Balasore (Odisha): India today achieved success in night-time firing a nuclear-weapon capable, 2,000-km range Agni-II missile that can be a credible deterrent against the other two nuclear-armed neighbours Pakistan and China in the region. This was the first Indian attempt at firing the weapon system at night.
The test came off from a mobile launcher at the Launch Complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) on the Dr Abdul Kalam Island on Odisha coast. The test was for re-establishing the operational effectiveness of the surface-to-surface, intermediate-range platform that can be nuclear-armed.
The weapon system is already inducted and operationalised in the Indian armed forces, especially the Indian Army, and can carry a payload of up to 1,000 kilogram. The missile is 21-metre long and weighs 17 tonne. The missile’s range can be extended to 3,000 km with less than 1,000-kg payload.
The entire trajectory of the trial was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, telemetry observation stations, electro-optic instruments and two naval ships located near the impact point in the down range area of Bay of Bengal, according to reports.
The two-stage missile equipped with advanced high accuracy navigation system, was guided by a novel state-of- the-art command and control system and is propelled by solid rocket propellant system. The Indian Strategic Forces Command carried out the trial this time with support from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the designer of the missile.
Agni-II was developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory as part of the Integrated Missile Development Programme of DRDO. The industrial manufacturing of the missile is done by India’s state-run Bharat Dynamics Limited at Hyderabad.
The Agni-series of ballistic missiles also has Agni-I with a 700 km range, Agni-III with a 3,000 km range, Agni-IV and Agni-V both having over 5,000-km long-range capabilities as part of the missile system family.
Agni-II was test fired for the first time ever as a prototype in April 1999 and was inducted into the Indian Strategic Forces Command after May 2010. The previous trial of the missile was carried out in February 2018 from the same location.
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