Aiming for missile shield, India to again test interceptor rocketJuly 24th, 2008 - 2:45 pm ICT by IANS
By Ritu Sharma
New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) In a significant step towards developing a missile defence shield, India will for the second time test-fire a missile to intercept an incoming target in the exo-atmosphere - above 40 km altitude - in the next few days. The first test of the interceptor missile was conducted in 2006.
On December 6 last year, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had for the second time successfully tested an endo-atmospheric - below 30 km altitude - version of the ballistic missile defence shield.
“This time the interceptor missile, which carries a warhead weighing up to 25 km, will be tested to target a missile in the exo-atmosphere over a longer range,” a senior DRDO official told IANS. The official declined to be named.
Aiming to protect populated areas and vital installations like nuclear power stations and oil wells, the DRDO will be testing the missile shield both in the endo-atmosphere and exo-atmosphere in November.
The missile shield will have highly sensitive radars to track incoming missiles and an interceptor that can destroy it. The guidance system in the shield would ensure that the two missiles collide within a matter of seconds, thereby saving vital targets from destruction.
Baptised as the Prithvi Air Defence system, the agile interceptor has now been renamed as Pradyumna.
DRDO needs to carry out at least three to four trials with both versions before the missile shield ready for operational use.
“The test is likely to be conducted Chandipur off the Orissa coast. Phase I of this programme is slated to be completed by 2009, while it is to secure operational clearance by 2012-13,” the official said.
DRDO says its missile system is comprable to the Israeli Arrow system and the American Patriot system, both of whose manufacturers are courting the Indian defence establishment for likely orders.
DRDO expects ballistic missile shield to take care of threats from existing Chinese and Pakistani missiles. While Pakistan possesses missiles with ranges between 400 and 2,000 km, the Chinese arsenal varies from a range of 300 km to 2,800 km.
The Indian interceptor can carry a warhead weighing up to 25 kg.