The second user trial of India’s China specific missile Agni-III has been deferred, courtesy cyclone Madi. The surface-to-surface ballistic missile, which was scheduled for launch on December 18, is likely to be test fired on December 23 from a defence base off the Odisha coast.
Defence sources said preparation for the launching of the country’s most potent missile Agni-III was near complete at the Wheeler Island test facility and the missile was expected to be flight-tested in full operational configuration with a dummy payload.
Though the 3,000-km range weapon was earlier planned to be tested on Wednesday, the downrange ship carrying tracking equipments could not reach the point of impact due to the tropical cyclone MADI formed over west-central Bay of Bengal.
“The cyclone turned southwest on December 10 and started moving towards the coast of south-eastern states. Though it weakened later, the ship was not sent due to the alert from the Met office thereby hampering the launch preparations,” said an official.
While the missile integration is on full swing, tracking systems have been dispatched to their places of deployment. If everything goes as per the programme, the official said the indigenously built nuclear tipped long range missile, which has already been inducted in the armed forces, would be fired on Monday.
The trial to be conducted by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the Army is one from its limited stock production (LSP) series.
The test will be followed by the third developmental of 4,000-km range Agni-IV and maiden trial of 3,500-km range submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) K-4 in January next year.