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Science and Technology Notes: India’s Ballistic Missile Defence System

Last Updated - February 28, 2017

IAS

The anti-ballistic missile defence is an attempt to develop and to use a multi-layered system to guard them against any nuclear weapon attack. It began in 1999 after the Kargil war. The government of India seeks to deploy a functional Iron drome, incorporating both low and high altitude interceptor missiles. It is primarily developed by DRDO. This paper focuses on the compulsions and threat perceptions that make India’s missile defence programme.

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What are Ballistic missiles?

A ballistic missile is one that follows “ballistic trajectory’. It is the path followed by projectile after thrust forces stop with the objective of delivering warheads to a destine target. It is only guided during a brief period of flights. The air resistance and gravity governed most of its trajectory in the atmosphere and is unpowered.

Advantages of Ballistic Missile

Indian’s Ballistic missile are highly fuel efficient. The fuel requirements are during the initial phase and during course measures. Ballistic missiles pay load carrying capacity is more than cruise missiles due to fuel efficiency. These missiles have very long range, experience less drag and earth’s rotation.


What is the Ballistic Missile Defence system (BMD)?

It is the missile defence system that acts as a shield against ballistic missile attacks. It is two-tier automates system which has the advance radar system, integrated command and control center, sensors system, interceptor missile batteries etc.

BMD is being developed in two phases:

  1. To develop a shield to block missile with a range upto 2000 KMs. The first phase radar range is upto 600 KMs.
  2. The second phase will have intercept missile with 5000 Km range and it would be 1500 km.

A ballistic missile can be blocked in three phases:

  1. The terminal phase occurs during the atmospheric descent phase.
  2. Mid-course interception is the most preferred interception.
  3. In lift off-phase, they targeting at launch point and it requires advance radars.

Configurations of BMD

There are five possible configurations of BMD as mentioned below:

  • A land and sea-based defence system against all kind of threats. This system is expensive and requires technological and infrastructural development.
  • BMD is deployed to protect critical population control, critical infrastructure centers and major economic zones. It is economically more pragmatic than first configuration.
  • The protection is provided to command and control center, nuclear forces and citizen population centers.
  • Ballistic Missile will provide protection to command and control centers, nuclear forces and the capital. This is the most suitable candidate considering the inceptive stage of India’s BMD and also a weak financial condition of the nation.
  • This configuration would involve BMD deployment around command and control center. Its purpose is only for total defence.

Two Tier of India’s Ballistic Missile Defence System

There are two missiles in this system such as Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) and Advanced Air Defence (AAD). Here are the complete details of both missiles as mentioned below:

Prithvi Air Defence – It also referred as Pradyumna Ballistic Missile Interceptor. It is designed for high altitude interception between 50 to 80 km. It has two stage both with solid propellants.

Advanced Air Defence – It is also known as Ashwin Ballistic Missile Interceptor. It is used for altitude interception. It’s range up to 30 km. It has single stage solid fuelled missile.

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Why Should India need BMD?

The government of India follows ‘No First Policy’. BMD provides an opportunity to the country to strike back if a nuclear projectile is launched by any opposition nation. India has hostile nuclear states in its north. BMD reduces the incentive for the enemy state to launch a nuclear attack and enhancing strategic stability. BMD would shield for non-state factors initiated missile warfare and could avoid mutual destruction trap. There are side benefits of BMD like detection, tracking and situation awareness.


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