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SOURCE: Express News Service

India successfully conducted the first Army version test of state-of-the-art Medium-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM) from a defence facility off Odisha coast on Wednesday.

This most advanced sleek missile has been developed by India in a joint collaboration with Israel. The missile achieved a ‘direct hit’. Defence sources said the missile was flight tested in full operational configuration from the launching complex – III of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea at about 4 pm. The missile targeted an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Banshee, a British drone.

Jointly developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aerospace Industries, the missile was tested in the presence of Army officials.

DRDO Chairman Dr G Satheesh Reddy said the first army version test of the missile was a roaring success as the missile intercepted a manoeuvring air-breathing target that mimicked an attacking combat aircraft. “All mission parameters were successfully met and Indian missile components validated,” he told The New Indian Express.

Having a strike range of nearly 100 km, the 4.5-meter long nuclear-capable ballistic missile weighs around 2.7 tonne and can carry a payload of 60 kg. Apart from the missile, the launching platform includes a Multi-Functional Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar (MFSTAR) for detection, tracking, and guidance of the missile.

The new generation MRSAM has been developed to neutralise airborne threats like jets, missiles and rockets, including projectiles launched simultaneously. The missile has a speed of Mach 2 and possesses high degrees of maneuverability at the target interception range.

Earlier, three trials of the naval version of the missile were conducted from the same test facility in 2016 followed by a user trial from INS Kochi in 2017.

As a precautionary measure, Balasore district administration had shifted around 8,100 people residing within 2.5 km radius of the LC-III of the ITR. The residents were compensated as per the Ministry of Defence guidelines.

Fishermen of Balasore, Bhadrak and Kendrapara districts were also warned not to venture into the sea during the test. The DRDO is also readying for a second test of the missile on Thursday.