BALASORE (ODISHA):The test-fire of an updated version of the country’s most potent Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile from a defence test facility off the Odisha coast on Monday failed, with the weapon system toppling immediately after its take-off from the launcher.
The indigenously built missile, ‘Ashwin’, was fired from the launching complex-IV of the Wheeler Island around 11.45 am. It was to intercept an electronic target within an altitude of below 20 km as simulated by the mission team, to gauge the efficiency and killing precision of the missile.
Reliable sources at the test range said the missile toppled within a few seconds of its take-off from the mobile launcher. The missile caught fire, which was doused immediately. No major damage was reported. Though exact reason for the failure was yet to be ascertained, the DRDO officials were tightlipped about the test. Integrated Test Range Director M V K V Prasad and DRDO’s Directorate of Public Interface Director Ravi Kumar Gupta did not respond to the calls from Express. However, DRDO Public Relations Director N Ao said the Defence Ministry is yet to get any information on the test result.
“We have not got any official information from the DRDO, which is supposed to intimate us regarding the outcome of the test-fire. We are waiting for information,” he told Express over phone from Delhi.
This is not the first failure of AAD interceptor. The missile had failed to hit the target during its test on July 26, 2010. The interceptor, which travelled only about 15 km, detonated itself before reaching the target and fell apart.
Of the seven AAD tests so far, five have been successful. A similar test of the AAD was put off twice in mid-March 2010 and the mission was aborted due to some technical snag in the subsystem of the missile.
Indigenously developed by the DRDO, the AAD interceptor missile is a single-stage missile powered by solid propellants. It is 7.5 m tall, weighs around 1.2 tonnes and is less than 0.5 m in diameter.