Anti-Missile System

Anti-Missile System

This article deals with the ‘Anti-Missile System.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Indian Ballistic Missile Defence  (IBMD) System  / Anti Missile System / Air Defence System

  • IMBD is an Anti-Missile System or Missile Defence System.
  • It is an initiative to protect Indian cities from Ballistic Missile attacks.
  • It was proposed in the mid-1990s by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.
  • The functioning of the Anti-Missile System is explained in the infographic below. 
Anti-Missile System

Side Topic: Iron Dome System of Israel

IBMD System is just like the Iron Dome of Israel. Israel faces a large number of short-range rocket attacks from Gaza. Hence, they have installed Anti Missile System to protect important cities like Tel Aviv from such attacks. It is the most effective system with a success rate of up to 90% (very high).

Iron Dome System of Israel

Side Topic: THAAD System

  • US has installed THAAD System in South Korea after the threat of Missile attacks by North Korea. 
  • THAAD is also an Anti-Missile / Ballistic Missile Defence System.


Indian System

India’s IBMD System is double-tiered, consisting of two interceptor systems.

1. Pradyumna or Prithvi Air Defence (PAD)

  • It uses Prithvi Missile.
  • It is used for high altitude interception and can intercept missiles up to an altitude of 80 km.
  • It is the preferred option because the target would be engaged at a far distance.

2. Ashvin or Advanced Air Defence (AAD)

  • It uses Akash Surface to Air Missile.
  • It is used for low-altitude interception and can intercept missiles at 15-30 Km.
  • It is not a preferred option because the missile is already very close & in the case of a nuclear missile, immense destruction can happen.

  • Both are manufactured by DRDO.
  • For tracking & guidance, Swordfish Radar System is developed by India in conjugation with Israel. 
  • The programme began in 1999
    • Phase I: completed. 
    • Phase II: It was expected to be completed by 2016 & first to be placed in Delhi & Mumbai 
    • Present Status: DRDO was not able to complete it & it is still in the development stage.
  • The current system can intercept up to 1000 km class Ballistic missile at the speed of Mach 5. 
  • After the USA, Israel and Russia, India is the 4th country to develop indigenous Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems. 

S-400 Triumf

  • Russian Air Defence System, which India is in the process to buy. 
  • It is considered the best Air Defence System (full defence and not just missile) and can protect air space against strategic bombers, stealth fighters, spy planes, missiles and drones.
  • It is a long-range surface-to-air missile with a range of 400 km. Hence, if deployed on the Indo-Pakistan border, it can track the movement of Pakistani aircraft from the instance they take off from the runway.
  • It can track 300 targets simultaneously with the help of its has a 3D phased array acquisition radar. 
  • Turkey and Qatar are also interested in buying this. China has already received the first delivery of the system.
  • It will receive delivery by the end of 2021 and integrate with India’s indigenous Ballistic Missile Defence system developed by DRDO to create a multi-tier air defence. 
  • Problem: USA can impose sanctions on India under CAATSA (i.e. Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act). Earlier, India got a waiver from the USA to buy this system, but the Ukraine crisis has put this deal in danger.
S-400 Triumf

NASAMS – II

  • NASAMS = National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System 
  • It was developed by Raytheon (US) in partnership with the Kongsberg Defence System of Norway.
  • India will use it to defend the VIP-89 Region (consisting of Rashtrapati Bhavan, Parliament etc.)
  • It is equipped with the latest 3D sentinel radars and missile launchers which can rapidly identify and destroy enemy aircraft, UAVs and cruise missiles. 
  • The same system is used to protect Washington DC and numerous NATO countries.

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