It pulverises ‘enemy' ballistic missile at an altitude of 16 km

In yet another confirmation of its ballistic missile defence capability, India on Sunday fired an interceptor missile, which intercepted an incoming ‘enemy' ballistic missile at an altitude of 16 km and pulverised it in “a direct kill.”

While the ‘hostile' missile took off at 9.32 a.m. from a launch complex at the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, Orissa, the interceptor blasted off at 9.37 a.m. from the Wheeler Island, off the Orissa coast.

The interceptor had a specially designed directional warhead, “which will go towards the target, look at it and cause the maximum damage.” The attacker ended up in a shower of fragments over the Bay of Bengal, “confirming a very good kill.” Both the missiles were made by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

V.K. Saraswat, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, told The Hindu from Wheeler Island that it was “a fabulous launch” and “it had a copybook terminal homing, taking the interceptor very close to the incoming ballistic missile.” The attacker simulated the 600-km range of a ballistic missile and the interceptor sped up at 4.5 Mach. “With this launch, we have perfected the interception in endo-atmosphere” below an altitude of 50 km, he said.

This is the DRDO's sixth interceptor mission, and five have been successful including a hat-trick in the first three.

“Our BMD programme has matured, and it is really ready now for integration into the air defence assets of the country. India is next only to the U.S., Russia, France and Israel, which have the BMD capability,” said Dr. Sarawat, who is also the DRDO Director-General and architect of India's interceptor missile programme.

Asked about China's capability, Dr. Saraswat replied: “China is still developing it.”

Avinash Chander, Director, Advanced Systems Laboratory, DRDO, Hyderabad, called it “a fantastic mission, with a perfect hit and a 100 per cent confirmation of a direct kill.”