India has developed a missile defense shield, which can be put in place at short notice to protect at least two cities, bringing the country on a par with an elite group of nations. The shield, developed by the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), has been tested successfully and an incoming ballistic missile with the range of up to 2,000 km can be destroyed. The system is to be upgraded to the range of 5,000 km by 2016. “The ballistic missile defense (BMD) shield is now mature…We are ready to put phase one in place and it can be put in very short time,” DRDO chief V.K. Saraswat told PTI here in an interview.
He said the shield, as part of phase one of the programme, can be put in place at two places in the country, where the infrastructure is available.
However, the two places have not yet been identified and the selection will be made at the political level.
The DRDO used variants of Prithvi missiles as simulated targets and successfully intercepted missiles in test-firings.
“We have carried out six successful launches and demonstrated the capability for 2,000 km targets…We have demonstrated it in two layers that is endo-atmospheric [inside the earth's atmosphere] and exo-atmospheric [outside the earth's atmosphere],” Mr. Saraswat said.
All the elements, such as long-range radars and tracking devices, real-time data link and mission control system required for the missile system had been “realized” successfully.
Under the phase two, the premier defence research agency would upgrade the system to handle ballistic missiles with range of 5,000 km. This phase is expected to be ready by 2016.
The system required for phase-II “is being developed,” he said adding that for this purpose, ships were being built from where the target missiles would be launched.
Talking about the advancement of the system, he said the missile defence shield has been “automated” to an extent where human intervention would be required only if the mission has to be aborted. The DRDO chief said the missile defence system is comparable with the U.S. Patriot 3 system, which was successfully used during the 1990 Gulf War against Iraq.