BHUBANESWAR: While all eyes are on the last experimental test of long range nuclear tipped missile Agni-V by DRDO on Monday, the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the armed forces has planned a user trial of most advanced ballistic missile Agni-IV early next month.
Defence sources said the 4,000-km range Agni-IV missile, which uses many cutting edge technologies to meet global standards, has been scheduled to be test-fired from Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast on January 2.
"DRDO scientists are busy preparing for Agni-V test which will be launched from a hermitically sealed canister mounted on a Tatra launcher vehicle. Thereafter, the SFC personnel would make the Agni-IV ready to be fired from the same launching complex,’’ said an official.
While induction of Agni-V, known as a game-changer, in the armed forces depends on the outcome of second test from a canister, successful test of Agni-IV missile would lead to its series of production from next year.
"Besides, it would help in checking the readiness of armed forces to launch the missile on its own,’’ the official said.
Though short in range compared to its elder sibling, Agni-IV incorporates many new technologies including navigation and propulsion. It weighs less compared to Agni-III which has a strike range of around 3,000-km. While Agni-III is about 46 tonnes, Agni-IV is only 17 tonne.
The two-stage, 20-metre tall solid propelled missile can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads up to one tonne. It can be fired from both rail and road mobile launchers within minutes while the quick reaction timing of the weapon system gives it more flexibility and wide range of operational success.
Of the six tests so far, the missile has achieved high accuracy five times barring the first test (launched as Agni-II prime) which ended up in a failure.
A scientist said Agni-IV is designed to increase the kill efficiency along with a higher range of performance. ‘’The missile is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies that include indigenously developed ring laser gyro and composite rocket motor, which makes it different from other weapon systems in its class,’’ he said.
DRDO is now planning to develop a shorter range variant of the Agni series having the capability to hit the target 500 km away. The new missile would incorporate the technologies that are used in Agni-IV.