India bolsters ballistic missile defense as target-intercept mission succeeds

India has successfully launched its first anti-ballistic missile, a milestone in the development of a two-layer missile defense system, military sources said.

The successful test followed a failed attempt in February last year. It was carried out at Abdul Kalam Island on Sunday, officials from the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) said.

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An S-400 launcher during a parade in Moscow. © Evgeny Biyatov

The exo-atmospheric Prithvi Defense Vehicle (PDV) missiles are intended to intercept any incoming projectile from outside the atmosphere. The targets can be intercepted at 50km above Earth’s atmosphere.

“Both the PDV interceptor and the target missile were successfully engaged,” DRDO sources said about the operation, which took place at India’s Integrated Test Range (ITR) facility.

The target was intercepted thanks to an automated operation, which involved radar-based detection and tracking systems.

Radar data sent to computer networks allowed operators to predict the course of the target missile.

The operation’s successful outcome paves the way for the development of India’s two-layer Ballistic Defense Missile (BDM) system. Only a small number of countries have such capacity: the US, Russia, China, Israel and France.

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