India achieves major milestone in its anti-ballistic missile programme

India successfully test launched two homegrown interceptor missiles capable of destroying targets at exo and endo-atmospheric regions, in the last 20 days.

Published: 01st March 2017 06:53 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st March 2017 09:37 PM   |  A+A-

AAD interceptor missile being test fired from the Abdul Kalam Island. | EPS

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: India successfully test launched two homegrown interceptor missiles capable of destroying targets at exo and endo-atmospheric regions, in the last 20 days.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) test fired the supersonic endo-atmospheric advanced area defence (AAD) interceptor missile, dubbed as Ashwin, from a defence test facility off Odisha coast, on Wednesday.

The missile was fired from Abdul Kalam Island at about 10.15 AM against a target launched from Chandipur-based launching complex-III. Blasted off at about   10.10 AM, the target missile, a variant of Prithvi, mimicked the enemy missile.

According to defence sources the interceptor took off from launching complex-IV following commands from the radars on the incoming missile and destroyed it mid-air at an altitude of 15 km. All the sequences of the event were fully automated.

Dr Satheesh Reddy, the scientific adviser to defence minister-- who witnessed the test, said the mission was successful meeting all parameters set for the trial. “It was a great success for DRDO since both its interceptors fired in a gap of 20 days delivered desired results,” he said.

On February 11, DRDO had successfully flight tested Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) interceptor missile which destroyed the target at an altitude of nearly 97 km. The target missile was fired from a warship anchored in the Bay of Bengal.

While it was 13th test of the indigenously built anti-ballistic missile system, the AAD interceptor was test fired for the ninth time paving the way for its induction into the armed forces.

Any incoming ballistic missile can be targeted at all the three points in its parabolic trajectory - boost or launch phase, mid-course in space or terminal phase during atmospheric descent.

The interceptor missiles, which can provide an air shield against hostile attacks, would be moved closer to the Indio-Pak and Sino-Indian borders during crisis or wartime.

Here’s a list of ten reasons why the mission is significant for India’s ongoing  Ballistic Missile Programme:

1. Long range radar and multi-function fire control radar located far away successfully detected the incoming missile from take-off and tracked it through its entire path.

2. The trajectory of the incoming missile was continuously estimated by the guidance computer that gave command for the launch of AAD.

3. Guided by the command, the AAD missile launched automatically to counter and kill the target missile.

4. The Fibre Optic Gyro (FOG) based INS in interceptor, on-board computers, guidance systems, actuation systems and the critical Radio Frequency (RF) seekers performed excellently.

5. Complete radar systems, communication networks, launch computers, target update systems and state-of-the-art avionics have been completely proven in the mission.

6. The AAD interceptor is a single stage missile powered by solid propellants and it can destroy incoming missile coming from 2,000 km away.

7. Having a diameter of less than 0.5m, the missile is 7.5m tall and weighs around 1.2 tonnes.

8. The low-altitude interceptor has the capability to effectively intercept targets coming from different directions at terminal phase while the high altitude interceptor facilitates mid-course interception.

9. With the AAD and PDV systems, which are capable of killing targets at both low and high altitudes, India is the fourth country to have developed a multi-layered BMD programme after the US, Russia and Israel.

10. The two-tier interceptor missiles are likely to be inducted in the armed forces after a couple of more tests this year.

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