Monday, January 28, 2008

India develops missile defence system

India has developed a two-layered ballistic missile defence system to counter enemy missiles. It has been configured with radars for long-range surveillance, tracking, command, control, communication and interception to destroy enemy ballistic missiles.

The two-layered system, comprising “exo” and “endo” atmospheric interceptors, destroys incoming ballistic missiles at altitudes above 40 km and below 25 km, respectively. The exo-atmospheric interception was successfully tried on November 27 at an altitude of 48 km while the endo-atmospheric high supersonic missile (also called as AAD) was successfully put on trial in the first week of December.

Another trial demonstrating the interception of a live ballistic missile was held on December 6 at an island near Orissa. The interceptors were developed at the Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) in Bangalore at a cost of Rs.2,000 crore.

Briefing the success story of the LRDE, an R and D establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organiastion, the Chief Controller, R and D (Missiles and Strategic Systems) and Programme Director (Air Defence) V.K. Sarswat and the LRDE Director S. Varadarajan said that with this, India has joined the elite club of nations in air defence system. Dr. Sarswat said others in the club were the U.S., Russia and Israel.

He said the missile trials will continue for two years and commercial production will start from the third year. The long-range tracking radar and the multi function fire-control radars were developed in collaboration with Israel and France.

On whether India had plans to develop satellite-based and sea-based defence systems, Dr. Sarswat said that since India was a signatory to the declaration against militarisation of space and sea, it would not happen. He said the organisation was capable of converting the two-layered system into a potent defence missile system, with a range of 2,000 km.

The supersonic interceptor missile has several applications. By integrating the sensors for low altitude coverage, the AAD missile can be used for defence against cruise missiles. Its high velocity and manoeuvrability ensure the interception of aircraft over a range of 80 km, he said.

Dr. Saraswat said nearly 50 industries, many of them in the private sector, participated in the development of the system. Trials in weapon-tracking and maritime target detection/imaging radar system were at an advanced stage, he said.

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