The Indian Army has successfully test-launched the Agni-II nuclear-capable, surface-to-surface missile from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheelers Island, off the Orissa coast, India.
Fired by the army’s strategic forces command (SFC) from a mobile launcher, the missile reached an altitude of 600km and began its descent, before splashing near its pre-designated impact point in the Bay of Bengal with two-digit accuracy, as reported by The Hindu.
The trajectory and various parameters of the missile were tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, electro-optical systems and telemetry stations along the east coast during the flight, while the final event was recorded by two down-range ships.
Carried out as part of regular user-training exercise, the 14-minute flight was also supported by scientists from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
A DRDO official said the overall mission objectives were met and the testing once again demonstrated the navigation, guidance and control aspects of the missile.
"It is an achievement by itself. Demonstrating it repeatedly gives a lot of confidence," the official said.
Manufactured as part of the DRDO’s integrated guided-missile development programme (IGMDP), the Agni-II is a 20m-long, two-stage, solid-propelled medium-range ballistic missile, with an operational range of 2,000km.
Equipped with a high-accuracy navigation system and guided by an innovative guidance scheme, the missile requires only 15 minutes to attain ready-to-fire mode and can carry 1,000kg of nuclear warheads. It uses DRDO’s re-entry technology to protect itself from intense heat when it re-enters the atmosphere.
The missile completed its initial test flight in May 2009 and is currently operational with the Indian Army’s 335 Missile Group.
Image: The Indian Army’s Agni-II ballistic missile on a road-mobile launcher, being displayed at the 2004 Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India. Photo: courtesy of Antônio Milena (Abr).