Indian Missile Defense: Lower Atmosphere Interceptors To Be Developed By DRDO

INDIAN Missile Defense: Lower Atmosphere Interceptors To Be Developed By DRDO

Dated 2/12/2006

Buoyed by a successful missile interception in higher atmospheric zone, defence scientists are now planning to shoot down incoming warheads, much closer to ground, with a new missile named Pad.

The country's top Missile Scientist Vijay Kumar Saraswat told a press conference today that "within the next three to four months the DRDO is planning to carry out another missile interception in the endo-atmospheric zone" -- a pattern used by the Americans in the development of their Patriot PAC-III anti-missile shield.

"We have demonstrated the technology to defend against incoming ballistic missile threat," he said, but added it would take another three to four years to develop for the country a full-fledged anti-missile theatre shield.

Saraswat's announcement comes in the midst of recent criticism of the DRDO which has been accused of allowing "heavy time and cost overruns" in critical projects.

He admitted that the Pad was still a technology demonstrator and said it would need another half-a-dozen tests to validate it as a missile shield.

The scientist said in any future indigenous missile shields, India would have to have a mix of exo-atmospheric and endo-atmospheric interception capabilities to match short reaction threats.

He ruled out that India might opt out of trying to acquire either the American or Israeli anti-missile system saying "we are only at the beginning and at this stage co-development or outright acquisition cannot be counted of."

Saraswat is the Chief Controller of the country's missile programme and project director of the air defence missiles, whose team successfully carried out India's first ever surface-to-surface missile interception in the exo-atmospheric zone on November 27.