Interceptor missile test non-starter as target deviates
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Last Updated: Tuesday, March 16, 2010, 00:21
Zeenews Bureau

Balasore (Orissa): India's new Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile, capable of destroying hostile missiles, on Monday encountered coordination problem and failed to take off during a planned launch from the Integrated Test Range at Wheeler Island off Orissa coast.

The new Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile that was to be fired from the test range here to intercept the target was ready and all set.

But when the target, a Prithvi missile, deviated from its trajectory and fell into the sea, the computerised control mission noticed the unwarranted change of flight path of the incoming and called off the launch of the interceptor, a senior DRDO official said in New Delhi.

The Prithvi missile, fired at 1002 hours from a mobile launcher from the Integrated Test Range Complex-3 at Chandipur-on-Sea, 15 km from here, deviated from its trajectory after travelling about 11 km and fell into the sea, defence sources said.

Consequently, the hypersonic endo-atmospheric missile, being developed to destroy hostile ballistic missiles, did not get the required command for take off from Wheeler Island, about 70 km across the sea from Chandipur, they said.

"Coordinated exercise between target missile Prithvi from Chandipur and the indigenously built interceptor from Wheeler Island could not take place properly during the planned trial," defence sources said.

The trial, part of efforts to develop a full fledged multi-layer Ballistic Missile Defence System, was earlier scheduled for Sunday but was postponed to today following some technical snags in the sub-system.

The test-fire was carried out from two different launch sites of ITR. The target missile first lifted off from a mobile launcher from the ITR's launch complex at Chandipur-on-sea.

As per plan, the interceptor missile was to blast off from the Wheeler's Island within minutes of the launch of the target to intercept it at an altitude of 15 to 20 km in mid-air over the waters.

But, as per reports, the Prthivi target missile, following its launch at 10.02 am followed the course for 11 kms and then unexpectedly deviated from its trajectory, due to which the interceptor missile radars did not get activated towards the potential threat and hence the interceptor did not take off in pursuit of the target.

The seven metre AAD interceptor is a single stage solid rocket-propelled guided missile equipped with an inertial navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator totally under command by the data uplinked from the ground based radar, they said.

The missile has its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking and homing capabilities and its own radar.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had already test-fired the interceptor missile thrice on November 27, 2006, December 6, 2007 and March 6, 2009 from the Wheeler Island.

Sources in Chandipur said scientists were analysing data to ascertain the reason behind the deviation of the Prithvi missile from its pre-designated trajectory.

The DRDO official said, "The cause of the target malfunction is being investigated by analysis of tele-metered data."

The trial, aimed at developing a multi-layer tactical Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system, was originally scheduled to be held yesterday from the two sites of the ITR, but had to be put off due to technical snag in a sub-system at Wheeler Island.

-Agencies' inputs

First Published: Tuesday, March 16, 2010, 00:21

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