In its ongoing effort to construct a reliable ballistic missile defense (BMD) system, India has successfully tested a sea-based interceptor missile that can destroy an oncoming nuclear ballistic missile.
Off the coast of Odisha in the Bay of Bengal, the DRDO and Navy tested an “endo-atmospheric interceptor missile” from a warship on Friday. The defense ministry said on Saturday that the trial’s goal was to “engage and neutralize a hostile ballistic missile threat,” which would “elevate India into the elite club of nations having naval BMD capability.”
After successfully displaying ship-based BMD capabilities, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh complimented the DRDO, the Navy, and its business partners. In turn, the head of the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), Dr. Samir V. Kamat, boasted that “the nation has achieved self-reliance in developing highly complex network-centric anti-ballistic missile systems.”
According to TOI’s reporting, the DRDO has completed a series of tests for a land-based two-tier BMD that is intended to detect and destroy nuclear ballistic missiles both inside (endo) and outside (exo) the earth’s atmosphere at altitudes ranging from 15-25 km to 80-100 km for “a higher kill probability.”
This is the first time an electronic target has been used in a test of a terminal endo-atmospheric interceptor launched from a ship. Of course, further testing is required, including with exo-atmospheric interceptors, the person stated.
Expanding the defense of crucial locations and installations necessitates a land-based BMD system and a transportable sea-based counterpart. Such systems with long-range radars and sensors to identify, track, and destroy hostile missiles will be installed on the next generation of destroyers or dedicated BMD warships,” he added.
The United States has around fifty Aegis BMD systems deployed aboard ships, providing multi-tiered air and missile defense against all missile threats, from medium- to long-range.
However, India has a long way to go. DRDO has finished Phase-I of the land-based BMD’s development for quite some time. However, the system has not yet been completely deployed for operational use.
For Phase II of the BMD system, the DRDO conducted tests of a new flexible long-range interceptor missile named AD-1 in November of last year. The AD-1 is a two-stage solid-motor-powered interceptor designed to take down long-range ballistic missiles and slow-moving aircraft like AWACS (airborne warning and control systems).
Phase-I of the BMD system was supposed to deal with hostile missiles with a strike range of 2,000 kilometers, with interceptors flying at 4.5 Mach supersonic speeds. Phase II, in turn, is meant to counter missiles in the 5,000 km range class.
Only a select few nations, including the United States, Russia, Israel, and China, have fully functional BMD systems, which include an interlocking network of early-warning and tracking sensors, dependable command and control stations, and land and sea-based batteries of powerful interceptor missiles.