The successful test-firing of Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) interceptor on Saturday stunned hostile nations as India achieved full ability to secure the country’s skies. The PDV interceptor fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at 7.45 am met all mission objectives. Defence analysts say India crossed an important milestone in building an arsenal of anti-ballistic missile interceptors.

A ballistic missile flies in the outer atmosphere and falls toward its target by gravitational pull. The PDV interceptor can target missiles approaching from over 2,000 km away. Its radar-based detection and tracking system can automatically spot and track the enemy’s ballistic missile, and its computer systems can predict the trajectory of the incoming missile.

After developing variants of missiles, including the intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear capable Agni 5, India is consolidating its armoury of missile interceptors — both endo-atmosphere and exo-atmosphere variants.

Endo-atmosphere interceptors can hit targets at an altitude of 40 km above sea level. Exo-atmosphere interceptors can destroy enemy missiles 50 km above sea level, or in the outer atmosphere.

On May 15, 2016, India successfully test-fired indigenously developed supersonic Advanced Air Defence interceptor missile from Abdul Kalam Island, off Odisha coast, achieving a milestone in the ballistic missile defence system mission.