India’s ballistic missile defence shield test fails


New Delhi : India’s ballistic missile defence shield test failed Monday after one of the two rockets involved in the exercise deviated off course due to an “on board systems malfunction”, an official said.

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The test would have seen the launch of an advanced air defence (AAD) missile from Wheeler Island off the Orissa to intercept and destroy an incoming missile, which however veered off course leading to the failure of the test, the official said.

“The flight test was planned to demonstrate the interception of a tactical ballistic missile in the endo-atmospheric (inside the atmosphere) region,” a senior official of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) that is developing the missile shield, said.

“As part of the mission, a target missile mimicking the incoming missile was launched from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur at around 10.10 a.m. Monday,” he said.

“The target missile took off in the normal way but deviated due to an onboard systems malfunction. It could not maintain the intended trajectory and failed to attain the desired altitude profile,” the official added.

“The mission control centre computer found that the interception was not warranted and accordingly did not allow take-off of the interceptor missile. The cause of the target malfunction is being investigated by an analysis of telemetre data,” the official said.

The test of the interceptor missile was earlier scheduled for Sunday but was put off due to last minute snags.

The authorities had shifted about 3,000 people from six villages within a two-km radius of the ITR to temporary camps as a precautionary measure.

DRDO has so far invested Rs.20 billion ($500 million) to develop the technology for the missile defence shield project in collaboration with Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) and the Thales group of France.