India successfully test-fires interceptor missile
"It was a fantastic launch. The trial, conducted from two launch sites of Integrated Test Range (ITR) for developing a full fledged multi-layer Ballistic Missile Defence system, was fully successful," ITR Director S P Dash said.
The `hostile` target ballistic missile, a modified surface-to-surface `Prithvi`, was first lifted from a mobile launcher around 1013?hours from the launch complex-III of ITR at Chandipur-on-Sea, about 15 km from here.
After three minutes, the interceptor Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile positioned at Wheeler Island, about 70 km from Chandipur, received signals from tracking radars installed along the coastline and travelled through the sky to destroy it, defense sources said.
The ITR director said the interceptor hit the `target` missile at an altitude of about 15 km over the sea. "Detailed results and the `kill` effect of the interceptor are being ascertained by analysing data from multiple tracking sources," a Defence Research Development scientist said.
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, sources said.
The interceptor missile had its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking and homing capabilities and sophisticated radars, sources said.
The previous trials 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 2010 was put-off twice. Due to some technical glitches in the sub-system of the missile, the mission was aborted prior to its take off on March 14.
The next day on March 15, 2010 the target missile, modified `Prithvi` deviated from its pre-determined trajectory which forced the scientists of DRDO to put-off the launch of the interceptor missile in the last minute.
However, the fifth trial of the interceptor in its series, conducted on July 26, 2010 incorporating some new technologies to the interceptor missile was a success. Similarly, the last trial conducted on March 6, 2011 was also successful, sources added.