India’s upgraded version of its nuclear-capable medium-range Agni-II plus ballistic missile’s maiden test ended in failure when the missile dropped into the Bay of Bengal.

The surface-to-surface Agni-II plus missile was fired from a mobile rail launcher on Wheeler Island off the coast of the western state of Orissa, India.

“Shortly after initial take-off, it deviated from its course and fell into the sea. The data and details are being studied to see exactly what went wrong,” a Defence Research and Development Organisation official said.

The two stage missile, fuelled by solid propellants, is capable of carrying a 1t conventional or nuclear warhead.

The missile has a range of 2,500km-3,000km with an improved navigation system and is intended to fill the gap between the two missiles, Agni II and Agni III.

The Agni-II series of missiles is being developed as a deterrent strategy against India’s nuclear-armed neighbours, China and Pakistan.