A test of India’s ballistic missile defence capabilities failed on Monday when an incoming Prithvi, simulating a hostile missile, veered off course and plunged into the Bay of Bengal seconds after being launched from a mobile launcher.
The advanced air defence (AAD) interceptor missile did not get the required command for lift-off as the target swerved off-track due to an onboard system malfunction.
The Mission Control Centre computer found that the interception was not warranted, as the deviated target did not present the incoming missile threat scenario, a Defence Research And Development Organisation (DRDO) official said.
“The system intelligently did not allow take-off of the interceptor missile for engaging the target.” The DRDO began work on ballistic missile defence more than a decade ago. It is developing endo-atmospheric and exo-atmospheric systems to destroy incoming hostile missiles within and outside the atmospheric limits. The two systems are to be integrated for a multi-layered defence against ballistic missiles.
The failed endo-atmospheric test was to be followed by an exo-atmospheric one leading to an integrated test.
The cause of the target malfunction is being investigated by analysis of tele-metered data.