India Successfully Tests Advanced Air Defense (AAD) Missile: ASHWIN


Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile dubbed as Ashwin was successfully test-fired from launching complex-IV of Dhamara Abdul Kalam defence base off Odisha coast. The test assed missile’s killing capability by intercepting a target, mimicking an incoming enemy missile in mid-air. The success of test has boosted India’s position in the exclusive club of AAD countries United States, Russia and Israel.

Important Facts

  • The interceptor missile is a 7.5-metre-long single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile.


  • It is equipped with a navigation system, a hi-tech computer, inertial navigation system and an electro-mechanical activator.
  • The supersonic low-altitude missile weighs around 1.2 tonnes, stands 7.5 meters tall and has a diameter of under 0.5 meters. The missile comes with an inbuilt navigator, an advanced computer and an electro-mechanical activator.
  • The technology within the missile is encrypted using a secure data link independent tracking and homing capabilities and sophisticated radars.
  • It can destroy the incoming hostile ballistic missile in the endo-atmospheric region (less than 30 km altitude) at a low altitude of less than 30 kms.
  • It has its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking and homing capabilities and sophisticated radars.

How Does it Work

  • The interceptor is in the form of a 7.5 meter-long single-stage rocket propelled guided missile that is equipped with a navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator. It is capable of noting the location of the hostile objects with the help of tracking radars.


  • The ring laser gyro-based navigation system in target, fibre optic gyro-based inertial navigation system (INS) in interceptor, onboard computers, guidance systems, actuation systems and the critical radio frequency (RF) seekers are used for the terminal phase.
  • The AAD missile system, initially guided by INS, continuously got update of the target’s position by the radar through a data link.
  • The RF seeker tracked the target missile and onboard computer of the AAD middile guided it towards the target missile. The radio proximity fuse of the AAD missile exploded the warhead thereby destroying the target missile completely.


  • The newly tested missile was tasked with intercepting another ballistic missile from a long range. After the successful test, India became the fourth country in the world to have full-fledged multi-layer Ballistic Missile Defence system. With only United States, Russia and Israel are in the same league.
  • The new supersonic missile interceptor will soon become a part of the Indian Army’s arsenal of world class weaponry.
  • India has a double-layered ballistic missile defence (BMD) system capable of tracking and destroying hostile missiles both outside (exo) and inside (endo) the earth’s atmosphere.
  • The first phase BMD system capable of killing enemy missiles fired from 2,000 km away. It is expected to be inducted in the armed forces soon.
  • The second phase BMD system, capable of destroying enemy missiles fired from 5,000 km away is still under development.


  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile, Ashwin, was tested 15 May 2016 on the newly named Abdul Kalam Island located in the Balashore district off the Odisha coast. This was the 12th test in the series to develop interceptor missiles. An agency report on May 16 said a modified Prithvi missile was launched on May 15 from a naval ship in the Bay of Bengal and it mimicked the trajectory of a missile coming from an enemy country.
  • The Hindu reported May 23, 2016 that the interceptor missile mission, which took place on May 15, was a failure, despite claims of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to the contrary. The interceptor never took off to intercept the incoming “enemy” missile which merely fell into the Bay of Bengal.
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