An IDC Analysis From New York)


New Delhi, 20 October 2002

Mr Sayan Mazumdar, a regular visitor to our website, sent us the following comments on Ballistic Missile Defence. The importance and feasibility of a Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system in which an intruder missile is detected and intercepted during the launch-cum-boost phase –– detection by a space-based platform (satellite) and interception by a UAV launched laser guided missile, had reported by us in our International Mediawatch. We had also analysed the concept in two articles –– ‘Arrow and India’ dated 25 Jul 02 and ‘Let India Have Arrow Too’, which is still on our home page.

An important point to bear in mind is –– the time for missiles to fly from Pakistan to India is so miniscule i.e. around 4 to 6 minutes to cross the border, that in theory no missile can be intercepted with certainty, with the technology available or likely to be available to us in the near future. This scenario had been thrashed out in Staff Colleges around the world in the 70s, hence the principle of deterrence by MAD. Moreover, for UAVs to operate in the vicinity of the enemy BM launching sites, a certain amount of air superiority too is required. Yet, what Sayan has propounded, has a lot of merit and we hope our Defence planners and Scientific establishment are thinking on these lines. We thank him for raising the level of debate and hope he will continue to air his worthy views through our Website:

“While the Indian Armed Forces are trying to build up a credible ATBM (Anti-Tactical Ballistic Missile) system on basis of deployment of Russian S-300V and/or Israeli Arrow II ATBM, serious efforts should be made to develop a credible Boost-Phase Intercept System. Such a system possesses the greatest chance of success against attacking ballistic missiles as far as present day technology is concerned.
During boost-phase the attacking ballistic missile is comparatively slower and at the same time a source of considerable IR (Infra-Red) radiation and thus easily detectable by aerial source or by satellites. Decoys are yet to be fielded, making interception easier. Moreover, the attacking missile destroyed at that stage falls on the aggressor's territory along the NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) payload. In this context the deterrent value of a Boost-Phase Intercept System is well apparent.

Although it is technologically highly complex and costly prohibitive for us to deploy an airborne laser system to destroy attacking ballistic missiles, similar to the system that is being fielded by United States aboard a modified Boeing 747, cheaper alternatives may be explored. An Israeli missile system termed as Moab, funded by United States BMDO (Ballistic Missile Defence Organisation) is being developed. This missile is designed to intercept attacking ballistic missiles during boost phase and is fired
from an UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) flying at high altitude. The critical point is the extent of co operation of the Israelis with us in this matter, withstanding pressure from United States.”

Back to Top

Disclaimer   Copyright