, July 26 (IANS) India Monday successfully tested for the fourth consecutive time a ballistic missile interceptor from a defence base in Orissa as part of its endeavour to create an impregnable shield against incoming enemy missiles, defence sources said.
The indigenous interceptor was fired from Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast near Dhamra in Bhadrak district, about 170 km from state capital Bhubaneswar.
It successfully destroyed an incoming ballistic missile - a variant of the Prithvi II that lifted off from Launch Complex-III of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea in Balasore district, about 70 km from Wheeler Island across the sea.
The single stage interceptor, fitted with a directional warhead and other advanced systems, neutralized the target at an altitude of 15 km in the endo-atmosphere (upto a height of 30 km).
'It was a very successful flight. The interceptor destroyed the target,' S.P. Dash, the director of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, told IANS.
The interceptor missile was fired few minutes after the target missile was fired. The interceptor neutralized the target missile, breaking it into fragments.
This was tracked by various radars and sensors. All weapon system elements including command and control, communication and radar performed satisfactorily, he said.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony spoke to Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) chief V.K. Sarswat over the phone and congratulated the scientists for the successful test.
The test was witnessed by several scientists and defence officials. They included DRDO chief Saraswat, Director of the Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), Hyderabad Avinash Chandar and Chief Controller (DRDO) K. Shekhar.
DRDO is developing a twin shield defence - the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) system for endo-atmospheric interception and the Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) missile for exo-atmospheric (50-80 km) interception.
India plans to deploy the first phase of the defence shield by 2012 after completing a series of trials and evaluating their target range.