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January 29, 2011

DRDO plans to test 10 missiles this year

( SOURCE :TNN , IDRW ) : The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has planned a series of missile tests in the coming months to prove its might. At least 10 missiles, including the country’s first intercontinental range ballistic missile (ICBM) Agni-V have been slated for flight tests this year.
Defence sources said while the first missile to be test-fired this month is the most sophisticated K-15, the test of other projectiles that are in the pipeline include advanced air defence (AAD) interceptor, Agni-I, Agni-II, Prithvi air defence (PAD) interceptor, BrahMos, Prithvi, Astra and Agni-V. “The focus this year will be on the maiden test of the 5,000 km-range Agni-V, which has been scheduled to be test-fired in September. This is the first ICBM India has developed and it is considered a China-specific missile. If launched from the line of control, it can hit targets in China’s northernmost city Habin,” said a source .

Besides Agni-V, India has so far developed two long-range missiles the 2,000 km-range Agni-II and 3,500 km-range Agni-III. However, the Agni-V ICBM has been designed by adding a third composite stage to the two-stage Agni-III missile. It is built with high composite content to reduce its weight.
The 17.5-metre-long Agni-V would be a canister launch missile system to ensure it has the requisite operational flexibility to be swiftly transported and fired from anywhere. Though the missile weighs around 49 tonnes, one tonne more than Agni III, its range has gone up to far more.
“But before the test of Agni-V, its shorter-range cousins like the 700 km-range Agni-I and 2,000 km-range Agni-II have been planned to be test-launched in April. While on January 31, the submarine-launched ballistic missile will be tested from a pontoon (replica of a submarine) off the Andhra Pradesh coast, the AAD interceptor test is to be carried out on February 10, which will follow the test of other missiles,” the source informed. Apart from the Agni-V, the DRDO is now focusing on the ballistic missile defence (BMD) system. As part of the project, it has already developed two interceptors exo atmospheric (outside the atmosphere) and endo atmospheric (within the atmosphere). After the endo atmospheric AAD test, in which the interceptor will kill the incoming missile at an altitude of 15 km, the test of the exo atmospheric PAD interceptor will be conducted.
“We are trying to programme such a coordination that the PAD interceptor would destroy the incoming enemy missile at an altitude of nearly 150 km. During earlier PAD tests, the missile successfully intercepted the target missile at an altitude of 45 km and 80 km,” a defence official said.
The scientists also keep a watch on the flight tests of Prithvi, Agni-II and beyond visual range Astra missiles. Last year, while a user trail of Prithvi-II had failed miserably, the first experimental test of the extended version of Agni-II ended with failures.
While the Agni series of missiles and the interceptors would be launched from the Wheeler Islands, BrahMos, Astra and Prithvi will be tested from the integrated test range (ITR) at Chandipur off the Orissa coast.

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