Phased Development and Deployment
In the first phase, which is currently underway, DRDO will develop and deploy a system for defense against missiles with less than 2,000 km range like Pakistan's Ghauri and Shaheen missiles.
In the second phase, system capability will be upgraded to defend against missiles with ranges greater than 2,000 km that can additionally deploy decoys or maneuver.
Phase 1 system will be deployed within two years and Phase 2 system by 2016.
The Phase 2 system will require longer range radars (Detection range of 1,500km as opposed to 600 km for Phase 1 radars), and new hypersonic interceptor missiles flying at Mach 6-7 (As opposed to Mach 4-5 for Phase 1 missiles) with agility and the capability to discriminate against ballistic missile defence counter measures.
“Our effort is to have interception at very high altitudes, and the entire system will be able to handle multiple, simultaneous attacks,” Saraswat said.
Indian BMD program has a two-tiered system namely Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) for high altitude interception and Advanced Air Defence (AAD) for lower altitude interception. The PAD missiles are for intercepting ballistic missiles at altitudes between 50-80 km and the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile is for destroying them at heights ranging 15-30 km.
India\'s future plans include two new anti ballistic missiles that can intercept Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) namely Advanced Defence (AD-1 and AD-2) which would be capable of intercepting and destroying a missile at a range around 5,000 km.
Entities Involved in Development
Development of the anti-ballistic missile system began in 1999. Around 40 public and private companies were involved in the development of the systems. They include Bharat Electronics Ltd and Bharat Dynamics Ltd, Astra Microwave, ASL, Larsen & Toubro, Vem Technologies Private Limited and KelTech. Development of the LRTR and MFCR (Multi-function Fire Control Radar) was led by Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE).
Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) developed the mission control software for the AAD missile. Research Centre, Imarat (RCI) developed navigation, electromechanical actuation systems and the active radar seeker. Advanced System Laboratory (ASL) provided the motors, jet vanes and structures for the AAD and PAD. High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) supplied the propellants for the missile.
How It Works
The two-tiered BMD System consists of the PAD, which will intercept missiles at exo-atmospheric altitudes of 50–80 km (31–50 mi) and the AAD missile for interception at endo-atmospheric altitudes of up to 30 km. The deployed system would consist of many launch vehicles, radars, Launch Control Centers (LCC) and the Mission Control Center (MCC). All these are geographically distributed and connected by a secure communication network.
The MCC is the software intensive system of the ballistic missile defense system. It receives information from various sources such as radars and satellites which is then processed by ten computers which run simultaneously. The MCC is connected to all other elements of the defense through a WAN. MCC performs target classification, target assignment and kill assessment. It also acts as a decision support system for the commander. It can also decide the number of interceptors required for the target for an assured kill probability. After performing all these functions, the MCC assigns the target to the LCC of a launch battery. The LCC starts computing the time to launch the interceptor based upon information received from a radar based on the speed, altitude and flight path of the target. LCC prepares the missile for launch in real time and carries out ground guidance computation.
After the interceptor is launched, it is provided target information from the radar through a datalink. When the interceptors close onto the target missile, it activates the radar seeker to search for the target missile and guides itself to intercept the target. Multiple PAD and AAD interceptors can be launched against a target for high kill probability.
Phase 1 System Overview
The system will be based on radar technology for tracking and fire control which the DRDO developed jointly with Israel and France.
It will be implemented as a two tiered terminal phase interceptor system comprising of
1. Prithvi Air Defense (PAD) exo-atmospheric interceptor missile for intercepting targets outside the atmosphere.
2. Advanced Air Defense (AAD) endo-atmospheric interceptor missile for intercepting targets up to an attitude of 30 kms .
3. 'Swordfish' Long Range Tracking Radar (LRTR). The Swordfish LRTR has been developed jointly by India and Israel. It is based on the Israeli Green Pine early warning and fire control radar imported by India from Israel in 2001-2002.
The integrated exo and endo-atmospheric systems offer a hit-to-kill probability of 99.8 per cent.
Prithvi Air Defense
The Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) is an anti-ballistic missile developed to intercept incoming ballistic missiles outside of the atmosphere (exo-atmospheric). Based on the Prithvi missile, PAD is a two stage missile with a maximum interception altitude of 80 km. The first stage is a liquid fuelled motor while the second stage is solid fuelled. It has maneuver thrusters which can generate a lateral acceleration of more than 5 Gs at 50 km altitude. Guidance is provided by an inertial navigation system with mid-course updates from LRTR and active radar homing in the terminal phase. PAD has capability to engage the 300 to 2,000 km class of ballistic missiles at a speed of Mach 5.
