India to conduct third interceptor missile trial in November


Bangalore : India is preparing to conduct the third trial of its advanced interceptor missile in November from the Chandipur-on-sea interim test range in coastal Orissa, a top defence official said Friday.

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“Preparations are on to conduct the interceptor missile test for building an indigenous defence shield in early November. It is aimed at intercepting and destroying ballistic missiles from a long range,” defence scientist V.K. Saraswat told IANS here.

The configuration of the upcoming trial will be different from the previous one, conducted in December 2007, as the attempt this time is to approach higher kill altitude, with accurate interception.

“We have already conducted a test in endo-atmosphere at a distance of 48 km. We are aiming at much higher altitude in exo-atmosphere, which is 50-75 km above the earth,” said Saraswat, chief controller of research & development of the missile programme at the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).

The 7.5-metre interceptor missile will be fired within seconds after an incoming missile is launched from the test range. The target missile will be a modified version of the Prithvi ballistic missile.

“The test will reinforce our capability in installing a two-layered ballistic missile defence (BMD) shield to protect vulnerable areas from an incoming enemy missile and strengthen our national security,” Saraswat said on the sidelines of a conference on ‘Networking and Network-centric Operations’, organised by the Computer Society of India.

The interceptor will be equipped with inertial navigation system and electro-mechanical actuators to enable it to perform critical manoeuvres required to engage the incoming missile during the latter’s terminal phase.

The first interception test of a missile was conducted successfully at an altitude of 50 km in exo-atmosphere in November 2006.

“With the third test, we will have the entire BMD capability to detect, intercept and destroy intermediate-range and inter-continental ballistic missiles in the 5,000 km (3,000 mile) coming from any country,” Saraswat added.

India had already demonstrated that it was capable of intercepting short-range targets in up to 2,000-2,500 km range.

The BMD gives India membership of the select club of Israel, Russia and the US in developing and possessing such technology once the system is rolled out.

The defence system’s tracking and fire control radars have been developed by DRDO in collaboration with Israel and France.