BALASORE: After the successful trial of supersonic AAD interceptor missile that killed the target missile at an altitude of 15 km, the country is planning to go for more advanced exo-atmospheric (outside the atmosphere) interceptor missile to strengthen its Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) shield.
Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and DRDO chief V K Saraswat told this paper that a new missile is being developed which can kill an incoming enemy missile at an altitude of 150 km.
“We already have Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) interceptor missile which has demonstrated its lethal capability at an altitude of 80 km. Now, we want to achieve the interception altitude of over 150 km.
The design of the new missile has been completed and it is being developed,” he said.
Earlier, the PAD interceptor being equipped with gimballed, directional and manoeuvrable warhead, which can rotate 360 degrees, had demonstrated its capability. The warhead can be directed to explode towards the target. Only the US and Russia have gimballed directional warheads. “If every thing goes as per the plan, the new missile that can also carry the directional warhead would be test-fired by the year-end,” Saraswat said.
With this, there will be two more anti-ballistic missiles, which can intercept Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs).
However, the new missile under development will replace the PAD interceptor. The two-stage missile will be powered by solid propellants at the both the stages. It will have an innovative system for controlling the vehicle at an altitude of more than 150 km.
The yet to be named new missile will be the mainstay of the missile defence shield. At present, India has the capability to engage enemy targets up to 2,500 km. When developed, the two anti-ballistic missiles can intercept targets up to 5,000 km both at exo and endo-atmospheric (inside the atmosphere) regions. The missiles will work in tandem to ensure a hit probability of 99.8 per cent.
“But the focus is now to achieve the killing precision at the highest altitude,” he said. He lay emphasis on a new advanced software for which the DRDO achieved a direct hit-to-kill on the target missile.