An updated version of India's indigenously built advanced air defence (AAD) interceptor missile failed to strike its target during a trial from launch Complex-IV on Wheeler Island, off the Odisha coast.
The AAD missile, dubbed Ashwin, was supposed to hit an electronic target within an altitude below 20km to demonstrate its efficiency and precision, but nose-dived into the Bay of Bengal within seconds of takeoff.
An unnamed source was quoted by The Times of India as saying: "The mission was aborted barely three seconds after the launch since the interceptor missile went awry.
"Fortunately, the target was only an electronically simulated missile and not a real one."
Indian Ministry of Defence directorate of public relations director N Ao told The New Indian Express: "We have not got any official information from the DRDO, which is supposed to intimate us regarding the outcome of the test fire.
"We are waiting for the information."
The missile has successfully passed eight of the total ten tests conducted by its manufacture, the Defence Research and Development Organisation, with the first failure reported from the Wheeler Island base in July 2010.
Powered by solid propellants, the AAD is a single-stage anti-ballistic missile designed to intercept incoming ballistic missiles in the endo-atmosphere at an altitude of 30km.
The missile, along with the prithvi air defence missile, make up DRDO's experimental two-tier ballistic missile defence system, which is developed to track and intercept any incoming missile launched from a distance of 5,000km.
Image: The Indian advanced air defence missile launches from DRDO's Integrated Test Range (ITR), Wheeler's Island, off Odhisa Coast. Photo: courtesy of Sniperz11.