India will Friday test launch its indigenous interceptor missile that will destroy an incoming ballistic "enemy" missile at an altitude of 80 km and will provide defence against Pakistani and Chinese missiles, an official said.
"All the preparations have been made and all the scientists are working to make the test successful," a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) official said.
The test, to be conducted at Wheeler's Island off the coast of Orissa, will establish the credible missile defence against Paksitan's Hatf and Ghauri missiles. The first test of the interceptor missile was conducted in 2006.
"During the test an 'enemy' missile which will be a modified version of the Dhanush surface-to-surface missile will will be fired from a naval ship in the Bay of Bengal and simulate the terminal phase of the flight of a ballistic missile with a range of 1,500 km, similar to Pakistan's Ghauri missile," the official said.
"As the incoming missile nears Wheeler Island, a Prithvi air defence missile will be launched to intercept it at an altitude of about 80 km and kill it," the official added.
DRDO needs to carry out at least three to four trials with both versions before the missile shield is certified for operational use.
"The test will mark the completion of the first phase of the programme and it will secure operational clearance by 2012-13," the official added.
On Dec 6, 2007, DRDO had for the second time successfully tested an endo-atmospheric - below 30 km altitude - version of the ballistic missile defence shield. The missile aims to protect populated areas and vital installations like nuclear power stations and oil wells.
The missile shield will have highly sensitive radars to track incoming missiles. The guidance system would ensure that the interceptor collides with the incoming missile within a matter of seconds, thereby saving vital targets from destruction.
Baptised as the Prithvi Air Defence system, the agile interceptor has now been renamed Pradyumna.
DRDO says its missile system is comparable to the Israeli Arrow system and the American Patriot system, both of whose manufacturers are courting the Indian defence establishment for possible orders.
DRDO expects ballistic missile shield to take care of threats from existing Chinese and Pakistani missiles. While Pakistan possesses missiles with ranges between 400 and 2,000 km, the Chinese arsenal varies from a range of 300 km to 2,800 km.