CHENNAI: Defence scientists in the country are set to raise the bar for excellence by trying to shoot down a missile at an altitude of 150 km later this year.
Defence scientists have been able to intercept a missile at an altitude of 80 km and are now planning to aim higher. “The trials are expected later this year,” Dr V K Saraswat, director general, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) told reporters on the sidelines of the 98th Indian Science Congress here. He said the DRDO scientists were also planning to raise the altitude for interception gradually to up to 300 km.
The DRDO-developed missile shield uses a system of long-range radars and long-range missiles to shoot down incoming enemy missiles. The system has been tested successfully three times since December 2006.
The Prithvi interceptor missile has been codenamed PDV, a two-stage rocket powered by solid propellants. Asked about the failure of the recent Agni-II Prime tests, Dr Saraswat blamed it on the quality of components procured from the industry. He said the defence scientists have recovered the entire hardware of the last month’s failed test of the Agni-II Prime missile and would soon come out with a detailed analysis of the event.
Dr Saraswat stressed on improving the quality of products it receives from the industry. He said the DRDO will now have to go beyond quality checks for the components it sources from the industry and ensure control on the quality of manufacturing processes. He said the DRDO has also decided to launch a commercial arm to market its technologies having civilian and paramilitary applications. He said DRDO has transferred technology for its products to around 15 firms and has earned
` 20 crore from the deals.
The DRDO chief said the organisation saw a business potential of up to ` 70 crore per year in meeting the demand of the paramilitary forces. The DRDO can customise some of the weapons used by army for the paramilitary forces, he said.