BHUBANESWAR: It was a hat-trick for Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) which achieved another feat by successfully test launching long range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM) thrice in two days from a defence test facility off Odisha coast.
While twin tests of the state-of-the-art Gen-Next missile developed in collaboration with Israel were successful on Tuesday, it performed as coordinated during third test conducted at a different altitude on Wednesday.
The tests assumed significance as those were carried out two days after Uri terror strike. Once inducted, the weapon system 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 launching complex-III of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea. The missiles fired in full operational configuration against pilot-less target aircraft - Banshee, a British drone to prove the weapon system’s ‘killing’ efficiency.
This time, the naval version of the SAM system which was earlier flight tested from ships, was tested from land. The trajectory of the missile was tracked and monitored by the radars and electro-optical systems installed at ITR.
Jointly designed and developed by India’s Research Centre Imarat (RCI), a DRDO laboratory and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the missile has a Multi Functional Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar (MFSTAR) to detect, track and guide the 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 weighs around 2.75 tonne and can carry a payload of 60 kg flying at a speed of Mach 2.
Both Israel and Indian scientists participated in the mission. The Israel team was led by Vice President of IAI Boyes Levy and Indian team 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 BK Das witnessed the tests.
As precautionary measures, 3,652 people living within a 2.5 km radius of the test facility were temporarily shifted to nearby shelter camps.