Monday, April 14, 2014

DRDO Plans Test of New Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Exo-atmospheric Interceptor

AAD (endo-atmospheric) Interceptor Missile test on March 6, 2011

DRDO will test its the new PDV interceptor missile on April 27, or April 28, 2014 according to The Hindu.

The BMD Phase 1 PDV interceptor will engage a target enemy missile as its warhead separates from the booster to re-enter the earth's atmosphere at an altitude of 125-140  km. The test will demonstrate the PDV interceptor's ability to discriminate between the harmless booster and the potent warhead, destroying the later with a hit-to-kill strike.

The two stage all solid fueled PDV replaces the two stage solid and liquid fueled PAD missile as the exo-atmospheric interceptor of BMD Phase-1 system.

The  PDV uses a dual mode (IR and active radar) seeker. In comparison, the PAD interceptor uses inertial navigation with mid-course correction from 'Swordfish' Long Range Tracking Radar (LRTR). In its terminal phase, PAD switches to active radar homing.

The PDV retains the PAD interceptor's maneuvering gimbaled directional warhead that can rotate 360 degrees to explode towards the incoming missile in order to destroy. Because it is directional, the 30 kg interceptor warhead is able to generate an impact equivalent to a 150 kg omni-directional warhead.

With a liquid fueled second stage, PAD isn't a viable missile defense interceptor, since it requires fueling before launch, delaying interception. Not surprisingly, the missile has been tested just two times so far, that too in the initial phases of BMD development - On March 6, 2006 and November 27, 2006. The PAD was likely intended to be a technology demonstrator / stop gap missile.

The all solid fueled PDV is capable of immediate launch. It is designed to intercept enemy missiles at altitudes upto 150 km, ensuring that the enemy warhead debris burns up in the atmosphere, causing no ground contamination. The missile is equipped with a innovative system to facilitate maneuvering well outside the earth's atmosphere where aerodynamic surfaces are completely ineffective.

During the upcoming test, a modified PAD launched from a Navy ship will fly the trajectory of a 2,000 km range "enemy" missile. The new PDV interceptor, launched from a Navy ship, will attempt hit-to-kill destruction of the target missile.

Tortured Development

Development of PDV has taken DRDO much longer than planned.

The first trial of the missile was initially scheduled for late June or early July 2010.

DRDO next scheduled a test of the interceptor missile in end June - early July 2011.

"We will have a test in end June or early July and are calling this new missile the PDV and it will have two solid stages," Dr Saraswat said.

On February 14, 2012, DRDO Chief VK Saraswat told  Express News Service that the missile would be tested by the end of 2012.

“If every thing goes as per the plan, the new missile that can also carry the directional warhead would be test-fired by the year-end,” Saraswat said.

In May 2013, DRDO Chief VK Saraswat told The Hindu that the next test of the BMD would take place in July 2013. It would involve a PDV missile and demonstrate an interception at an altitude of 100-150 km

The Hindu reported on September 30, 2013 that DRDO plans the debut test of PDV missile in the last week of November 2013.

IDP Sentinel members can read more about India's Ballistic Missile Defense Project at the link below.

Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System (IDP Sentinel)

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