India on Saturday successfully carried out the maiden flight trial of an endo-atmospheric interceptor missile from a ship off the coast of Odisha in the Bay of Bengal as part of its ambitious ballistic missile defence programme.
The defence ministry said the purpose of the trial of the sea-based missile on Friday was to engage and neutralise a hostile ballistic missile threat, thereby elevating India into an elite club of nations having such a capability.
The BMDs are capable of intercepting incoming long-range nuclear missiles and hostile aircraft including AWACS (airborne warning and control systems).
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the Indian Navy and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the successful demonstration of the capabilities of the ship-based ballistic missile defence (BMD) system.
"The DRDO and the Indian Navy successfully conducted a maiden flight trial of sea-based endo-atmospheric interceptor missile off the coast of Odisha in the Bay of Bengal on April 21," the ministry said in a statement.
It said the DRDO has already successfully demonstrated the capabilities of land-based BMD system to neutralise ballistic missile threats, emerging from adversaries.
"The purpose of the trial was to engage and neutralize a hostile ballistic missile threat thereby elevating India into the elite club of nations having naval BMD capability," it said.
Purpose behind making such missiles
India has been developing capabilities to intercept hostile ballistic missiles both inside and outside the earth's atmospheric limits.
The endo-atmospheric missiles are the ones that operate within the earth's atmosphere that covers an altitude below 100 kilometers. The exo-atmospheric missiles are capable of completing missions in the upper-most region of the earth's atmosphere, according to experts.
The range of the missile defence system tested on Friday is not immediately known.
In November, India successfully conducted the maiden flight-test of phase-II ballistic missile defence interceptor AD-1 that is capable of engaging many different types of targets.
The AD-1 is a long-range interceptor missile designed for both "low exo-atmospheric" and "endo-atmospheric" interception of long-range ballistic missiles as well as aircraft.
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