In yet another step towards an operational two-tier ballistic missile defence-BMD system, India tested a low altitude interceptor missile to destroy an incoming ballistic missile over the Bay of Bengal. The DRDO had tested a high-altitude interceptor missile on February 11 as part of the experimental BMD system, which is designed to track and destroy ballistic missiles both inside (endo) and outside (exo) the earth's atmosphere for a higher “kill“ probability .
While last month's test involved the “exo-atmospheric“ interceptor missile hitting the target at an altitude of 97 km, the test-firing on Wednesday was against an incoming missile at 15 km altitude.
Defence officials said the interceptor missile fired from the Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast “successfully destroyed“ the incoming “enemy“ Prithvi missile, which was launched from the integrated test range at Chandipur, at 10.15 am.
The long-delayed BMD system will take at least another two years to become ready for deployment to protect a city or strategic installation. Development of this two-layered missile shield began in the late 1990s, with the first interceptor missile being tested in 2006. Only US, Russia, Israel and China have operational BMD systems as of now.