India's Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile failed in its 10th test, forcing the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) plan yet another validatory trial at an early date.
The updated version of the ballistic missile interceptor fired from the missile test facility at Wheeler Island off the Odisha coast on Monday fell into the Bay of Bengal immediately after taking off from the launcher.
The indigenously built missile, 'Ashwin', fired from the launching complex-IV in Wheeler Island at about 11.45 am, failed to intercept an electronic target at an altitude below 20 km, as simulated by the mission team.
The test was to gauge the efficiency and killing precision of the improved version of the interceptor missile.
Reports quoting sources at the test range said the missile nose-dived within a couple of seconds after it was fired from the mobile launcher. The missile caught fire, but it was doused by the mission team and did not cause any major damage.
"It took off as planned but did not reach the target. We are analysing the data," test range director MVKV Prasad said.
The DRDO has tested the missile interceptor 10 times with eight of the tests being successful. The missile had last failed to hit the target during a similar test from the same defence base on 26 July 2010.
Indigenously developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the AAD interceptor missile is a single-stage missile powered by solid propellants. It is 7.5 metres tall and weighs around 1.2 tonnes. It has a diameter of less than 0.5 metres and the capability to kill incoming enemy missiles fired from 1,000 km away.
The AAD missile had earlier failed to hit the target directly during its test on 26 July 2010. The interceptor, which traveled only about 15 km, got itself detonated before reaching the target and had fallen apart.
Of the other previous tests of AAD, five have been successful, while a planned test was put off twice in mid-March 2010 and another test was aborted due to some technical snags in the sub-system of the missile.