China, US, India conduct missile systems tests on same day

China, US, India conduct missile systems tests on same day

The test launch of the Chinese missile defense system. (Internet photo)

China test launched its anti-ballistic missile defense system on Jan. 27, with both the United States and India conducting similar tests on the same day, according to Xinhua.

Discussing the second test launch of the Chinese missile interceptor system, Richard Fisher, a specialist on the People's Liberation Army, said the purpose of this exercise was not purely for self defense as Beijing had claimed.

"China's development of more capable theater missile defense systems addresses what for China is a practically non-existent threat," said Fisher, "Other than North Korea (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea) and to a slight degree India, no country has the ability to target China with medium or intermediate range missiles." Fisher said the missiles give the PLA sufficient capability to attack any land or carrier-based aircraft taking off from the Asia-Pacific region.

At the same time, the Missile Defense Agency of the United States was conducting a test launch of its Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Jan. 26 local time.

The Ground-Based Interceptor carrying the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle may be deployed against North Korean ICBMs, according to the Pentagon.

"Data from this flight test will be used to evaluate the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle system performance in a flight environment," said Rick Lehner, spokesman for the Pentagon.

"If a target missile were present, the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle would collide directly with the threat warhead to perform a hit-to-kill intercept. Engineering data from this test will be used to improve confidence for future intercept missions."

India also test fired its BO5 underwater-launched missile designed by the country's Defence Research and Development Organisation on Jan. 27. It was launched from an approximate depth of about 50 meters from the nuclear submarine INS Arihant in the Bay of Bengal. The official statement from the Indian government declared that the missile was tested to its full range of 700 kilometers and the mission met all objectives.

Although all three countries declared that the tests were not aimed at any particular nation, analysts noted that the PLA test launched its missile interceptor for the first time in January 2010 to protest an announcement by the Obama administration to sell a weapons package to Taiwan.