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Published on 27 Feb 2011 | over 5 years ago

Brief overview of India's missile defence capabilities:

1) SPYDER is a low-level quick-reaction surface-to-air missile system capable of engaging aircraft, helicopters, unmanned air vehicles, drones and precision-guided munitions. It provides air defence for fixed assets and for point and area defence for mobile forces in combat areas.

The SPYDER-SR system has 360° engagement capability and the missiles can be launched from the full-readiness state in less than five seconds from target confirmation. The kill range is from less than 1km to more than 15km and at altitudes from a minimum of 20m to a maximum of 9,000m. The system is capable of multi-target simultaneous engagement and also single, multiple and ripple firing, by day and night and in all weathers.

2) Akash is India's medium range surface-to-air missile defense system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. The missile can target aircraft up to 30 km away, at altitudes up to 18,000 m. Akash can be fired from both tracked and wheeled platforms. Akash is said to be capable of both conventional and nuclear warheads, with a reported payload of 60 kg. A nuclear warhead could potentially give the missile the capability to destroy both aircraft and warheads from ballistic missiles. The missile battery is described as being able to track and attack several targets simultaneously.

An Akash battery comprises four 3D phased array radars and four launchers with three missiles each, all of which are interlinked. Each radar is able to track 16 targets simultaneously and control a launcher with 3 missiles. Hence it is reported to be able to detect 100 and track 64 targets and simultaneously attack any 8 of those targets at one time. The Akash system is comparable to the Patriot system, but unlike the Patriot, Akash is fully mobile and capable of protecting a moving convoy of vehicles. Like the Patriot, the Akash is really an air defence SAM which has been tested in a ballistic missile role. The system provides air defence missile coverage of 2,000 km²

3) The Indian Ballistic Missile Defense Program is an initiative to develop and deploy a multi-layered ballistic missile defense system to protect India from ballistic missile attacks. Introduced in light of the ballistic missile threats from Pakistan and China, it is a double-tiered system consisting of two interceptor missiles, namely the Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) missile for high altitude interception, and the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) Missile for lower altitude interception. The two-tiered shield should be able to intercept any incoming missile launched 5,000 kilometers away.

PAD was tested in November 2006, followed by AAD in December 2007. With the test of the PAD missile, India became the fourth country to have successfully developed an Anti-ballistic missile system, after United States, Russia and Israel. On March 6, 2009, India again successfully tested its missile defense shield, during which an incoming "enemy" missile was intercepted at an altitude of 75 km.

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