BALASORE (ODISHA): In a bid to strengthen its fire power and form the triad of a credible nuclear deterrence, India has planned at least four tests of three indigenously built nuclear capable missiles off the Odisha coast this month.
A reliable source at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur here said while an updated version of Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile has been scheduled to be test fired against an electronic target on April 6, the weapon system will be fired to intercept an actual target, mimicking a modified Prithvi missile on April 22.
The ballistic interceptor missiles will be flight tested by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at endo atmospheric zone (below the altitude of 40 km) and a successful trial will propel its induction in the armed forces. Prior to it, Strategic Forces Command (SFC) will carry out user trials of Dhanush missile on April 9 and Agni-III on April 16.
According to defence sources, the nuclear capable Dhanush missile will be test fired from a war ship to be positioned at an undisclosed location in Bay of Bengal off Paradip coast and the China specific Agni-III missile will be launched from the Wheeler Island off Dhamra coast.
Preparation is near completed for the AAD test from Wheeler Island on Monday while Dhanush team has begun integrating the missile with the ship and initiated all logistic arrangements.
After the Dhanush trial, there will be elaborate preparation for Agni-III test followed by the AAD trial against an actual target missile. ‘Dhanush’, the indigenously developed naval version of the ‘Prithvi’ short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) has a striking range upto 350 km and can carry single warhead, conventional or nuclear up to 500-kg. Similarly, 3,000-km range Agni-III missile can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads weighing around 1,500-kg.
Developed by the DRDO under its ambitious Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), while Dhanush missile is about 8.53 metres in length and 0.9 metre in diameter besides its launch weight of about 4.4 tonnes, Agni-III is 16.7 metres tall with an overall diameter of 1.8 meters and it weighs 48.3 tonnes.
The 7.5 metre tall AAD interceptor is a single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile equipped with an inertial navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator totally under command by the data up-linked from the ground based radar.
The missile weighs around 1.2 tonnes and has a diameter of 0.5 metre. While both Dhanush and Agni-III have already been inducted into the Armed Forces and are under production after the successful completion of their developmental trials, AAD missile would be inducted very soon.
AAD Interceptor test against electronic target – April 6