FOR THE first time, India will fire two Prithvi-II missiles from different points off the Orissa coast and have them collide on Sunday. The mission is to test the interception efficacy and the air-defence capability of the indigenous missile.
At the Prithvi Air Defence Exercise conducted by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the first missile will be launched at 10 a.m. from Launching Complex–3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur. Five seconds later, another missile will be launched from Inner Wheeler Island, 60 km from Chandipur. The second missile has to intercept the first.
Missile-interception tests have been done before, but only using a dummy as a target. This is the first live test to be carried out.
“If the missiles strike each other with perfect alignment in the air, we will have accomplished our objective," said a DRDO source. “We want to test how accurate is the programming of the missile.”
Hectic preparations are on at Chandipur. Unless the weather plays spoilsport or there are some last-minute problems, the test will be conducted as scheduled.
After the missiles strike each other, they are expected to fall into the sea. As a precaution, however, more than 2,500 people residing near the Chandipur ITR will be evacuated, just in case some of the missile debris falls on land.