To speed up its efforts to build a missile defence shield, India will next week test an interceptor with capabilities to destroy enemy missiles in and outside the atmosphere.
"This interceptor missile has the capability to intercept an in-coming enemy missile at 40-km altitude and it can carry a warhead weighing 25 kg," a top Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) scientist said in New Delhi on Thursday.
If the test is successful, India will get into an elite league of nations with indigenous capabilities to intedict enemy missiles in both endo-(less than 30-km) and exo-atmospheric (above 40-km) altitudes.
This will be the second time that Indian defence scientists will attempt to intercept an incoming target at altitudes above 40 kms.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientists had first carried out such a test in 2006 and last December when they successfully intercepted a ballistic missile in endo-atmospheric altitudes.
The long range anti-missile missile would equip India with capacities that could be put to use in protecting populated areas and vital installations such as nuclear plants, oil and gas wells, airports and seaports.
Provided with a radar system to track incoming enemy missiles, the anti-missile interceptor missile would get automatically activated and could within seconds destroy the enemy missile.