NEW DELHI: From the first test of Agni-V in a fortnight, an operational submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) by 2013 and a missile shield for Delhi by 2014 to combat drones, quick-launch micro satellites and Star Wars-like laser weapons in the coming years, DRDO promises to deliver on all fronts.
Defence Research and Development Organization, with its 51 labs, of course, often makes tall claims only to consistently overshoot timelines and cost estimates. But DRDO chief Dr V K Saraswat on Saturday, at the ongoing ” DefExpo-2012″ here, was all gung-ho about the tactical and strategic weapon systems in the pipeline.
For starters,India’s most-ambitious nuclear missile, Agni-V, which classifies as an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) with a strike range of over 5,000-km, will be tested in mid-April, he said.India will break into the exclusive ICBM club that counts just US,Russia,China, France and UK as its members, once Agni-V is ready for induction by 2014-2015. The missile is crucial for India’s nuclear deterrence posture since its strike envelope will be able to cover the whole of China.
Concurrently, said Saraswat, “The K-15 SLBM is now getting ready for the final phase of induction after its two recent tests were successful.” The 750-km-range K-15 will arm India’s homegrown nuclear submarines.
As for the two-tier ballistic missile defence system, designed to track and destroy incoming hostile missiles , Saraswat said its Phase-I would be completed by 2013 and Phase-II by 2016. DRDO is now also focusing on “space security”, with special emphasis on protecting the country’s space assets from electronic, or physical destruction by “direct-ascent” missiles, in the backdrop of China developing advanced ASAT (anti-satellite) capabilities.
Work is also in progress to develop several directed energy weapons , including a 25-kilowatt laser system to destroy incoming missiles in their terminal stage and a 100-kilowatt solid-state laser system to take out missiles in their boost phase itself.