The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is prepared to build an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile with a range of 800 kms and can easily hit targets even in the exosphere. The DRDO has successfully tested the over 5,000km Agni V missile, which travelled up to 600km into space during its parabolic trajectory.
If the ASAT missile is made, it will have Agni V’s propulsion system with the “kill vehicle” of the under-development two-tier BMD (ballistic missile defence) system.
But the plan has not yet got the approval of the government since India does not believes in “weaponisation of Space”.
Concerns, however, remain since China used an ASAT to destroy an old satellite back in 2007.
When the Chinese government announced in May 2013 the launch of a suborbital rocket carrying a scientific payload to study the upper ionosphere, the US government described it as the first test of a new ground-based ASAT system
. The United States has not been able to launch a successful ASAT until 2008. In 2010, the Indian defence ministry had even drafted a 15-year “Technology Perspective and Roadmap”, which held development of ASAT weapons “for electronic or physical destruction of satellites (2,000km altitude above earth’s surface) and GEO-synchronous orbits”.
China’s rapid weaponisation plans has made it imperative for defence planners in India to focus on “space security” to protect India’s space assets from electronic or physical destruction.
The 5000-km range of Agni V envelops the whole of China and the DRDO is only looking forward to augmenting it. The DRDO is involved in all of India’s military weapons development programmes including the ICBMs. But if everyone in the world starts developing ASATs, this fictional event from an immensely popular game will become a reality.
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