India’s Advanced Air Defense Interceptor

India has successfully test fired its indigenously designed and built Advanced Air Defense (AAD)/ Ashvin Advanced Defense interceptor missile on Abdul Kalam Island, home to the Indian military’s principal missile test facility, the Integrated Test Range, off the coast of Odisha in the Bay of Bengal on December 28, according to local media reports.

This was the third supersonic interceptor test carried out in 2017. Other tests were conducted on March 1 and February 11. The last successful AAD interception test took place in May 2016.

According to sources within the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), the Indian Ministry of Defense’s (MoD) research and development wing which oversaw the December 28 test, the AAD interceptor destroyed an incoming Prithvi ballistic missile within 30 kilometres of the earth atmosphere.

The single stage solid rocket-propelled AAD/Ashin interceptor missile is part of India’s planned two-layered ballistic missile defence (BMD) system and is designed to shoot down incoming enemy missiles in the endo-atmosphere at altitudes of 20-40 kilometres. AAD missiles are terminal phase interceptors capable of intercepting missiles after they re-enter the earth’s atmosphere.

Both PAD and PDV are designed for a mid-course interception. The AAD missile interceptor features an inertial navigation system with mid-course radar updates and active radar homing in the terminal phase. It can reach top speeds of up to Mach 4.5.

India’s homegrown BMD system can purportedly intercept medium-range ballistic missiles travelling at speeds of Mach 3 to 8. Israel, Russia, and the United States are the only three countries to have successfully developed and built an indigenous ballistic missile defence system.

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