India on Sunday successfully test-fired a new interceptor missile capable of neutralising any incoming long-range missile at higher altitude.
The interceptor, positioned at launch pad–IV of Integrated Test Range at Wheeler Island from a Ship in the Bay of Bengal, roared into the sky at about 9:10 AM (Indian standard time) to hit its target.
The target, mimicking an incoming enemy missile, was first test fired from a naval ship at 9.06 AM and after getting signals from the radars, the interceptor went into action.
“The trial was conducted successfully and all the mission objectives were met,” said India’s premier military weapons developer DRDO spokesperson Ravi Kumar Gupta.
The details of the ‘kill effect’ of the interceptor missile were analysed after retrieving all the data from various radars and telemetry stations, an official said.
Earlier, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which is the premier agency to develop such a sophisticated interceptor, had successfully tested six interceptor missiles developed by it, both in endo-atmosphere (within 30 km altitude above sea level and exo-atmosphere stage (above 30 km altitude).
The Prithvi Air Defence interceptor missile has already demonstrated its killing capability at an altitude of 50 km and 80 km while the Advanced Air Defence interceptor missile has smashed the target missile at an altitude of 15 km to 30 km.
Now the target is to achieve the interception at an altitude of above 100 km of a long range missile, Indian defence sources said.
New Delhi is a top market for defence hardware and India buys about 60 per cent of its arms needs from Russia.
A refitted $2.3 billion aircraft carrier the INS Vikramaditya finally reached India in January this year after being refurbished in Russia, underlining the close defence ties between Moscow and New Delhi.
India’s defence spending is expected to rise 10 per cent to 2.24 trillion rupees ($36 billion) in 2014/15, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said in an interim budget presented in February this year.
“It is groundless and shows a lack of good will to use weapons equipment as a pretext to drive a wedge between China and India,” said China’s Ministry of National Defence spokesman Yang Yujun in August last year.
He was responding to a question about media reports alleging the Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikrant is an attempt to target China.