India has joined the group of elite nations like US, France and Israel by successfully test firing its indigenously built interceptor missile from Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast. The interceptor missile has been developed under the ballistic missile defense system. It was tested at an altitude of 16 km over Bay of Bengal. At first, a target was fired from launch complex-III of the integrated test range (ITR) situated on-sea in Balasore district. The ITR is located at a 70 kilometer distance from the Wheeler Island. Actually the target was a variant of Prithvi-II missile, earlier designed and developed by India.
The interceptor, Advanced Air Defense (AAD) missile was fired when India’s missile tracking system, comprising of long-range radars and other range sensors detected the threat of the incoming missile. The AAD missile went at a speed of 4.5 Mach and successfully blasted the target missile. Defense Minister A.K Antony warmly congratulated the group of scientists, involved in this project.
The administration had temporarily shifted 3221 people of 401 families, residing within the two kilometer distance from integrated test range for safety purpose. The people were kept in the shelter centers provided by the government.
This is for the sixth time, DRDO (Defense Research and Development organization) of Indian government has test fired interceptor missile. Barring the test in March 15, 2010, all the tests have remained successful.