India Test Fires its Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) Exo-Atmospheric Interceptor Missile

India has successfully conducted a test firing of its Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) exo-atmospheric interceptor missile off the Odisha coast on Sunday night, achieving a major milestone in its development of a two-layer Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system.

The interceptor, dubbed Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV), was launched from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) on the Abdul Kalam Island, earlier known as Wheeler Island, at about 8.05 pm. The target missile was reportedly launched from an Indian Navy ship.

“Both the PDV interceptor and the target missile were successfully engaged,” sources said.

In an automated operation, radar-based detection and tracking system detected and tracked the target ballistic missile. The computer network with the help of data received from radars predicted the trajectory of the incoming ballistic missile. The PDV that was kept fully ready took off once the computer system gave the command for lift-off.

The interceptor guided by high-accuracy Inertial Navigation System (INS) supported by a Redundant Micro Navigation System moved towards the estimated point of the interception. Once the missile crossed the atmosphere, the Heat Shield ejected and the IR Seeker dome opened to look at the target location as designated by the mission computer.

With the help of Inertial Guidance and IR Seeker the missile moved for interception. All events were monitored in real-time by the Telemetry/Range Stations, at various other locations.

Interceptor was successfully test fired last from the same base on February 11, 2017.

Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) is a two-stage solid-fueled exo-atmospheric interceptor missile developed by the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The PDV is designed to take out the target missile at altitudes above 150 km (93 mi) and is designed for intercepting missiles of the 5,000 km (3,100 mi) range class.

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 (exo-atmospheric) interception, and the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) Missile for lower altitude (endo-atmospheric) interception. The PDV will replace the PAD with a far more capable missile.

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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