LRTR is the target acquisition and fire control radar for the PAD missile. It is an active phased array radar having capability to track 200 targets at a range of 600 km. The PAD missile has also been called Pradyumna.
Further development led to the improvement of the interception range to the 80 to 50 km range. The improved missile will utilize a gimbaled directional warhead, a technology that until now has only been used by the US and Russia. This technology allows for a smaller warhead to destroy the target missile.
On March 6, 2009 DRDO carried out a second successful test of the PAD interceptor missile. The target used was ship launched Dhanush missile which followed the trajectory of a missile with range of a 1,500 km. The target was tracked by Swordfish (LRTR) radar and destroyed by the PAD at 75 km altitude.
PDV Interceptor Missile
In 2009, reports emerged of a new missile named the PDV. The PDV is said to be a two solid stage hypersonic anti-ballistic missile similar in class to the THAAD. The PDV is intended to replace the existing PAD in the PAD/AAD combination. It will have an IIR seeker for its kill vehicle as well. The PDV will replace the PAD with a far more capable missile and will complete the Phase 1 of the BMD system, allowing it to be operational by 2013. Whereupon Phase 2 development will take over for protection against missiles of the 5,000 km range class.
The PAD-1 missile is now being replaced with the PDV missile, which does away with the liquid fuel first stage and has two solid fuel stages.
The PDV will armed with a 'kill vehicle' which destroys the enemy missile and equipped with a innovative system to allow the missile to maneuver at altitudes approaching 30km, where the air is thinner.
The first trial of the missile is scheduled for late June or early July 2010.
"The PDV will be the mainstay of the defence shield," Dr Saraswat told India Today in June 2010.
Advanced Air Defense
Advanced Air Defence (AAD) is an anti-ballistic missile designed to intercept incoming ballistic missiles in the endo-atmosphere at an altitude of 30 km. AAD is single stage, solid fuelled missile. Guidance is similar to that of PAD: it has an inertial navigation system, midcourse updates from ground based radar and active radar homing in the terminal phase. It is 7.5 m tall, weighs around 1.2 tons and a diameter of less than 0.5 metres.
On 6 December 2007, AAD successfully intercepted a modified Prithvi-II missile acting as an incoming ballistic missile enemy target. The endo-atmospheric interception was carried out at an altitude of 15 km. The interceptor and all the elements performed in a copy book fashion validating the endo-atmospheric layer of the defense system.
Due to two successful interceptor missile tests carried out by India, the scientists have said that the AAD missile could be modified into a new extended range (up to 150 km) surface-to-air missile that could be possibly named as 'Ashvin'.
On 15 March 2010, AAD interceptor missile test failed. The AAD missile was to intercept the target at an altitude of 15 to 20 km over the sea. The target, a Prithvi missile, fired from a mobile launcher deviated from its trajectory after traveling about 11 km and fell into the sea.
On 26 July 2010, AAD was successfully test-fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler Island off the Orissa's east coast.
The endo-atmospheric interceptor AAD is a 7.5m long, single stage solid fueled missile, equipped with a ring laser gyro based inertial navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro- mechanical actuators totally under command by the data up-linked from the sophisticated ground based radars to the interceptor.
P-Charge Interceptor Warhead
The AAD interceptor is equipped with a P-charge [projectile charge] warhead that can penetrate thick steel and cause damage with a high hit [repeat hit] density.
"That means the number of holes you create per unit area is very high," a DROD official told the press in October, 2009.
Phase 2 System
Phase 2 Interceptor Missiles
The Phase 2 missile defense system will be based on the AD-1 and AD-2 interceptor missile that are currently under development.
Phase 2 interceptors will have speeds of 6-7 Mach and they will be hypersonic. Missiles will have lesser time to intercept. Guidance systems have to be far more energetic and quick responsive.
"Ground testing of the AD-1 will begin next year and the AD-1 missile will be test-fired in 2012," Saraswat told India Today in June 2010.
These interceptors would be capable of shooting down missiles that have ranges greater than 5,000 km, which follow a distinctly different trajectory than a missile with a range of 2,000 km or less. During their final phase, ICBMs hurtle towards their targets at speeds twice those of intermediate range missiles.
