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India to re-test ballistic missile defence shield

India will conduct afresh the trial of its tactical ballistic missile in June to build a credible defence shield for intercepting and destroying incoming missiles, a top defence scientist said today.

"We will conduct a flight test of the anti-missile system again in June to build the ballistic missile defence shield against incoming medium- or long-range missiles," Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) director-general VK Saraswat said here.

Admitting that the earlier test conducted on March 15 at the integrated test facility on Wheeler Island off Orissa failed when one of the two rockets involved in the trial deviated off the course, Saraswat said investigation into the incident revealed that the system did not work and the target was missed due to fuel leakage.

"Analysis of the earlier trial revealed that there was a leakage in the target missile leading to system failure. We are rectifying it to ensure the next flight test in June will hit the target and demonstrate our advance capability in developing the missile defence shield against any adversary missile attack," Saraswat said on the sidelines of an event.

The fresh trial will also be conducted in the endo-atmospheric (within the earth's atmosphere) region, at an altitude of 100km, and subsequently in the exo-atmospheric (out of the atmosphere) region.

India plans to deploy the first phase of the defence shield by 2012 after completing a series of trials and evaluating their target range.

"As in the previous trial, a target missile will be launched as an incoming missile and intercepted with another missile," Saraswat, who is also the scientific adviser to the defence minister, said after delivering a keynote address at a convention organised by the Aeronautical Society of India.

The sophisticated ballistic missile defence system is built to thwart any incoming missile from entering the air space of the country.

The state-run DRDO has developed the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) system for endo-atmospheric interception and the Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) missile for exo-atmospheric interception.

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