India’s First Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Test on Feb. 12 Failed: Reports, DRDO Refutes Claim

India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) had carried out its first Anti-Satellite (ASAT) test on February 12 against a low-earth orbit satellite and it failed, The Diplomat reported citing U.S. government sources.

The report said that the United States observed a failed Indian anti-satellite intercept test attempt in February, according to U.S. government sources with knowledge of military intelligence assessments. The solid-fueled interceptor missile used during that test “failed after about 30 seconds of flight,” the report cited one source.

Official sources in the DRDO — which is supposed to carry out an ASAT test — refuted this claim, saying, “There was no ASAT test on February 12.”

The test reportedly took place from Abdul Kalam Island off the eastern coast and is believed to have been India’s first-ever attempt at using a direct-ascent, hit-to-kill interceptor to destroy a satellite—a feat that was completed successfully last month.

On March 27, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that DRDO has successfully tested its first ASAT missile against a live satellite in the Low-Earth Orbit (LEO).  The test was dubbed “Mission Shakti”.

During the test, a DRDO-developed Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) Interceptor Missile – called the Prithvi Defence Vehicle Mk II (PDV-II) – was launched at around 11:16am on Wednesday from the DRDO’s testing range on the Dr. Abdul Kalam Island (formerly known as Wheeler Island), an island off the coast of Odisha state located in eastern India. The interceptor then engaged an Indian orbiting target satellite – Microsat-R – in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) at an altitude of 300km in a ‘Hit to Kill’ mode. The interceptor missile was a three-stage missile with two solid rocket boosters.

The entire test, with confirmation of target elimination, reportedly took 3 minutes. Tracking data from range sensors has confirmed that the mission met all its objectives, said an Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) statement released following the announcement. The government statement following the test didn’t said said anything about the previous test.

In the aftermath of the test, U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) began tracking more than 200 debris objects, The Diplomat report added. India has claimed that it expects all debris from the March 27 test to burn up in the earth’s atmosphere in 45 days.

With the test, India joined an elite club of nations capable of destroying a satellite with a missile launched from the ground. Only three nations — the United States, Russia and China — have earlier demonstrated this capability.

%d bloggers like this: