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India test-fires interceptor missile

Source: PTI
Last updated on: July 26, 2010 11:00 IST
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India on Monday successfully test-fired its indigenously developed interceptor missile, capable of destroying any incoming hostile ballistic missile, from the Integrated Test Range at Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast.

Aimed at developing a full-fledged multi-layer ballistic missile defence system, the trial was carried out from two launch sites of the ITR off the Orissa coast, defence sources said.

The exercise was carried out to achieve the desired result with precision, said a senior defence scientist.

The target missile, a modified surface-to-surface Prithvi, first lifted off from a mobile launcher at 10.05 am from the launch complex-3 of ITR at Chandipur-on-Sea, 15 km from Balasore.

The interceptor 'AAD' missile, positioned at Wheeler Island about 70 km across the sea from Chandipur, on getting signals from the radar tracked it a few minutes later and intercepted over the sea at an altitude, the sources said.

While the test launch of both the target and hit missiles were deemed a success from their respective test sites, detailed results, specifically the 'kill' effects of the interceptor, will be known after all data analysis from multiple tracking sources is received, a defence official said soon after both the missiles roared into the overcast sky, leaving behind a thin layer of smoke.

An 'AAD' missile was used as an interceptor at low altitude, the sources said, adding that the indigenously developed new hypersonic interceptor missile was designed to be engaged in endo- and exo- (within and beyond ) atmospheric conditions.

The interceptor, designed for endo-atmospheric conditions (up to an altitude of 30 km) is a seven-metre-long and single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile, and is equipped with an inertial navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator totally under command by the data uplinked from the sophisticated ground-based radars to the interceptor.

Similarly, the interceptor designed for exo-atmospheric conditions is a two-stage missile with a maximum interception altitude of 80 km, they said.

The interceptor missile had its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking and homing capabilities and its own radars.

This is the fourth time that the Defence Research and Development Organisation has tested its intercepting missile. The three previous tests were conducted on November 27, 2006, December 6, 2007 and March 6, 2009, from Wheeler Island.

The fourth test, which was scheduled in mid-March, was put off twice and considered abandoned. Due to some technical snags in the sub-system of the missile, the mission was aborted prior to take off on March 14.

The next day the target missile deviated from its pre-determined trajectory, which forced the DRDO scientists to put off the trial of the interceptor missile, the sources said.

As a safety measure this time round, the Balasore district administration had temporarily shifted about 400 civilian families residing within a two-km radius of the ITR launch pad-3 at Chandipur from where the target missile was test fired.
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