Adding to its defensive missile capability, India announced that it had tested an interceptor missile successfully to destroy an incoming Prithivi-II and claiming to have “acquired the capability of air
defense against the incoming ballistic missile threat.”
Tested off Orissa, the interceptor launched from Wheeler Island about 70 kilometers from the launch site of the “incoming” missile launched from Chandipore, hit the target mid-flight and destroyed it over the Bay of Bengal . Praising the achievement as a “significant milestone,” Scientific Adviser to the Defense Minister M. Natarajan said that “There was a lot of not only hardware but also software” that were “custom-built for this mission” and the
Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has “validated” the data to confirm a complete success.
DRDO sources say that they tracked the missile launched at 10:15 am at the Mission Control Center and transmitted the trajectory and speed information to the Launch Control Center for launching the interceptor which took off a few seconds later. The incoming missile was a modified Prithivi-II missile to simulate an enemy missile. The interceptor, merely called AXO, was similar to the Prithivi but apparently had a completely new second stage which had an inertial navigation guidance system that is used mid-course in flight and an active seeker-guidance system in the final phase to ambush the incoming missile. The onboard seeker guidance uses a radar to guide its path. The interceptor has a response time of only 30 seconds and can target incoming missiles thousands of kilometers away as it is “supersonic, highly
maneuverable” and is launched from a custom-built “mobile launcher.”
Defense ministry officials say that the AXO is in a “different class” from the US Patriot PAC-III missiles or the Israeli Arrow missiles but it is not clear if it meant to say that the this missile is meant for different uses. But the AXO is clearly targeted for use against the Pakistan missile system that it brandishes frequently under a threat of nuclear war to justify its terror campaign.