Prithvi Defence Vehicle Fails to Intercept
Despite the hype and hoopla over the successful maiden trial of India’s longest range interceptor missile Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV), it reportedly failed to destroy the target missile as no interception could take place due to technical reasons.
In another ‘failure’ of the weapon system, the interceptor missile, which took off from the launcher following the command generated after the target missile was fired, passed the latter at an altitude of 40 km instead of its capability of 150 km.
On April 27, DRDO claimed to have successfully carried out its first PDV test-fire, meeting the mission objectives, which according to the defence officials, was a significant milestone in the direction of developing a two-layered Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system.
While the target missile having a range of over 2,000-km was fired from a Naval ship off the Paradip coast, the interceptor was launched from the launching complex-IV of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler Island.
Sources at the test range told this paper that the warhead in the interceptor missile did not explode. “The interceptor did not directly hit the target missile. So it cannot be claimed that a ‘hit-to-kill’ took place during the mission unlike in earlier attempts involving AAD interceptor missile,” an official said, requesting anonymity.
This apart, the interceptor missile failed to achieve the desired altitude. During Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) mission earlier, the DRDO had already achieved 80 km altitude level and this time it was expected that the PDV interceptor would attain at least 120 km though it has the capability of attaining 150 km altitude.
“The missed distance between the interceptor and the target was more than what was expected. But we still can say that the mission was partially successful as the interceptor could be fired in time. In an automated operation, a radar-based detection and tracking system successfully detected and tracked the enemy ballistic missile,” the official added.
Defence officials, however, claimed that the warhead in the interceptor missile was not meant to be exploded in this mission. DRDO Chief Avinash Chander said the main objective was to track the target missile and see the performance of the infrared (IR) seeker in the interceptor. “These parameters were met as per the expectation,” he said.