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August 25, 2011

Agni-II ready for testing from Wheeler Island

(Time of India) : BALASORE: India is all set to test its 2,000-km range Agni-II missile from Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast next week. The test will be conducted by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the Indian Army.
Defence officials said preparations for the scheduled test are on at the launching complex since the past one week. A team of Army personnel and scores of DRDO scientists are camping here for the crucial test. "Agni-II's user training trial is likely to be conducted any time between August 29 and 30 to give the necessary confidence to the armed forces that the two-stage, solid-fuelled missile can be fired whenever required," said a defence scientist.
The indigenously built weapon is a two-stage solid propelled ballistic missile that weighs 17 tonne and is 20 metre long. It can carry a payload of 1 tonne over a distance of 2,000 km. Agni-II was developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory along with other DRDO laboratories. The missile is part of the Agni series, which included Agni-I with a 700-km range and Agni-III with a 3,500-km range. While Agni-I and Agni-II have been already inducted, Agni-III is in the process of induction.
Agni-II is a ready-to-fire missile with a launch time of about 15 minutes. The missile uses solid propulsion booster and liquid propulsion upper state. The strap-down inertial navigation system provides the necessary guidance, accuracy and uses an advanced composite structure for protecting the payload during the re-entry phase.
The missile technologists are leaving no stone unturned to make this trial of Agni-II missile successful as the fear of technological glitches haunts them. Agni-II, an already-proven missile, had developed snags twice consecutively during user training exercises in 2009, putting the entire DRDO fraternity in an embarrassing situation.
However, during a similar test on May 17 last year, the missile was claimed to be tested successfully.
The scientist said the DRDO was working on multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles technology for the Agni series of ballistic missiles, which would help the missiles carry a bunch of nuclear warheads in a single payload, each of which can hit different targets along separate trajectories.

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