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India a step closer to BMD shield to shoot down enemy missiles

India on Thursday took a major step towards an indigenous ballistic missile defence (BMD) shield by successfully testing the endo-atmospheric Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile in a multi-target scenario off the Odisha coast. The single stage solid rocket-propelled interceptor missile hit an incoming dummy 'enemy' missile at an altitude of 40 kilometres signalling that the test was a success.

This was the fifth test of the interceptor. The first four test firings took place on March 1, 2017, February 11, 2017, December 28, 2017 and July 14, 2018 respectively.

India is building a two-layered BMD shield, which will be capable of shooting down enemy missiles at a height of 20 to 40 kilometres after they re-enter the atmosphere.

Only the United States of America, Russia and Israel have been able to develop and deploy an indigenous BMD shield.

The target missile-- a Prithvi missile-- was launched from launch complex 3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur near here.

After getting signals by tracking radars, the interceptor AAD missile, positioned at Abdul Kalam Island --previously known as Wheeler Island -- in the Bay of Bengal, roared through its trajectory to destroy the hostile target missile in mid-air in an endo-atmospheric altitude, defence sources said.

The interceptor is a 7.5-meter long single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile equipped with a navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator, the sources said.

The state-of-the-art interceptor missile has its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking and homing capabilities and sophisticated radars.

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