Tuesday, January 8, 2008

India developing ballistic missiles to destroy IRBMs, ICBMs

By 2010 India will have an indigenous ballistic missile defence system to intercept and destroy intermediate ballistic missiles (IRBMs) and inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), a top defence official said here Monday.'We are developing a robust anti-missile defence system that will have high-speed interceptions for engaging ballistic missiles in the 5,000 km class and above. We have recently demonstrated the capability to handle such targets up to 2,000 to 2,500 km,' Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief controller V.K. Saraswat told IANS on the sidelines of the 95th Indian Science Congress.With an advanced integrated ballistic missile defence (BMD) system India joins the exclusive club of Israel, Russia and the US in developing and possessing the technology to attack and defend itself from any adversary in the region or beyond.'With our avowed policy of 'no-first use' with respect to nuclear weapons, we may not go on an attack mode despite having the capability to hit targets at 3,000 km and beyond with Agni-III and its upcoming variants.'At the same time, as our birthright is to defend the country and its interests, we will be self-reliant to ensure we are not attacked. Our BMD is designed to intercept the enemy even at high altitudes and long distances and destroy it before it could enter our region,' Saraswat said.The advanced BMD is at a design stage and will go on trial in 2009-2010. With all the elements of the system such as the long-range tracking radar, the multi-function fire control radar, the very intelligent and potent mission control centre for deciding the launching of the interceptor, the BMD will be able to detect IRBMs and ICBMs of any country and destroy on target.'The first anti-missile defence system, which was successfully test-fired Dec 6, 2007 from the integrated test range in coastal Orissa, demonstrated our capability to intercept targets at 45 to 50 km (exo-atmospheric) as well as at 15 to 20 km (endo-atmosphoric) altitudes and disintegrating them.'With this capability, we have protective missile cover in the western region and northeastern region,' Saraswat said.India is surrounded by countries in and around the region possessing various ballistic missiles that could be fired from any direction.The tracking and fire control radars were developed by state-run DRDO in collaboration with Israel and France. With the development and production being taken up concurrently, the Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) in Bangalore has been commissioned to roll out more radars for short, medium and long range use in association with the private sector.'LRDE has a full-fledged facility at Kolar to assemble and calibrate the radars required by the defence forces,' Saraswat said.Under the integrated guided missile programme, DRDO plans to test fire Agni-IV intermediate range missile in mid-2009. It will be able to hit targets in the range of 5,000-6,000 km.

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