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India to conduct test of Agni-III
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April 08, 2007 17:31 IST
Last Updated: April 08, 2007 18:27 IST

India will conduct a test of the nuclear-capable Agni-III, the country's most powerful missile, some time this week.

This will be the second launch of the 3,000-km range missile after an unsuccessful test on July nine last year from the integrated test range at Wheeler Island near Balasore in Orissa, defence officials said.

Simultaneously, Defence Research and Development Organisation scientists are working to go ahead with the second test firing of an anti-missile system.

Officials said preparations have been completed for the second test of Agni-III, which is expected to take place any day between April 10 and April 13.

If successfully test-fired, Agni-III will become the missile with the longest reach in South Asia and more powerful than any missile in Pakistan's arsenal.

However, China has missiles with a longer reach than Agni-III. Though DRDO scientists put the range of Agni-III at 3,000 km, defence experts say the solid-fuel propelled missile's range could be extended up to almost 5,000 km 

During the launch of Agni-III last year, the second stage of the missile failed to separate and the missile fell short of its target.

Defence scientists traced the failure of the test to a defective shield, which was unable to withstand the heat generated due to friction during the flight. They devised a flexible heat shield for the missile without changing its other parameters.

The 16-metre Agni-III weighs 48 tonnes and is capable of carrying conventional and nuclear warheads weighing up to 1.5 tonnes.

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