India’s ‘interceptor’ may make ballistic missile shield real

M SOMASEKHAR Hyderabad | Updated on January 13, 2018


India’s efforts to develop an impregnable Ballistic Missile Shield has received a major boost. Defence scientists have demonstrated the capability to destroy an incoming ballistic missile by hitting it directly above the Earth’s atmosphere with an interception missile.

The indigenously developed interceptor that mimicked the enemy destroyer, with a range of 2,000 km, was launched from Indian Naval Ship from the Bay of Bengal.

The entire operation without human involvement was executed with perfection, a press release from the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) said.

The successful Saturday morning test from the APJ Abdul Kalam island off the coast of Odisha, propels India into the exclusive club of four nations, which include the US, Russia and Israel, to possess the technology.

The robust missile shield will aid in securing its skies, key installations and assets from incoming enemy missiles. While other countries took several trials before realising this capability, India has achieved it after two tests, the DRDO sources claimed.

Over the past decade the DRDO labs have been developing the two layered (Endo & Exo or inside and above the Earth’s atmosphere respectively) BMD system. It contains a host of technologies and the indigenous ballistic missile. More than a dozen industries are involved in fabricating the hardware components.

After the latest test it is clear that the technologies required to put in place the BMD are developed and demonstrated indigenously. It would take a few more advanced tests and fine tuning before it can be operationalised, sources said.

The entire exercise was tracked by radars located far off by the weapon systems radars. The mission computer predicting the trajectory of the target missile was used to launch the interceptor missile from the Kalam Island (formerly Wheeler Island).

The interceptor missile guided by the radars and on-board avionics hurtled towards the target. Thereafter, the on-board navigation and seekers took control, tracked and homed in towards the target as per its dynamic trajectory. Finally, the interceptor hammered into the ballistic missile breaking it into pieces, DRDO sources said.

The radar, electro optical tracking, telemetry and monitoring systems including the on board video systems followed the vehicle throughout its course till the final assault.

Published on February 12, 2017

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