Close on the heels of the success of Agni-IV trial, India on Friday test-fired nuclear weapons capable Agni-III ballistic missile for its full range of 3,000 km from the Wheeler Island, off the Odisha coast.
The 17-metre tall, surface-to-surface long range missile was picked up from the production lot and fired by the Strategic Force Command personnel from a rail mobile launcher at 1.20 p.m. After a flight duration of around 15 minutes, it impacted the pre-designated target in the Indian Ocean with a two digit accuracy and met the mission objectives, according to official sources.
After accelerating to an altitude of more than 500 km, the missile re-entered the atmosphere and withstood searing temperatures before splashing down near the target point. Radars located along the east coast, telemetry stations and electro-optical network tracked and monitored the missile’s performance in real time, while two down range ships recorded the terminal event as the missile impacted the target.
The two-stage solid propelled Agni-III has already been inducted into the services and can carry a payload weighing 1.5 tonnes to a distance of 3,000 km. It is equipped with an advanced guidance and navigation system to ensure accuracy. This was the fourth success of Agni-III in a row and the seventh belonging to Agni series.
In the past five months, all the variants of Agni from Agni-V to Agni-1 have been successfully test-fired.
Scientific advisor to Defence Minister V.K. Saraswat, Chief Controller (Missiles and Strategic Systems), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Avinash Chander, Director, Research Centre Imarat, S.K. Chaudhuri and Director, Integrated Test Range (ITR), M.V. K.V. Prasad were present.
The missile is equipped with hybrid navigation, guidance and control systems along with advanced on-board computers.
The electronic systems are hardened for higher vibration, thermal and acoustic effects, a DRDO official said.
Though the first development trial of Agni-III carried out on July 9, 2006 could not achieve the desired result, subsequent tests conducted on April 12, 2007, May 7, 2008 and February 7, 2010 from the same base were all successful.
Friday’s test came after a successful trial of highly advanced Agni-IV ballistic missile with a strike range of about 4000 km from the same range.