Saraswat Interview

The Indian DRDO’s VK Saraswat gave an “interview”: to India Today in which he gave some interesting details about some Indian weapons programs.

In this portion, he discusses India’s “ASAT capabilities,”: which appear to be derived from India’s ballistic missile and BMD programs:


Does DRDO have the capability of destroying satellites in space?

VKS: Today, India has all the building blocks for an anti-satellite system in place.

*We don’t want to weaponise space but the building blocks should be in place. Because you may come to a time when you may need it. Today, I can say that all the building blocks (for an ASAT weapon) are in place.* A little fine tuning may be required but we will do that electronically. *We will not do a physical test (actual destruction of a satellite) because of the risk of space debris affecting other satellites.*

How did you develop these ASAT capabilities?

VKS: There are a few essential parameters in intercepting satellites. You should have the ability to track an orbiting satellite in space, launch a missile towards it and finally have a kill vehicle that actually homes in to physically destroy it.

*We have a Long Range Tracking Radar (LRTR) used in the Ballistic Missile Defence Programme that has a range of over 600 km. We will increase the range to 1,400 km allowing us to track satellites in orbit.*

It is far more difficult to intercept ballistic missiles than it is to intercept satellites. Satellites follow a predictive path. Once you track a satellite, you will know its path.

In the BMD project, we track and intercept a 0.1 square meter target over 1,000 km away. A satellite is ten times larger-over 1 meter wide.

We have the communication systems in place, again developed for the BMD project. The first-stage booster developed for the Agni-V can inject a warhead 600 km into space. We also have a kill vehicle developed for the BMD project. The kill vehicle actually homes in onto an incoming missile. We have the Infra-Red and Radar frequency seekers on the kill vehicle that accurately guide it to its target.

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