Advanced air defence missile fails to take off

Advanced air defence missile fails to take off

The test was held at the Wheelers Island missile testing centre located in Orissa’s Bhadrak district. According to sources in the Bhadrak district administration, a Prithvi medium range ballistic missile, which was used as an “enemy” or “hostile” missile, was blasted off from the Interim Test Range at Chandipur in the neighbouring Balasore district  around 10 am.

Minutes after the blasting off of the Prithvi missile, another interceptor missile was to be fired from the nearby Wheelers Island missile testing centre to hit the “enemy” missile over the Bay of Bengal.

However, the plan went haywire when the interceptor missile did not respond to the command and failed to take off from the launch pad. Sources at the Wheelers Island said the systems of the interceptor missile failed as the “enemy” Prithvi missile did not move in its designated path.

“According to preliminary assessment, lack of coordinated excercise between both missiles could have resulted in the failure of the test. A detailed analysis of what went wrong is being carried out,” sources said. The systems of both missiles were interlinked. Eyewitnesses told Deccan Herald that the people who were present at the ITR in Chandipur started clapping and congratulating one another as soon as Prithvi went up in the sky. However, disappointment surfaced in their faces soon after when they failed to trace the interceptor missile. The Prithvi missile nosedived into the Bay of Bengal after travelling just about 11 km.   

The interceptor missile test, popularly known as “missile versus missile” test, was originally scheduled to be carried out by the DRDO on Sunday morning. However, it was put off due to some “unavoidable technical snags.”

Commenting on Monday’s development, officials in the state government’s science and technology department here said the failed test should not be dubbed a major setback in the country’s missile development programme. “The test had been successfully conducted in the past. In fact, if my information is correct, the Monday’s test was the fourth. These things do happen,” insisted an official.

Security had been tightened at the ITR in Chandipur and  Wheelers Island for the missile test.  As a precautionary safety measure, 400-odd families from five villages located near the Chandipur ITR had been evacuated by the administration before the test. Arrangements had been made to house these villagers at temporary shelters.

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