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India Successfully Test-Fires Supersonic Interceptor Missile

India successfully test-fired Sunday its indigenously developed Advanced Air Defence (AAD) supersonic interceptor missile from an Abdul Kalam Island launch complex in Balasore.

The advanced version of low-altitude supersonic ballistic interceptor missile was fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) off the Odisha coast against the naval version of Prithvi missile, which was launched off a ship anchored on the Bay of Bengal.

The launch was done at about 11:15 a.m., with the interceptor roaring through trajectory and annihilating the hostile missile mid-air.

“The ‘kill’ effect of the interceptor was ascertained by analysing data from multiple tracking sources,” revealed ITR director Binay Kumar Das, asserting that the interceptor missile capably destroys any hostile ballistic missile crossing its path.

In what is perhaps the last in a series of developmental trials, the interceptor named Ashwin was launched almost three minutes after the target – which pretended to be an enemy missile – was fired from its host warship. Sources in the defense department said the tracking systems picked up the target, tracked it, and commanded the interceptor’s launch.

The successful launch marked the 12th time that the missile was test-fired. The missile, first tested back in 2006, failed to hit its target three times.

The interceptor – a 25-feet-tall, 1.2-ton (2,400 pounds) single-stage solid fuel rocket – boasts of high-tech on-board computers, navigation system, and electro-mechanical activator, to name a few. The target missile, on the other hand, is fueled by liquid propellants, stands 36 feet, and weighs 5 tons (10,000 pounds).

The Indian Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has produced high- and low-altitude anti-ballistic missiles, with the recent tests proving significant as the country seeks to deploy a two-layered Ballistic Missile Defence shield to fight attacks in its cities and vital installations.

While the initial stage seeks to attack incoming enemy missiles outside the atmospheric region, the second stage aims to kill hostile missiles of over 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) in range inside the atmosphere.

India was recently ranked sixth among the top military spenders in the world, allocating $51.3 billion to military expenditure in 2015.

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