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India successfully test fires supersonic interceptor missile

November 23, 2012 14:54 IST

India on Friday successfully test-fired an indigenously developed supersonic interceptor missile, which is capable of destroying a hostile ballistic missile, from a test range off the Odisha coast.

"At around 12.52 pm, the interceptor hit the target missile successfully at an altitude of about 15 kilometres," said Defence Research and Development Organisation spokesman Ravi Kumar Gupta.

India is working towards the development of a multi-layer Ballistic Missile Defence system.

The test was conducted to validate various parameters of the interceptor in flight mode, said a defence source.

The 'hostile' ballistic missile, a modified surface-to-surface Prithvi, mimicking an incoming enemy weapon, first lifted off from a mobile launcher at around 12.52 pm from the launch complex-3 of integrated test range at Chandipur-on-Sea.

Within about four minutes, the interceptor Advanced Air Defence missile positioned at Wheeler Island, about 70 km from Chandipur, after getting signals from tracking radars, roared through its trajectory to destroy the incoming missile mid-air, in an "endo-atmospheric" altitude, defence sources said.

"The kill effect of the interceptor is being ascertained by analysing data from multiple tracking sources," a Defence Research Development Organisation scientist said soon after the test was carried out.

The interceptor is a 7.5-metre-long single-stage solid rocket propelled guided missile equipped with a navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator, the sources said.

The interceptor missile had its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking and homing capabilities, besides sophisticated radars, the sources added.

The previous trial conducted on February 10, 2012 from the same base was successful.

The earlier trials were conducted on November 27, 2006, December 6, 2007 and March 6, 2009 from Wheeler Island, the sources said.

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, 2010.

On March 15, 2010, the target missile, a modified Prithvi, deviated from its pre-determined trajectory which forced the scientists of DRDO to put off the launch of the interceptor missile at the last minute.

The fifth trial, conducted on July 26, 2010 incorporating some new technologies in the interceptor missile, was a success, the sources said.

The last two trials conducted on March 6, 2011 and February 10, 2012 were also successful. Friday's test was the eighth trial, they said.

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