India’s plans to set up a missile defence shield in Delhi in next two years moved a step further on Friday with the successful test-firing of an interceptor missile off the coast of Odisha.
As part of the exercise, it test-fired a supersonic interceptor missile which destroyed a ‘hostile’ ballistic missile offthe Odisha coast on Friday.
“At around 1252 hours, the interceptor hit the target missile successfully at an altitude of 14.5 kilometres,” DRDO spokesman Ravi Kumar Gupta said on Friday.
India is working towards development of a multi-layer Ballistic Missile Defence system.
“We are ready to deploy the system in the NCR region by 2014,” DRDO’s scientist and Director of the Missile Defence Programme Avinash Chander said.
The ‘hostile’ ballistic missile, a modified surface- to-surface ‘Prithvi’, mimicking an incoming enemy weapon, first lifted off from a mobile launcher at around 12.52 hours from the launch complex-3 of Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-Sea, about 15 kms from Balasore.
Within about four minutes, the interceptor, Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile positioned at Wheeler Island, about 70 km from Chandipur, after getting signals from tracking radars roared through its trajectory to destroy the incoming missile mid-air in an “endo-atmospheric” altitude, defence sources said.
Gupta said a simulated test was also done on Friday to check the system and it was also successful.
In today’s test, the hostile missile was simulated to be a ballistic missile fired from the range of 1,500 kms, he said.
The interceptor missile is a 7.5-metre-long single-stage solid rocket propelled guided missile equipped with a navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro- mechanical activator, the sources said.
Talking to PTI, DRDO chief V K Saraswat said the missile shield has been successfully tested nine times and it was in a very mature stage.
“I think this would be ready for deployment by the 2013- 14 timeframe,” he said.
The missile defence shield is planned to be a two-tiered system in which the interceptor missiles can destroy their target vehicles in both outside and inside the atmosphere.
A Defence Ministry release said all the four missiles, including two real and two simulated ones, were tracked by radars and all the guidance and launch computers operated in full operational mode for handling multiple targets with multiple interceptor.
“All the four missiles were in the sky simultaneously and both the interceptions took place near simultaneously. This has proved the capability of DRDO to handle multiple targets with multiple interceptors simultaneously,” the release said.
The complete radar systems, communication networks, launch computers, target update systems and state of the art avionics have been completely proven in this Mission.
The whole operations were carried out under the guidance of Adalat Ali, Programme Director AD.