India successfully tests supersonic interceptor ballistic missile

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Moving towards developing an indigenous ballistic missile shield to protect against Chinese and Pakistani threats, India on Thursday successfully test-fired the AAD missile which hit the incoming ballistic missile at an altitude of 15 km from a test range in Odisha.

The test is significant for one more reason: it is the first time that a woman scientist, Dr Shashikala Sinha, also known as the ‘new missile woman’, conducted the highly complicated test successfully for the country.

“The test was carried out around 10am on Thursday as the interceptor missile called ‘AAD’ managed to score a direct hit on the incoming ballistic missile at an altitude of 15 kilometres,” a senior government source said.

The indigenous missile shield along with the Russian S-400 air defence systems are likely to provide protection from enemy missile attacks. The Ballistic Missile Defence shield would also help the country save on imports form foreign countries.

The indigenous BMD is a two-layer missile defence system which can intercept enemy ballistic missile, both in space and in Earth’s atmosphere.

Under Thursday’s test, the missile was intercepted in the endo-atmospheric region – at an altitude of 15 km.

Defence sources said the low altitude Advanced Area Defence (AAD) interceptor missile fired from the Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast zoomed in on the target, which was launched from the launching complex – III of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) also based in the island.

“The radar of the defence 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,” said a defence official.

Indigenously developed by DRDO, the AAD interceptor is a single stage missile powered by solid propellants.

The interceptor is a 7.5-meter long single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile equipped with a navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator, the sources said.

The state-of-the-art interceptor missile has its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking and homing capabilities and sophisticated radars.

With the success, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has ended its ‘Mission 2017’ on a happy note. This was the second successful test of ballistic missile defence, this year.

The DRDO has developed both high-altitude and low altitude anti-ballistic missiles.

While the first phase seeks to destroy the incoming enemy missiles in the exo-atmospheric region (outside the atmosphere), the second phase envisages killing enemy missiles of more than 2,000 km range within the endo-atmospheric (inside the atmosphere) region.

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