Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) Interceptor missile being launched by DRDO in A-SAT missile test, Odisha | PTI
A file photo of Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) Interceptor missile being launched by DRDO in A-SAT missile test in Odisha last year | PTI
Text Size:

New Delhi: Days after India successfully conducted an anti-satellite missile test (A-SAT), joining an elite league of four nations to have this capability, a controversy has now broken out over a missile trial that the country had carried out on 12 February.

In a report published on 30 March, The Diplomat, an online magazine based out of Tokyo, has claimed that the test India had conducted on 12 February was an A-SAT one that had failed within 30 seconds.

The report, quoting US government sources, claimed this was, in fact, India’s first attempt to destroy a satellite in low-earth orbit. To buttress its claim, the report states that India had issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) directive, between 10 February and 12 February, demarcating “a restriction zone off the eastern coast of India that matches the restriction zone described in another NOTAM” ahead of 27 March, when India successfully carried out the A-SAT test.

Top sources in the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the government, however, told ThePrint that the activity in February was one of a Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) test, which they add was successful.

They referred to media reports in February that had provided details of the test.

“The test conducted on 12 February was a BMD one and it was successful. It was not an A-SAT test,” a top DRDO source told ThePrint. “The target was electronic but the missile used was a real one and hence NOTAM was issued like in all other tests, where an actual missile is fired.”

The BMD is an indigenously developed missile capable of destroying enemy weapons at high altitude.

We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.

Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.


Also readNASA is not the final word on space debris from A-SAT, says former DRDO chief Saraswat

More tests in the offing

Sources in the DRDO told ThePrint that more such BMD tests would be conducted in the coming months as the organisation is working on two-layered aerial protection for major cities and vital installations against incoming ballistic missiles.

India’s BMD arsenal consists of a Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) missile to take out incoming missiles at a range of about 80 km in altitude and an Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile for altitudes of 15-25 km.

In 2017, India had tested a new exo-atmospheric interceptor missile named the Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV), which is believed to have intercepted a missile at an altitude of 100 km during trials.

Also read: NASA slams A-SAT test for leaving debris in space, increasing risk factor for space station


Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it

You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.

You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.

We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.

At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.

This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.

If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.

Support Our Journalism

Share Your Views


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here