We will also be inducting the PAD and AAD, collectively referred to as Pradyumna and Ashwin anti-ballistic missile air defence systems, said an official from the Defence Ministry .


One of the greatest threats facing India today is the increasing proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction in the region. India’s nuclear-armed bellicose neighbours, namely China and Pakistan, have significant cruise and ballistic missile capabilities. China and North Korea continue to proliferate on a wide scale and could increase in the long run as the technology is transferred. A rogue nation like Pakistan make these investments because ballistic missiles provides it with the means to project power both in a regional and strategic context and a capability to launch an attack on India from a distance. However, there are several reasons to doubt that Pakistan will ever launch a ballistic missile at India. Perhaps the most important relates to attribution – a missile launch could be easily detected, and retaliation would be swift and brutal at least as far as the purpose of the Modi government in Delhi is concerned.


India has initiated a demonstrable indigenous capability in Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence development, a step to predominantly protect India from enemy ballistic missile attacks. The Advanced Air Defence (AAD) "Ashwin" Missile defence technology being developed, tested by DRDO is designed to counter ballistic missiles of varying ranges namely short, medium, intermediate and long. Since ballistic missiles have different ranges, speeds, size and performance characteristics, the AAD system has an integrated, “layered” architecture that provides multiple opportunities to destroy missiles and their warheads before they can reach their targets. Due to a realistic threat perception from its chief adversaries Pakistan and China, the need for a comprehensive and convincing protective cover became imperative.

Experts also believe that an effective missile defence infrastructure will provide India space for limited wars against China and Pakistan. China is superior in its ballistic missiles force level while on the other hand Pakistan's ritual flaunting of its nuclear capability and a belligerent 'First Use' policy has left India but with no choice to develop a deterring shield to defuse such a dangerous situation. The program consists of a two-tiered architecture consisting of the Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) missile for Exo-atmospheric (Outside the atmospheric regime) interception and the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) Missile for Endo-atmospheric (within the atmospheric regime) interception. The two-tier system is intended to intercept ballistic missiles at distances of over 600 km. In the Phase-1 Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) program development, interceptors fly at 4.5 Mach supersonic speeds to tackle hostile missiles with a 2,000 km strike range. The Phase-2 BMD program will intercept Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) with 5,000 plus Km range with interceptors flying at Mach 6-7 hypersonic speeds. The third and the final layer is planned to tackle low-flying cruise missiles, artillery projectiles and rockets in line with the overall aim to achieve “near 100% kill or interception probability”. 
India is now only the fourth country after Russia, Israel, and the US to have successfully tested a BMD system. This is a remarkable achievement considering that only five countries have demonstrated this capability
The deployed system will consist of multiple launch vehicles, support equipment such as the indigenous "Swordfish" Long Range Tracking Radar, Launch Control Centres (LCC) and the Master Mission Control Centre (MCC). These systems will be geographically distributed evenly to cover vulnerable locations such as metropolises, defence industries, defence bases, command and control centres, nuclear forces, weapons stations and vital economic zones etc., and will be connected by a sophisticated secure communication network.


Testing must account for the ever-changing ballistic missile threat scenarios and the latest technological developments. Ground and flight tests should provide data for highly advanced modelling and simulation activities that allows the scientists to measure and predict the performance of all missile defence technologies. Successful and foolproof flight tests in multiple simulated modes can impart greater confidence in the system’s capabilities. Because of the exorbitantly high costs, it would at best be able to provide protection to only a small number of its high-value politico-strategic assets, considered to be vital for the Nation’s survival. But, contrary to some critics, the very issue of national survival makes it mandatory for India to acquire BMD capabilities, given the policies of two nuclear armed irritants in our neighbourhood. As India sees it, any delay in developing countermeasures like BMD will result in a technology gap that may not close as easily as it opens, leaving India at a long-term disadvantage. The disclosure by MoD of inducting the high-technology sophisticated system bodes well for India's national security and survival. (With reporting by DRDO, The Pioneer & DRDO Missiles and Strategic Systems)

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