Next step, a soft kill capability

Dr Avinash Chander, former chief of DRDO fields 4 key questions

On the significance (technological) of ASAT test?
The capability to detect such a small object (measuring about a metre) in space in fraction of a second and to estimate the trajectory of the satellite and destroy it within a couple of minutes exemplifies the level of expertise we have achieved in DRDO.

On the way forward?
A lot more needs to be done in the domain of space like deploying sensors which help identify the threat and whether it is in the form of a civilian or military satellite, and take a decision on whether to jam the satellite, incapacitate its systems or destroy it as we did on Wednesday. We must also develop soft kill strategies like jamming with a high energy source like lasers from ground-based or airborne systems like an airship. All sorts of options are available but we must demonstrate that we are capable of meeting the threats. Most important, we must have an integrated defence response mechanism in place to review readiness of our defence systems at regular intervals, and take appropriate decisions on the method to be adopted to ward off the threat, either employing soft kill techniques or rendering the satellite inoperable.

On whether you put forward a proposal to the UPA government to conduct the test as you succeeded Dr V.K. Saraswat?
We continued our work on development of the interceptor missile and told the government that we could demonstrate the technology whenever required. We did not come up with a formal proposal to fire an interceptor missile at a satellite.

On the likelihood of deployment of weapons in space?
I don't see an immediate shift towards militarisation of space or the possibility of a space war. But it's better to have a deterrent so that no one attempts misadventurous activities, and that's the main reason why DRDO carried out the ASAT test.

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