BHUBANESWAR: Amidst mounting tension along the border, India has planned three nuclear-capable missile tests in three days from Monday. All three missiles will be fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) off the Odisha coast.
The missiles include most sophisticated home-grown Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor which is capable of destroying incoming enemy missiles of more than 2,000 km range. Other two missiles scheduled for tests are 350 km range Prithvi-II and 700 km range Agni-I, both are indigenously developed weapon systems.
While medium-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile Prithvi-II will be fired from launching complex-III of the ITR on Monday, Agni-I and AAD interceptor will be launched from LC-IV in the Adbul Kalam Island in full operational configuration on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.
Developed under India’s flagship Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) programme, it is the 12th test of the interceptor missile. Preparation for all the scheduled tests is nearly complete.
The DRDO had conducted a test of the interceptor’s target missile, a variant of Prithvi-II on Wednesday. Though the interceptor was scheduled on the day, the plan was scrapped at the last minute due to a reported snag in the command software, informed a source.
The interceptor missile is slated to destroy a target missile, mimicking an incoming hostile missile, mid-flight over the Bay of Bengal. This experimentation will be to observe the operational effectiveness and killing efficiency of the high-speed interceptor missile.
“During the exercise, the Prithvi variant will lift off from the LC-III at Chandipur and it will be destroyed in the endo-atmospheric region (at an altitude of 15 km) by the interceptor fired from the LC-IV a few seconds later,” said a defence scientist.The scientists are working overtime to make all the missions successful in the run up to build a minimum credible nuclear deterrence while a successful flight of the interceptor will pave the way for its induction into the armed forces.
Developed by DRDO, the 7.5 meters tall AAD interceptor is a single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile equipped with an inertial navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator totally under command by the data up-linked from the ground-based radar. The missile weighs around 1.2 tonnes and has a diameter of 0.5 meters. An enemy 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 missile will provide an air-shield to important metros against hostile attacks and can be moved closer to the Indo-Pak and Sino-Indian borders during the crisis, the sources added.