New Delhi: In a boost to India’s deterrence capabilities, the phase one of the ambitious Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) programme has been completed and a formal nod for the deployment of active missiles is expected soon, top sources told ThePrint.
Phase one of the programme will cover Delhi and Mumbai, and guard them against incoming ballistic missiles.
“The phase one of the Ballistic Missile Defence programme has been completed. We have deployed two indigenous long-range radars as part of the programme. As and when we get an all-clear from the government, the specific missiles will be deployed,” a top source in the defence establishment told ThePrint.
Sources also said adequate arrangements have been made to ensure that missiles were produced in the required manner.
Asked by when the permission for the deployment of missiles is expected, another top source said, “soon” without getting into any time line.
‘Radars have higher range and capability’
Sources said the two radars that have been deployed are completely indigenous.
It was in the mid-2000s that India got Swordfish from Israel. The Swordfish is an active electronically scanned array (AESA) long-range tracking radar, specifically built to counter ballistic missile threat.
This radar is a derivative of the Israeli Green Pine long-range radar, which is the critical component of its arrow missile defence system. However, Swordfish uses a number of indigenous systems.
“After Swordfish, we have managed to make two indigenous radars with higher range and capability,” a defence source said.
India’s Ballistic Missile Defence programme was launched in 1999 in the wake of Pakistan’s maiden nuclear test in 1998 and China’s leaps in this sphere.
BMD works on two levels — endo-atmospheric (within Earth’s atmosphere) and exo-atmospheric (the space stretching beyond the Earth’s atmosphere).
While phase one deals with destroying incoming missiles at endo-atmospheric level, phase two deals with the same in exo-atmospheric level.
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 reportedly intercepted a missile at an altitude of 100 km during trials.
The first missile test for a BMD system was conducted in November 2006, when a Prithvi-II missile was successfully intercepted by the PAD in the endo-atmospheric level at an altitude of about 48 km.
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