An untold story: How India got its missile defense

Discussion in 'Strategic Forces' started by bhramos, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    There was scepticism on November 27, 2006, when the Ministry of Defence (MoD) made a surprise announcement. In a secret test off the Orissa coast, a missile launched by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had hit and destroyed a simulated incoming enemy ballistic missile while it was 78 km above the Bay of Bengal, still outside the earth’s atmosphere.

    A year later, on December 6, 2007, the MoD declared a second test successful, when an incoming ballistic missile was shot down inside the atmosphere, some 15 km above the earth. This was high-technology success; no more than six or seven countries have anti-ballistic missile (ABM) capability.

    Unlike the shrill promises that accompanied the Trishul and Akash anti-aircraft missiles, the ABM programme was kept secret, even from close watchers of the DRDO.

    Now, Business Standard has been granted exclusive access to the ABM missile production facilities in Hyderabad, and told the story of how the programme evolved.

    It began in 1995, after India learned that Pakistan had obtained the M-9 and M-11 ballistic missiles from China. India already had its own nuclear deterrent in place; the Prithvi missile was ready, and the Agni was being tested.

    But Pakistan was considered unpredictable and, in 1996, the MoD asked its Scientific Advisor APJ Abdul Kalam whether India could quickly develop protection against an incoming Pakistani ballistic missile.

    Kalam was already overseeing the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP); he began feasibility studies on an ABM programme as well. The DRDO’s first challenge was to develop a radar, which could pick up enemy ballistic missiles being launched from up to 300 km away.

    The longest range Indian radar was the Rajendra, with a range of 60 km, and there simply wasn’t the time to develop a long-range radar from scratch. The only option was foreign collaboration. Kalam put one of his top scientists, VK Saraswat, in charge.

    Saraswat recounts Russia was approached first, but the conditions in Russia — with defence R&D at an all time low — made the DRDO reject that option. It was then that the Israeli ABM programme — the Arrow-1, based upon the long-range Green Pine radar — caught the DRDO’s eye.

    A delegation was sent to Israel, but it was turned down because the Green Pine radar incorporated US technology. But Israel did agree to collaborate with India in building a Long Range Tracking Radar (LRTR).

    Also needed for the system was a guidance radar, to track the incoming enemy missile. The Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (a DRDO laboratory), explains Saraswat, has developed that radar in collaboration with a French company, Thales.

    With the radar problems solved, government sanction was obtained in 1998 to develop an ABM system; the ability to defend against an enemy nuclear strike is believed to undermine deterrence.

    But the project remained secret, because an ABM system is controversial. Besides that, says Saraswat, India’s nuclear tests that year had tightened international sanctions.

    “We were having collaboration with these two countries, but the times were not good. We faced severe sanctions in 1998 and, if we talked too much about it, the cooperation could have dried up. That was the main concern.”

    But while the radars were a collaborative effort, the interceptor missiles were developed entirely by the DRDO, say the scientists. So were the mission control centre and the launch control centre, which are the nerve centre of the system.

    The DRDO says the programme has now reached maturity, and that international sanctions cannot hurt it. There is also a degree of self-confidence in the DRDO, which allows it to acknowledge the role played by other countries. International collaboration is no longer a bad word.

    Broadsword: An untold story: how India got its missile defence
     
    Tronic, sayareakd, Dovah and 9 others like this.
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  3. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight New Member

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    Awosommmeeee truly i like it..........
     
  4. agentperry

    agentperry Senior Member Senior Member

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    its not the only project that was hid from world. atv, Indian nuclear bomb are few other examples. prahar and sagarika are yet another missile system that are pretty much secret except the fact that they were successfully tested
     
  5. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    Good article :)
     
  6. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    So it becomes known that France developed the Tracking and Acquisition radar. We all knew Israel developed the Early Warning but the French role had been hidden well.
     
  7. addiction

    addiction Regular Member

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    If we had sent the delegation to Israel seeking their cooperation then that information must ve reached to US...so it was not a TOP secret project as such but yes we have done quite well so far in the area of ABM...good job India....looking forward to its induction into service as most of our keys projects are doing well only in test ranges or in news since many years ...inlcuding LCA.,LCA MK2, Kaveri, Arjun MK2, MCA,MTA, PakFa, MRCA, SLBM, INS Vikramadiyta, Scorpean, ATV etc etc..
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  8. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    Kudos to India- Israel- France- Russia friendship..
     
  9. johnnyboy

    johnnyboy Regular Member

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    Good article... hope ABM system gets inducted soon... atleast this will make Pakis think twice before blackmailing.
     
  10. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    not necessary. Israelis are good businessmen and will keep business secrets, well secret.
     
  11. GUNS-N- ROSES

    GUNS-N- ROSES Regular Member

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    israelis know how to keep secret. besides no matter how close the relationship each country indulges in spying on the other. it might be fascinating for u to know that Israel undertakes spying mission inside US companies and state/treasury department.
     

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