BHUBANESWAR: Two days after the Uri terror attack, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully conducted twin tests of long range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM) from a defence test facility off Odisha coast on Tuesday.
The state-of-the-art Gen-Next missile developed in collaboration with Israel will provide an air-shield to sensitive defence installations and important metro cities besides protection from hostile attacks.
Defence sources said the missiles with dummy payloads were launched from a mobile launcher at about 10.10 am and 2.25 pm from the launching complex-III of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea.
In both the occasions, the missiles fired in full operational configuration targeted pilotless target aircraft - Banshee, a British drone, and successfully intercepted proving the weapon system’s ‘killing’ efficiency.
This time, the naval version of the SAM system was tested from land. The trajectory of the missiles was tracked and monitored by radars and electro-optical systems installed at ITR.
Speaking to ‘The Express’ from the test range, a senior defence official said both the missiles successfully destroyed the targets at different ranges and altitudes.
The advanced missile system, jointly designed and developed by India’s Research Centre Imarat (RCI), a DRDO laboratory and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), has a Multi Functional Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar (MFSTAR) for detection, tracking and guiding the weapon system.
The missile having a strike range of 90 km can fill the gap that India has in its armoury at present and will provide users with the capability to neutralise any aerial threat. It can carry a payload of 60 kg and flies at a speed of Mach 2.
The weapon system, which weighs around 2.75 tonne, will be inducted in the armed forces after completion of its experimental tests. Three more rounds of tests have been planned in next three days from the same test facility.
Both Israel and Indian scientists participated in the mission. The Israel team was led by Vice President of IAI Boyes Levy while the Indian team was led by Project Director Patrick D’Silva. Director of DRDL MSR Prasad, Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and DG (MSS) Dr G Satheesh Reddy and ITR Director Dr B K Das witnessed the tests.
Congratulating the scientists, Director General of DRDO Dr S Christopher said it is an important achievement and will pave way for production of the system.
As a precautionary measure, over 3,600 people living within a 2.5 km radius of the test facility were temporarily shifted by the district administration to nearby shelter camps. They were compensated as per the Ministry of Defence norms. Fishermen in three coastal districts of Balasore, Bhadrak and Kendrapada were asked not to venture into the sea during the test launch.