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India test-fires nuclear capable Agni V missile

Last updated on: April 19, 2012 12:07 IST

India test-fires nuclear capable Agni V missile

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I
ndia on Thursday conducted the maiden test of its indigenously developed nuclear capable Agni V ballistic missile with a strike range of over 5,000 km, from the Wheeler Island off Odisha coast.

The three stage, solid propellant missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher from the launch complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range at about 8.05 am, defence sources said.

Soon after the maiden launch took place, Agni V witnessed a smooth and perfect vertical lift-off from the launcher. An analysis was done to assess its health parameters after retrieval of date from all the sophisticated wide range of communication network systems, they said.

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The test-fire of the first of its kind missile, which was originally scheduled for Wednesday, had to be postponed at the last moment due to bad weather marked by rains and heavy lightning, the sources said.

The trial of Agni V, considered to be of the category of Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile, demonstrates giant strides taken by India in its integrated missile development programme.

Only the United States, Russia, France and China possess the capability to operate an ICBM at present.

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"The sleek missile, within a few seconds of its blast-off from the Island launch pad, roared majestically into the sky leaving behind its trajectory, a trail of thin orange and white smoke before disappearing," said an eyewitness to the launch, conducted amid light drizzle.

The surface-to-surface Agni V is capable of striking a target more than 5,000 km away. It is about 17 meter long and two metre wide with a launch weight of around 50 tonnes. The sophisticated missile can carry a nuclear warhead of more than one tonne.

After achieving successful results from the first development trial of Agni IV, which has a strike range of more than 3,500 km, from the same launch pad on November 15, 2011, the preparation for Agni V test had gathered momentum.

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Scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation have been developing this missile for two years.

Unlike other missiles of the indigenously built Agni series, the latest one -- Agni V -- is the most advanced version with several new technologies incorporated in it in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine.

India has at present in its armoury of Agni series, Agni I with 700 km range, Agni II with 2,000 km range, Agni III and Agni IV, with 2,500 km to more than 3,500 km range.

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Today's trial was aimed at putting India into an exclusive club of nations possessing such long-range ballistic missile technologies.

DRDO chief V K Saraswat had recently said the missile was being integrated at various facilities for the test launch.

The maiden test-fire was witnessed by military officials, scientists and other agencies which participated in its development.

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DRDO plans to conduct more such tests of the missile over the next one year after studying and analysing the parameters achieved in each subsequent trial.

On the timeline fixed for fully developing Agni V, Saraswat had said another year of testing would be involved.

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Tags: DRDO , Saraswat , India

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