The Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully conducted the first canister-based trial of the Agni-V intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Wheeler Island off the Odisha coast.
Launched from a canister mounted on a road-mobile launcher from the integrated test range’s launch complex-IV, the nuclear-capable missile climbed to a height of more than 600km in its parabolic trajectory and accurately hit the designated target point in the Indian Ocean after 20 minutes.
The missile’s parameters were monitored by radars and electro-optical systems, while the ships located in mid-range and at the target point tracked the vehicle and witnessed the final event.
DRDO Missiles and Strategic Systems director general and Agni programme mission director Dr VG Sekaran said: "All mission objectives have been achieved, down-range ships have confirmed final splashdown, the mission is a great success and it is a momentous occasion."
DRDO director general and department of defence research and development director defence secretary scientific adviser Dr Avinash Chander said: "It is India’s first ever ICBM launch from a canister and is a giant leap in country’s deterrence capability."
The road-mobile canister-version will enable Agni-V to be fired from stop-to-launch within a few minutes and ensure higher reliability, longer shelf-life and reduced maintenance.
In addition, it is expected to provide the Indian armed forces with the operational flexibility to swiftly transport and fire the missile from their preferred locations, The Times of India reported.
Chander added: "It has a very short reaction time.
"With India having a policy of no-first use of nuclear weapons, it is highly survivable … [and] gives full-teeth to our policy of deterrence [in terms of an assured retaliatory-strike capability]."
Capable of carrying a 1.1t payload, the 17m-long Agni-V is an indigenously developed ICBM with a strike range of 5,000km. It has proven its capabilities in two previous open configuration launches.
The missile is expected to undergo one joint trial before entering service with the Indian Army by the end of this year, reported The Hindu.
Image: The first canister version of the Agni-V ballistic missile. Photo: courtesy of the DRDO.