India is hurrying up the deployment of an advanced missile defence system to stave off threats from ballistic missiles at a time China’s arsenal is growing in sophistication and numbers.
Pursuing its ballistic missile defence (BMD) programme aggressively, the country will carry out at least eight more tests to knock out incoming missiles before the capability is ready for deployment by the end of 2016, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief Avinash Chander told HT.
The upcoming trials include five endo-atmospheric and three exo-atmospheric tests to destroy hostile missiles within and outside the earth’s atmosphere. The DRDO claims that the integration of the two intercept systems would result in a hit-to-kill probability of 99.8%.
The DRDO has so far carried out nine BMD tests, including a failed one to intercept a ballistic missile at an altitude of 120 km in April. Past tests have been successful at ranges of 80 km. India began working on its BMD programme 15 years ago.
With several missile projects in its kitty, the DRDO has stepped up efforts to set up missile testing ranges in Andhra Pradesh and Andaman and Nicobar Islands along the lines of the one at Balasore.
“Some environmental clearances are awaited. We need more ranges as the scope of missile work has gone up. By 2020, we hope to emerge as a one-stop shop for all types of missiles,” the DRDO chief said. Currently, India has a solitary missile testing range compared to China’s seven.