Balasore (Orissa): India on Sunday successfully test fired a ballistic missile interceptor from a defence base in Orissa as part of its endeavour to create a shield against incoming enemy missiles, officials said.

The 'hostile' target ballistic missile, a modified surface-to-surface 'Prithvi', was destroyed at an altitude of 16 km over the Bay of Bengal during the test firing,
Integrated Test Range (ITR) Director S P Dash said.

The target missile first lifted off from a mobile launcher around 0933 hours from the launch complex-3 of ITR at Chandipur-on-Sea, 15 km from here.

In less than three minutes, the interceptor, Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile positioned at Wheeler Island, about 70 km across sea from Chandipur, received signals from tracking radars installed along the coastline and ripped across at a speed of 4.5 Mach to destroy the 'hostile' missile.

"It was a fantastic launch. The trial, conducted from two launch sites of ITR off Orissa coast for developing a full-fledged multi-layer Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system, was fully successful," Dash said.

"Detailed results and the 'kill' effect of the interceptor were being ascertained by analysing data from multiple tracking sources," a Defence Research Development
(DRDO) scientist said soon after the trial.

The interceptor designed for endo-atmospheric condition (up to 30 km altitude) is a seven-meter-long and single-stage solid-rocket propelled guided missile, equipped
with an inertial navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator under command by the data uplinked from sophisticated ground based radars.

The interceptor designed for exo-atmospheric condition is a two-stage missile.

As a safety measure, the Balasore district administration had temporarily shifted 401 civilian families comprising a total of 3221 people, residing within two km radius of ITR launch pad-3 at Chandipur this morning to the nearby shelter centres.

This is for the sixth time that DRDO scientists were testing the interceptor missile.