India's newly designed Advanced Air Defence-02 (AAD-02) hypersonic interceptor 'hit-to-kill' missile successfully destroyed an incoming target missile 15 km over the Bay of Bengal during its maiden test launch on 6 December.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)-designed AAD-02 was fired from Wheeler Island off India's east coast and it accurately intercepted a modified version of the indigenous Prithvi surface-to-surface missile, dispatched two minutes earlier from the nearby Integrated Test Range at Chandipur-on-sea.
M Natarajan, head of the DRDO and scientific advisor to the defence minister, likened the interception to "hitting a bullet with a bullet". He said that the 7 m-tall, single-stage, solid-fuel AAD-02 - with terminal homing seekers and an inertial navigation system - was "a totally new missile" with "massive software integration and high manoeuvrability".
Dr V K Saraswat, chief controller of research and development at the DRDO's Missiles and Strategic Systems unit, said that the AAD-02 was capable of intercepting the M-9 and M-11 ballistic missiles of India's "adversaries", pointing an indirect finger at India's neighbouring nuclear rivals China and Pakistan.