.

India has a double-layered BMD system capable of tracking and destroying hostile missiles both inside (endo) and outside (exo) the earth's atmosphere. The success of the AAD test will boost India strengthen its position in the exclusive club of US, Russia and Israel.

The first phase BMD system capable of killing enemy missiles fired from 2,000 km away is expected to be inducted in the armed forces soon. Development is on for second phase anti-ballistic missile defence system, capable of destroying enemy missiles fired from 5,000 km away.

Developed by DRDO, the 7.5-metre tall interceptor is a single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile equipped with an inertial navigation system and an electro-mechanical activator totally under command by the data uplinked from the ground-based radar.

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