India successfully test-fires AAD anti-ballistic missile interceptor

India’s homegrown Advanced Area Defence (AAD) supersonic interceptor missile successfully destroyed an incoming ballistic missile target at an altitude of 15 km over the Bay of Bengal, on Dec. 28.

The endo-atmospheric AAD interceptor missile fired from the Abdul Kalam Island (formerly known as Wheeler Island) off Odisha coast achieved a direct hit on the target (a modified Prithvi ballistic missile), which was launched from the launching complex – III of the Integrated Test Range (ITR).

“The radar of the defense system detected the incoming missile, tracked it and provided the command to launch the interceptor missile. The mission was brilliant as the interceptor missile achieved a direct hit, paving the way for its early deployment in the armed forces”  The Indian Express reported citing a defense official.

Advanced Air Defence (AAD) is an anti-ballistic missile designed to intercept incoming ballistic missiles in the endo-atmosphere at an altitude of 30 km (19 mi). AAD is a single-stage, solid-fuelled missile.

Guidance system has an inertial navigation system (INS), midcourse updates from ground based radar and active radar homing in the terminal phase. It is 7.5 m (25 ft) tall, weighs around 1.2 t (1.2 long tons; 1.3 short tons) and a diameter of less than 0.5 m (1 ft 8 in).

On 6 December 2007, AAD successfully intercepted a modified Prithvi-II missile acting as an incoming ballistic missile enemy target. The endo-atmospheric interception was carried out at an altitude of 15 km (9.3 mi).

Indian BMD Programme

The Indian Ballistic Missile Defence Programme is an initiative to develop and deploy a multi-layered ballistic missile defence (BMD) system to protect from ballistic missile attacks.

Introduced in light of the ballistic missile threat from mainly Pakistan, it is a double-tiered system consisting of two land and sea-based interceptor missiles, namely the Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) missile for high altitude interception, and the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) Missile for lower altitude interception.

The two-tiered shield should be able to intercept any incoming missile launched from 5,000 kilometres away. The system also includes an overlapping network of early warning and tracking radars, as well as command and control (C2) posts.

The PAD was tested in November 2006, followed by the AAD in December 2007. With the test of the PAD missile, India became the fourth country to have successfully developed an anti-ballistic missile system, after United States, Russia, and Israel. The system has undergone several tests but system is yet to be officially commissioned.

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