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Interceptor missile test-fired

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A MILESTONE: The trajectories of the target missile and the interceptor missile and the interception point on display on the consoles of the Mission Control Centre at Wheeler Island, off the Orissa coast, on Thursday. (Right): The interceptor missile roaring off from Wheeler Island. —
A MILESTONE: The trajectories of the target missile and the interceptor missile and the interception point on display on the consoles of the Mission Control Centre at Wheeler Island, off the Orissa coast, on Thursday. (Right): The interceptor missile roaring off from Wheeler Island. —

Y. Mallikarjun and T.S. Subramanian

Shows the country’s capability to defend itself against ballistic missiles

The interception took place at an altitude of 15 km

Radars at Konark and Paradip pick up the target missile

Wheeler Island (Orissa): India on Thursday demonstrated its capability to defend itself against ballistic missile attacks by successfully testing a hypersonic interceptor missile. The missile destroyed an incoming target missile in a direct hit over the Bay of Bengal.

The interception took place at an altitude of 15 km, in what is called the “endo-atmosphere.” The debris fell into the sea. The launch has propelled the nation into the elite club, comprising the United States, Russia and Israel.

The target missile, a modified, single-stage Prithvi missile called ‘TGT-04,’ lifted off from Chandipur-on-Sea, Orissa, at 11a.m. Five minutes later, the interceptor missile, named ‘AAD-02’ (Advanced Air Defence), roared off from a mobile launcher at Wheeler Island, about 70 km across the sea from Chandipur.

As the target missile climbed to an altitude of 110 km and had a free fall at a speed of 2.5 to 3 Mach, the AAD-02, speeding at 4.5 Mach, performed intricate manoeuvres and homed in on the target in a head-on collision. The interception took place 25 seconds after the AAD-02 took off.

Radars at Konark and Paradip in Orissa picked up the target missile in its ascent mode and communicated its velocity and position to the MCC.

The MCC classified it as a ballistic missile and assigned the task of waylaying it to the AAD-02. The interceptor lifted off, homed in on the target, using a radio frequency seeker on board, and achieved a “direct hit.”

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