Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Ashwin Advanced Air Defence (AAD)

The interceptor is in the form of a 7.5 meter-long single-stage rocket propelled guided missile that is equipped with a navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator. It is capable of noting the location of the hostile objects with the help of tracking radars. The system is part of double-tiered missile defense system that India’s military hopes will provide a multi-layered defense system against any potential ballistic missile strike.

The ring laser gyro-based navigation system in target, fibre optic gyro-based inertial navigation system (INS) in interceptor, onboard computers, guidance systems, actuation systems and the critical radio frequency (RF) seekers are used for the terminal phase. The AAD missile system, initially guided by INS, continuously got update of the target's position by the radar through a data link. The RF seeker tracked the target missile and onboard computer of the AAD middile guided it towards the target missile. The radio proximity fuse of the AAD missile exploded the warhead thereby destroying the target missile completely.

The supersonic low-altitude missile weighs around 1.2 tonnes, stands 7.5 meters tall and has a diameter of under 0.5 meters. The missile comes with an inbuilt navigator, an advanced computer and an electro-mechanical activator. The technology within the missile is encrypted using a secure data link independent tracking and homing capabilities and sophisticated radars.

As for an ABM shield, DRDO director general and scientific adviser to the defence minister V.K. Saraswat said that as of April 2013 DRDO had conducted four endo-atmospheric (within the atmosphere) and two exo-atmosphere (outside the atmosphere) missile interception tests and that all six had been successful. "We certainly need more tests but we can say we have been successful in developing this capability." He said that DRDO is a technology developer and essentially, it is up to the industry - public and private - to build systems for the users, that is, the armed forces.

The Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile, and fired on 23 November 2012, was in fact a hit-to-kill test. So far, DRDO had mostly been working on proximity, near-miss or zero-miss acquisition of targets. With these systems, an ABM missile blows itself up some nine metres from its targets. From now on, the effort will be to develop the hit-to-kill capability by directly impacting hostile targets. DRDO had been able to develop key RF (radio frequency) seeker technologies for missiles in cooperation with Russia, and that in the last missile test, the seeker used was made in India. Digital processing in any case is based on DRDO's own software.

India is hurrying up the deployment of an advanced missile defence system to stave off threats from ballistic missiles at a time China’s arsenal is growing in sophistication and numbers. Pursuing its ballistic missile defence (BMD) program, the country planned to carry out at least eight more tests to knock out incoming missiles before the capability is ready for deployment by the end of 2016, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief Avinash Chander told Hindustan Times in September 2014. The upcoming trials include five endo-atmospheric and three exo-atmospheric tests to destroy hostile missiles within and outside the earth’s atmosphere. The DRDO claimed that the integration of the two intercept systems would result in a hit-to-kill probability of 99.8% [and if you believe that, I have some land in Florida I would like to sell you].

  1. Defence Research and Development Organisation carried out the first test in the endo-atmospheric region at 15 kms using Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile on December 6, 2007. A modified Prithvi missile was the enemy target, lifting off from the integrated test range at Chandipur-on-sea for the advanced air defence missile test on December 06, 2007.

  2. The Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile failed to take off during a planned launch from the Integrated Test Range at Wheeler Island off Orissa coast due to some coordination problem on 15 March 2010. The interceptor missile failed to take off as Prithvi, the target missile, was test-fired from a mobile launcher at Chandipur, he said.Preliminary analysis suggested that the target missile might have deviated from its stipulated trajectory, leading to lack of proper coordination.

  3. An indigenous Advanced Air Defence (AAD) Ballistic Missile Interceptor was successfully tested from a defence base in Odisha on April 6, 2012 . This Test was a part of India’s attempts to create a shield itself against entering enemy missiles. The Ballistic Missile Interceptor was fired from Wheeler Island off the coast near Dhamra in Bhadrak district, about 170 km from Bubneshwar and it was successful in demolishing an entering ballistic missile - a modified variant of the Prithvi fired from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur-on-sea in Balasore district, about 70 km from Wheeler Island. The interceptor right away hit the target and destroyed it.

  4. DRDO successfully tested indigenously developed advanced air defence (AAD) interceptor missile from the Wheeler’s island, off the coast Odisha, on 23 November 2012. The interceptor missile successfully destroyed the incoming ballistic missile at an altitude of 15 km. The target missile, a modified version of Prithvi, mimicking the enemy’s ballistic missile, was launched from Launch Complex III, Chandipur. Long-range traction and multifunction radars, located far away, detected the missile from take-off and tracked it through its entire path. The trajectory of the incoming missile was continuously estimated by the guidance computer. Subsequently AAD missile was launched at an appropriate time to counter and kill the incoming ballistic missile.