The Phase 2 system will match the capability of the THAAD or Terminal High Altitude Area Defence missiles deployed by the United States as part of its missile shield beginning this year. THAAD missiles can intercept ballistic missiles over 200 km away and track targets at ranges in excess of 1,000 km.
Phase 2 Radar
Unlike the Phase 1 Swordfish radar developed by India in partnership with Israel, the radar to support Phase 2 interception will have 80% indigenous component, DRDO chief VK Saraswat told the press on May 15, 2011.
"Only some of the equipments and consultancy would be provided by Israel," Saraswat said.
Floating Test Range for Phase 2 system
A floating test range is being developed for developing the Phase 2 system.
Scientists have started designing the ship and associated systems such as radar, mission control centre, launch control centre, communication network and many other equipment needed for phase-II trials, Sarsawat told the press.
A total of five successful test of the BMD system have been carried out: Two using the PAD exo-atmospheric interceptor and three using the AAD endo-atmospheric interceptor.
On March 6, 2006 a PAD missile successfully intercepted a modified Dhanush surface-to-surface missile fired from INS Rajput anchored inside the Bay of Bengal, towards Wheeler Island, simulating a target “enemy” missile with a range of 1,500 km.
On November 27, 2006 a PAD missile intercepted a Prithvi ballistic missile at 48 km altitude.
In December 2007 an AAD missile intercepted a target missile at an altitude of 15kms.
The interceptor used a 'gimbaled directional warhead' or a warhead only one side of which explodes close to an incoming ballistic missile, shattering it.
The Advanced Air Defense (AAD) interceptor has so far been successfully tested up to an altitude of 15 kms.
The interceptor will next engage an incoming target missile at 30 km to validate the efficacy of the missile in its entire endo-atmospheric envelope.
(Date in the video is misleading)
Fourth Test Aborted
A test of the AAD missile on March 15, 2010 at 10010 was aborted after the modified Prithvi (Dhanush) missile launched to simulate the target deviated from its flight path.
In the test, a Dhanush missile launched from a naval ship was be guided along a trajectory similar to that of an 1,500 km range Ghauri missile in its terminal phase zeroing in on the Wheeler Island, off Damra village on the Orissa coast. A PAD interceptor launched from Wheeler Island was to intercep the "enemy" missile with a hit to kill at 70-80 km.
In an explanatory statement, DRDO said:
"The target missile took off in normal way; at T+20 sec (approx) the target deviated due to some onboard system malfunction and could not maintain the intended trajectory, failing to attain the desired altitude profile. The Mission Control Centre computer found that the interception is not warranted as the deviated target did not present the incoming missile threat scenario and accordingly the system intelligently did not allow take-off of the interceptor missile for engaging the target. The cause of the target malfunction is being investigated by analysis of tele-metered data."
On March 18, after analyzing the telemetry and other data, DRDO scientists conclude they had figured out the reason for the failure.
The target missile reached an altitude of nearly 65 km and then spiralled down into the Bay of Bengal having travelled 27 km.
Fuel leak caused test failure
On April 11, 2010, DRDO Chief VK Sarsawat said:
“Analysis of the earlier trial revealed there was a leakage in the target missile leading to system failure. We are rectifying it to ensure the next flight test in June will hit the target and demonstrate our advance capability in developing the missile defence shield against any adversary missile attack.”
He was speaking at the sidelines of a national convention on 'The Frontiers of Aeronautical Technologies', organised by the Aeronautical Society of India in Bangalore..
A Prithvi target missile lifts off during a BMD test on July 26, 2010
A test of the AAD interceptor missile was conducted on Monday, July 26. The test was partially successful as the missile failed to score a direct hit.
A modified surface-to-surface Prithvi was launched from a mobile launcher at 10:05 am from launch complex-3 of ITR at Chandipur-on-sea.
The interceptor AAD missile, positioned at Wheeler Island, about 70 km across sea from Chandipur, engaged the target missile at an altitude of 15 km.
The warhead exploded within a few metres of the target missile releasing multiple bullet-like particles which hit and destroyed the target missile 26 seconds after its launch. The debris which fell into the sea was tracked by radars located along the coast.
The AAD missile for the first time used P-charge directional warhead.
A DRDO press release cryptically stated
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), today successfully conducted fourth consecutive Interceptor Missile test in Endo atmospheric regime at 15 Km altitude off ITR, Chandipur, Orissa. The single stage Interceptor Missile fitted with Directional Warhead and other advanced systems neutralized the target.
