Amid China and Pakistan tensions, India to expedite PRITHVI Air Defence (PAD) development

India is likely to expedite the installation process of its Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system, aimed at protecting its important cities, vital installations and critical assets from being targeted by missiles from hostile nations. 

India’s BMD programme is structured as a two-layered missile defence system consisting of two land and sea-based interceptor missiles, namely the PRITHVI Air Defence (PAD) missile for high altitude interception and the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile for interception at low altitude. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which has developed the system and the Indian Air Force (IAF), which has carried out the tests, have submitted a final induction strategy to the government.

“All tests and trials carried out so far have been successful, including the radars and missiles,” a DRDO official said. The first BMD will be installed in the national capital, New Delhi, and the second one could be in the financial capital Mumbai, the official notes. 

DRDO had earlier stated that the first phase of the BMD shield would be ready by 2013 to protect New Delhi from hostile missiles with a 2000 km range. It had also said that by 2016, the second phase would be operational with the capability to kill hostile missiles within a 5000 km range.

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The AAD system is a single-stage, solid-fuel missile named ASHVIN, designed to intercept incoming endo-atmospheric ballistic missiles at an altitude of 20-40 km. The interceptor is 7.5 m tall, weighs around 1.2 tonnes and has a diameter of less than 0.5 m, using guidance similar to that of PAD, with an inertial navigation system, mid-course updates from ground-based radar and active radar homing in the terminal phase.

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