Bhubaneswar: India on Sunday successfully tested a ballistic missile interceptor from a defence base in Orissa as part of its endeavour to create a shield against incoming enemy missiles, an official said.
The indigenous interceptor `Ballistic Missile Defence System` was fired from Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast near Dhamra in Bhadrak district, about 170 km from here at 9.37 am.
It successfully destroyed an incoming ballistic missile - a variant of the Prithvi II - fired from the launch complex III of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur on sea in Balasore district, about 70 km away from Wheeler Island across the sea.
The interceptor was fired five minutes after the target missile was fired.
SP Dash, director of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, said the test was tracked by various radars and sensors. All weapon system elements, including command and control, communication and radar, performed satisfactorily, he said.
"It was a fantastic mission. It successfully hit the target. The interceptor intercepted the ballistic missile and blasted it into pieces," Dash said.
"It was a textbook launch and all the events and mission sequence took place as expected. It was a major milestone in the history of Ballistic Missile Defence Programme of the country," he said.
Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said the endo-atmospheric interceptor missile hit the target missile at an altitude of about 16 km. The test was witnessed by several scientists and defence officials.
Defence Minister AK Antony has congratulated the defence scientists involved in the project for Sunday`s success.
VK Saraswat, the scientific advisor to the defence minister, who was present during the launch operations, congratulated all the DRDO scientists and staff.
"It was a major milestone in the history of Ballistic Missile Defence Programme of the country," he said.