India's homegrown Advanced Air Defence (AAD) supersonic interceptor missile conducted a successful test by intercepting an incoming simulated hostile ballistic missile at a low altitude over the Bay of Bengal.
The test, conducted by Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), represents a major boost for India's attempt at developing a multi-layered Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD).
Here's more about it.
What is a ballistic missile defense system?
India's BMD programme is aimed at protecting the nation against devastating enemy conventional and nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.
A BMD system comprises of a network of early warning and tracking radars, command and control posts, and interceptor missiles.
BMD is possibly the toughest defense technology to master. Currently, only the US, Russia, China and Israel have developed proven BMD systems.
No system is full-proof.
DRDO is developing two-tier BMD system
The DRDO commenced the development of its two-tier BMD system in the late 1990s. The two-tier system would comprise of missiles to destroy ballistic missiles inside (endo) and outside (exo) the earth's atmosphere. The DRDO has made progress in developing both kinds of missiles.
What happened in the test?
The latest test began with the launch of a Prithvi ballistic missile from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, Orissa.
The Prithvi, which simulated an incoming enemy missile, was detected and tracked using radars.
The AAD missile was fired from Abdul Kalam Island in the Bay of Bengal which successfully intercepted the target missile mid-air at an altitude of 15-km.
What the AAD comprises of
The AAD interceptor is a 7.5-meter tall single-stage missile powered by a solid propellant that weighs around 1.2 tons.
It's equipped with a state-of-the-art computer and a navigation system.
It has its "own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking and homing capabilities and sophisticated radars," according to the Economic Times.
AAD scored "direct hit," paves way for early deployment
"The mission was brilliant as the interceptor missile achieved a direct hit, paving the way for its early deployment in the armed forces," a defense official said.
"The Fibre Optic Gyro... in the interceptor, onboard computers, guidance systems, actuation systems and the critical Radio Frequency seekers used for the terminal phase all performed excellently. The launch has proved the BMD prowess of the country."