India is in the process of developing a multi-layered Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) shield to protect major cities from incoming enemy missiles. This is a must for India as the country has two enemies on both borders – an increasingly powerful China on the eastern border, and a rogue and unpredictable Pakistan on the western front.
The defence shield program got a huge boost as the indigenously developed supersonic interceptor successfully destroyed an incoming ballistic missile over the Bay of Bengal. The missile was intercepted in the endo-atmospheric regionat an altitude of 15 km.
The Advanced Area Defence (AAD) interceptor missile was fired from the Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha. It zoomed in on the target which was launched from the launching complex – III of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) also based on the island.
A defence official said, “The radar of the defense system detected the incoming missile, tracked it and provided the command to launch the interceptor missile. The mission was brilliant as the interceptor missile achieved a direct hit, paving the way for its early deployment in the armed forces.
“The Fibre Optic Gyro (FOG) based INS in the interceptor, onboard computers, guidance systems, actuation systems and the critical Radio Frequency (RF) seekers used for the terminal phase all performed excellently. The launch has proved the BMD prowess of the country.”
The launch till the destruction of missile was being tracked by a number of electro-optical tracking systems using infrared imagery. This was the second successful test of ballistic missile defense this year.
The AAD interceptor is a single-stage missile powered by solid propellants. It is 7.5 metres tall and weighs around 1.2 tonnes. It had a diameter of less than 0.5 metre. The target missile was 11 metres tall, weighed five tonnes and had a diameter of one metre.
With this brilliant success, the DRDO has developed both high-altitude and low-altitude anti-ballistic missiles. The first phase involves destroying incoming enemy missiles in the exo-atmospheric region (outside the atmosphere) while the second phase is about neutralizing enemy missiles of more than 2,000 km range within the endo-atmospheric (inside the atmosphere) region.
As is expected, Pakistan again expressed concerns over this event. It has in the past said that India is ‘disturbing’ the peace of the region with the test of its ICBM and development of other lethal missiles such as the BrahMos.