When a Missile Misfires
Pakistan has said that an unarmed Indian missile landed 124 km inside its territory on Wednesday which was acknowledged by India stating that a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile.
What is the procedure for information regarding such tests?
- Under the India- Pakistan’s Pre-notification of flight testing of ballistic missiles agreement (2005), each country must provide the other an advance notification on flight test it intends to take for any land or sea launched, suface-to-surface ballistic missile.
- Before the test, the country must issue Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) or Navigational Warning (NAVAREA) to alert aviation pilots and seafarers, respectively.
- The testing country must ensure that the launch site is not within 40 km, and the planned impact area is not within 75 km of either the International Boundary (IB) or the Line of Control (LoC).
- The planned trajectory should not cross the IB or the LoC and must maintain a horizontal distance of at least 40 km from the border.
|A NOTAM is a notice containing information essential to personnel concerned with flight operations but not known far enough in advance to be publicized by other means.
Navigational Warning Service (WWNWS): Navigational warnings provide early information of important incidents which may constitute a danger to navigation. Many navigational warnings are of a temporary nature, but others remain in force for several weeks and may be succeeded by Notice to Mariners (NMs).
- The testing country must notify the other nation no less than 3 days in advance of the commencement.
- The pre-notification has to be conveyed through the respective Foreign Offices and the High Commissions.
What is the recent case of misfire?
- Neither country has spelt this out; Pakistan has only called it a “supersonic” missile.
- Some experts have speculated that it was a test of one of India’s top missiles, BrahMos, jointly developed with Russia.
- A striking aspect of the episode is that the missile changed direction mid-air.
- Possible reasons for change in missile direction
- It could be due to incorrect coordinates
- If somebody was to jam the missile while in flight, by some cyber means
- If the target data that has been fed into the missile gets corrupted
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