Missile defence system ready for induction: DRDO chief

V K SARASWAT

India's missile defence system is ready for induction, V K Saraswat, chief of Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), has said.

A two-layer shield will be put over the national capital, Saraswat said. He confirmed that the system has already destroyed incoming missiles in four tests.

"We have identified the advanced air defence (AAD) missile and the PAD which has no acronym and is for exo-atmospheric interception (upwards of 30 km). The AAD is for endo-atmospheric interception. In two layers we intend to put it as part of the Delhi (air) defence," Saraswat said in an interview to The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta for NDTV 24X7's 'Walk the Talk' programme.

Saraswat said DRDO had used modified Prithvi missiles as simulated targets and demonstrated the capability of hitting missiles with the range of over 2,000 km. The Indian system is at par with the US Patriot 3 missile defence system, he said.

Asked when the system would be put in place over the capital, Saraswat said, "This system is now ready for induction."

The nuclear capable Agni V missile which India tested successfully last week has "taken deterrence of the country to a high level", Saraswat said. The missile will be ready for induction in two years, he said.

The DRDO chief described Agni V as a 5,000-km plus missile with a maximum range of 5,500-5,800 km.

He said there was no pressure at any time to understate the range.

"We have not understated the range. As a missile designer and a person also involved a lot in policy planning, (I can say) we as a nation don't have to hide anything with respect to our capabilities," Saraswat said.

China's state-run Global Times had reported that India cut Agni V's range from the original 9,000 km under NATO pressure. The daily also quoted a Chinese military researcher as saying the missile could actually hit targets 8,000 km away.

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