India tested a new interceptor missile for Phase-II of its own two-tier ballistic missile defence (BMD) system on Wednesday. This system can stop both slow-moving aircraft and long-range nuclear missiles.
DRDO has finished Phase-I of the two-tier BMD, which is designed to track and destroy nuclear missiles both inside (endo) and outside (exo) the earth’s atmosphere at altitudes from 15-25 km to 80-100 km for “a higher kill probability.”
Sources say that the government has not yet given permission for its full-scale operational deployment in any important place. This could be because of the high costs or because of a strategic decision that it would make Pakistan more likely to build a bigger nuclear arsenal and countermeasures to beat the BMD system.
India has, of course, put into use the Russian S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems, which can find, track, and destroy incoming strategic bombers, jets, spy planes, drones, and even some intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
DRDO, on the other hand, is moving forward with making the technologies needed for a full-fledged BMD system. The original plan for Phase-I of the BMD system called for interceptors flying at 4.5 Mach supersonic speeds to stop enemy missiles. These interceptors were supposed to be able to stop enemy missiles with a strike range of 2,000 km. The Phase-II is meant to defend against missiles with a range of 5,000 km.
The new AD-1 interceptor missile, which has a “large kill altitude,” was successfully tested against a “electronic target” on Wednesday from the APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha. During the flight test, different parts of the BMD system were placed in different parts of the world.
The defence ministry said, “The AD-1 is a long-range interceptor missile designed for both low exo-atmospheric and endo-atmospheric interception of long-range ballistic missiles and aircraft like AWACS.”
The AD-1 is powered by a two-stage solid motor, and it has advanced control systems, navigation, and guidance algorithms that were made in India. These help the vehicle get exactly where it needs to go.
Rajnath Singh, India’s defence minister, said that the AD-1 “is a unique type of interceptor with advanced technologies that are only available in a very small number of countries in the world.” He also said that he was confident that it would strengthen India’s BMD capabilities and take them to the next level.
Samir V. Kamat, the head of the DRDO, said that the AD-1 interceptor will give users “great operational flexibility” and be able to hit many different types of targets.
Only a few countries, like the US, Russia, Israel, and China, have BMD systems that are fully operational. These countries have a network of early-warning and tracking sensors, reliable command and control posts, and batteries of advanced interceptor missiles on land and at sea.
India has been working on its BMD programme since the late 1990s, and it tested its first interceptor missile in November 2006. Since then, more than a dozen tests of the BMD system have been done, and a few of them have failed. In the past, DRDO has said that the mix of exo- and endo-interceptor missiles gives it a “kill probability of 99.8%.” AD-1 is a new endo-interceptor missile that can change its shape.