Finally, India is readying for the much awaited maiden test of its high altitude ‘killer’ interceptor missile, code named ‘PDV’. The newly developed missile is likely to be test fired from a defence base off Odisha coast on April 27.
Indigenously developed by DRDO, this state-of-the-art Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) that fires at supersonic speed has the potential to kill the enemy missile with a strike range of around 2,500 km outside the earth’s atmosphere (at an altitude of nearly 150 km).
Defence sources said preparation was underway in both the locations of Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur and Wheeler Island for the first ever test of high altitude Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system which involves two missiles - one interceptor and another target missile, mimicking the enemy weapon.
“Both the missiles have been developed by the DRDO for the first time. While the target missile, a modified version of Prithvi Air Defence (PAD), is planned to be test fired from a Naval warship off the Paradip coast, the interceptor missile will be launched from the launching complex-IV of the Wheeler Island,” said a defence official.
Earlier, the DRDO had successfully test fired both exo-atmospheric (outside the atmosphere) and endo-atmospheric (within the atmosphere) interceptor ballistic missiles. Of seven interceptor missile tests, six have been successful.
While two were in exo-atmosphere region (above an altitude of 50 km), five took place in endo-atmosphere (below an altitude of 50 km).
“The PAD interceptor missile has already demonstrated its killing capability at an altitude of 50 km and 80 km while the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile has destroyed the target missile at an altitude of 15 km to 30 km. Now the target is to achieve the interception at an altitude of 120 km to 150 km,” said the official.
The two-stage PDV interceptor will be powered by solid propellants and is fitted with an innovative system for controlling the vehicle at an altitude of more than 150 km.
The enemy missile is also a two-stage missile and it is planned that the interceptor would destroy the warhead portion of this enemy missile.
A scientist associated with the PDV project told ‘The Express’ that the focus was to achieve the killing precision at the highest altitude with the help of an advanced software for which the DRDO is expected to achieve a direct hit-to-kill on the target missile.
“After the enemy missile is fired from the warship, the imaging infrared seeker in the new interceptor missile with an attitude control mechanism would first detect the incoming missile and give command to launch the killer vehicle. The entire process from detection to interception will be fully automated,” he informed