Rain shadow over missile trials
By Hemant Kumar Rout | ENS | Published: 07th November 2012 12:12 PM |
The maiden development trial of India’s new generation sub-sonic cruise missile Nirbhay and K-15 missile has been put on hold owning to rains.
Tested several times from a pontoon (replica of a submarine), the K-15 was scheduled to be fired from a submarine for the first time.
In fact, floods in Andhra Pradesh and inclement weather in Balasore and Bhadrak districts, where the Integrated Test Range (ITR) is located, have cast a shadow on the trials of a series of indigenously-built missiles.
While the armed forces had planned to test-fire nuke-capable ballistic missile Prithvi-II and medium range surface-to-surface missile Agni-I, DRDO scientists were contemplating to carry out the first development trial of Nirbhay besides the trials of AAD interceptor and submarine-launched K-15.
The missiles were lined up for tests from the test facilities off the Odisha and Andhra Pradesh coasts in November and December. While Prithvi-II was earlier planned for November 4 and 6 test-fire, the AAD interceptor in deliverable configuration was scheduled for test on November 8, followed by K-15 missiles trial from a pontoon on November 20 and from submarine on November 30 off the Vizag coast.
A defence official said Agni-I was planned for trial in December first week and the maiden trial of Nirbhay missile would have been conducted during the same period. “But flash flood in Andhra Pradesh and incessant rains at the test facilities at Chandipur and Wheeler Island, off the Odisha coast, have delayed all the programmes. New dates for the trials have not been fixed,” he said.
Sources said the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the Indian Army had arrived at Chandipur much earlier than the rains which started here on November 3, but the preparations were hampered due to the inclement weather.
“Now the weather is changing along the Odisha coast and we hope the trials will be scheduled soon after normalcy is restored in AP. If everything goes as per the plan and programme, the trials would be conducted by year-end,” an official added.
The DRDO is focusing on the trials of Nirbhay, AAD interceptor and SLBM K-15. These are all GenNew and sophisticated weapons which would boost the country’s arsenal.
Meanwhile, the State police, Coast Guard and the coastal security groups have started a two-day coastal security exercise, code-named as ‘Operation Hamla’, as part of their mock drill, along the east coast, from Tuesday.