    The test successfully demonstrated a special feature of intercepting multiple targets with multiple interceptors. An electronic target with a range of 1500 km was launched. Radars picked up and tracked the target missile and subsequently launched an electronic interceptor missile. The electronic interceptor missile destroyed the electronic target missile at an altitude of 120 km. All the four missiles were tracked by the radars and the guidance and launch computers in full operational mode for handling multiple targets with multiple interceptor. The four missiles were in the sky simultaneously and the interceptions too took place near simultaneously. The test has proved the capability of DRDO to handle multiple targets with multiple interceptors simultaneously. The complete radar systems, communication networks, launch computers, target update systems, and state-of-the-art avionics were successfully proven in this mission.

    Dr VK Saraswat, Scientific Advisor to Raksha Mantri (SA to RM), Secretary Defence R&D and DG DRDO, congratulated all the DRDO scientists for this successful demonstration of the air defence capabilities. Distinguished Scientists and Chief Controllers of DRDO, Shri Avinash Chander, Shri SS Sundaram, Shri Sundaresh, and Shri MVKV Prasad, Director ITR and other top scientists of DRDO were present during the test. The whole operations were carried out under the guidance of Shri Adalat Ali, Programme Director AD. Hon'able Defence Minister Shri AK Antony lauded the DRDO scientists for this spectacular achievement.

  5. India’s Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile on 27 April 2014 "successfully intercepted" an incoming surface-to-surface ballistic missile fired from a ship off the coast in the Bay of Bengal. "The test was successful," test range director M.V.K.V. Prasad told IANS. "It is the first time that we have successfully conducted the test of an exo-atmospheric interceptor," he said. But the warhead in the interceptor failed to explode, although the interception of the incoming “enemy" missile took place at an altitude of 120 km.

  6. In April 2015, a similar mission failed after the interceptor dived into the Bay of Bengal a few seconds after lift off. In that mission, the DRDO planned to conduct the test against an electronic target missile. In April 2014.

  7. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile, Ashwin, was tested 15 May 2016 on the newly named Abdul Kalam Island located in the Balashore district off the Odisha coast. This was the 12th test in the series to develop interceptor missiles. An agency report on May 16 said a modified Prithvi missile was launched on May 15 from a naval ship in the Bay of Bengal and it mimicked the trajectory of a missile coming from an enemy country. The Hindu reported May 23, 2016 that the interceptor missile mission, which took place on May 15, was a failure, despite claims of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to the contrary. The interceptor never took off to intercept the incoming “enemy" missile which merely fell into the Bay of Bengal.

    Informed sources, however, said the interceptor missile never took off from the island; so no interception took place at all. “Post-flight analysis is going on. We do not know whether there was problem in detecting the missile, whether radars tracked it and communicated it to the interceptor," said the sources.

Prior to the test on 15 May 2016 the DRDO had conducted 11 tests out of which 9 were successful, by one count. Other counts include fewer successes. The newly tested missile was tasked with intercepting another ballistic missile from a long range. After the successful test, India became the fourth country in the world to have full-fledged multi-layer Ballistic Missile Defence system. With only United States, Russia and Israel are in the same league. The new supersonic missile interceptor will soon become a part of the Indian Army's arsenal of world class weaponry.

Pakistan reacted with “serious concerns" to archrival India’s recent test-firing of an anti-ballistic missile system and nuclear-armed submarine-based missiles in the Indian Ocean. These developments “are now leading to nuclearization of Indian Ocean" and Pakistan will take “all necessary measures" to defend its borders, foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz told the national parliament on 19 May 2016.

“The deployment of these nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed missiles in the Indian Ocean will not only upset the strategic balance in South Asia, but will also affect the maritime security of all the 32 littoral states around the Indian Ocean," Aziz said. He added that Pakistan is not “oblivious" to its defense needs and will have to “upgrade its defensive capabilities through suitable technologies."

“The development of an anti-ballistic missile system may give India a false sense of security, leading to unexpected complications," Aziz said, warning that Pakistan’s efforts for peace and friendship with India must not be interpreted as a sign of weakness.

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