Another Ballistic missile defence test next month

Aiming to get a shield against missile over its skies, India will conduct another test of its Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) next month.

"Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will conduct the test of its interceptor missile and missile tracking radars next month for validating the advancements made in the Air Defence programme," Defence Ministry sources said in New Delhi on Friday.

Though the interceptor missiles, namely Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) and Advanced Air Defence (AAD), have been tested earlier, the main aim of the next month's test would be to validate the capabilities of the indigenously developed 'Swordfish' Long Range Tracking Radar (LRTR).

Swordfish is a target acquisition and fire control radar for the BMD system.

"The missile to be hit will be fired from a longer distance than it was in the earlier test. DRDO will test whether the radar can track the incoming missile from that distance or not," they said.

In next month's test, the exo-atmospheric interceptor missile PAD will hit its target in space at an altitude over 80 km from earth, sources said.

They said the premier defence research agency will carry out another test around the year end to enhance the capabilities of AAD endo-atmospheric missile, which is used for intercepting missiles at altitudes up to 15 km.

Sources said if the tests prove successful, the DRDO will go ahead with the deployment of the BMD by 2015.

When contacted, DRDO Air Defence programme Director V K Saraswat said that the AD programme was at a "fairly advanced stage" now.

"The building blocks of BMD such as the surveillance, tracking and battlefield management systems have been developed," he said.

Saraswat said the DRDO has developed a very robust command and control system for the AD programme, which can "survive and deliver" in any environment.

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