New Delhi: In a major boost to India’s defence capabilities, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Navy conducted their maiden flight trial of a sea-based endo-atmospheric interceptor missile on April 22.
“The successful trial was conducted off the coast of Odisha in the Bay of Bengal… The purpose of the trial was to engage and neutralize a hostile ballistic missile threat thereby elevating India into the elite club of nations having naval ballistic missile defence (BMD) capability,” stated a defence ministry release.
DRDO had earlier demonstrated land-based BMD systems successfully with the capability to neutralize ballistic missile threats emerging from adversaries. These tests have demonstrated the ability to detect, track, engage and shoot down ballistic missiles of the Prithvi-class.
The interceptor missile, which is classified as an anti-ballistic missile (ABM), is designed to counter other short and intermediate range ballistic missiles from short and intermediate ranges and also intercontinental ballistic missiles launched from a different country. Called the Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) system, this is an anti-ballistic missile system that has been developed to intercept incoming ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere (exo-atmospheric). Based on the Prithvi missile, PAD is a two-stage missile with a maximum interception altitude of 80 km (50 mi).
The US Navy too has demonstrated a sophisticated BMD capability with its Aegis-class destroyers, which form the backbone of its warship fleet. These warships deploy the Aegis Combat System, which is an integrated naval weapons system that is produced by Lockheed Martin. Initially used by the United States Navy (USN), Aegis systems are now used also by the Japanese, Spanish, Norwegian, Korean and Australian navies. The Royal Canadian Navy also plans to use the Aegis system. As of 2022, a total of 110 Aegis-equipped ships have been deployed, and 71 more are planned. Aegis BMD capabilities are being developed as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) missile defence system.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the DRDO, Indian Navy and industries involved in successful demonstration of ship based BMD capabilities. Secretary DDR&D and Chairman DRDO Dr Samir V Kamat complimented the teams involved in the design and development of the missile. He said that nation has achieved self-reliance in developing highly-complex network-centric anti-ballistic missile systems.