The target ballistic ‘enemy’ missile was launched from Launch Complex – III, ITR Chandipur. The Interceptor Missile fitted with directional warhead was launched from Wheeler Island and destroyed the Target Missile breaking it into fragments. This was tracked by various Radars and sensors. All weapon system elements including Command and Control, Communication and Radar performed satisfactorily.
AAD Interceptor missile test on Sunday, March 6, 2011.
An AAD interceptor missile armed with a P-charge directional warhead was successfully tested on Sunday, March 6, 2011.
A Target Missile mimicking an enemy Ballistic Missile with a 600-km range was launched from Launch Complex –III, ITR, Chandipur at 9.32 AM. The target missile climbed to an altitude of 120 km and began its downward trajectory.
The missile tracking network consisting of long range and multi function Radars and other Range sensors positioned at different locations detected and identified the incoming Missile threat.
The radars tracking the Ballistic Missile constructed the trajectory of the missile and continuous complex computations were done in real time by ground guidance computer to launch the interceptor at an exact time.
The fully automatic launch computer launched the interceptor at 9.37 AM and the onboard INS (Inertial Navigation System) and ground based Radars guided the interceptor to the target (incoming Ballistic Missile).
The Interceptor intercepted the Ballistic Missile at an altitude of 16 km and blasted the missile into pieces. It was a text book launch and all the events and mission sequence took place as expected.
The falling debris was tracked by various radars and sensors.
The test was witnessed by Scientific Advisor to Defense Minister V.K. Saraswat and other top DRDO officials.
Following the successful launch, Sarsawat told the press that after launch the interceptor maneuvered in the direction of the target; the maneuvered is referred to as the “least energy maneuver. In the terminal phase of the attacker's flight, as it was hurtling towards the earth, the interceptor's radio frequency seeker “acquired the target, rolled the interceptor in the right direction and, when it was a few meters from the target, gave the command to the directional warhead to explode,” Dr. Saraswat explained.
The warhead detonated, blasting the attacker to pieces. The ground-based radars and the sensors on board the targeted missile tracked the debris, which rained down over the Bay of Bengal, “confirming a very good kill,” the DRDO Director-General said. “Based on the data from the target, a 100 per cent kill was achieved.” The radars were located at Konark and Kendrapara, near Paradip, in Orissa.
It was earlier reported that the test would involve a maneuvering target missile. The report had quoted DRDO sources as saying it will be “a tricky mission” because the attacker would have a manoeuvrable trajectory and try to dodge the interceptor from homing in on it.
The test was earlier scheduled for for February 10, 2011.
DRDO had scheduled a test of its PDV Phase-1 endo-atmospheric 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 had said.
Boost Phase Missile Defense
The Laser and Science Technology Centre (LASTEC) is also reported to be developing lasers to takeout enemy missiles during their boost phase, when they are most vulnerable.
"It's easier to kill a missile in boost phase as it has not gained much speed and is easier to target. It cannot deploy any countermeasures and it is vulnerable at that time," DRDO's Air Defense Program Director V K Saraswat told PTI in January 2009.
"In LASTEC, we are developing many of these technologies. We have to package these technologies on aircraft like the Americans have done on their systems," he added.
"It is an involved process and not just about producing lasers. We have to put in many systems like the surveillance and tracking systems together for such a system to work. It will take another 10-15 years before we talk of integrating all these elements," he said.
A Boost Phase Missile defense system will need to rely on a space based launch detection system like the SBIRS satellite constellation being deployed by the US. Unlike the SBIRS, which is global in scope, India would require a more limited system to monitor Pakistan and China. India could also buy into the US SBIRS while developing its own limited constellation.
Satellite Kill Vehicle
ISRO is developing a satellite kill vehicle as part of its BMD system, according to DRDO Defense Research and Development Organization Director General V.K. Saraswat.
The hit-to-kill vehicle will use an imaging infra-red seeker and a 3-D laser image of a target satellite in low earth orbit to guide itself to impact.
No tests of the system have been scheduled so far.
"We are working to ensure space security and protect our satellites. At the same time we are also working on how to deny the enemy access to our space assets," Saraswat told newsmen at the Science Congress on January 4.
On February 10, DRDO chief V.K. Saraswat told the press that India’s BMD programme is more advanced than China’s.
“This (BMD) is one area where we are senior to China. We knew they had acquired the building blocks for BMD when they shot down a satellite in 2007. But we have been working on this programme since 1999.”