Even as the inclement weather reportedly played spoilsport in scoring a success at the historic time 12:12:12 pm on 12-12-12, the DRDO and Indian Army successfully test-fired the nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-I from Wheeler Island off the Odisha coast.
The Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of Indian Army, which had initially planned to carry out the test at the magical time, advanced the test owing to possible rainfall at the test facility. The test was conducted at about 8.15 am.
A defence official said there was heavy rainfall at Dhamra and Wheeler Island on Tuesday evening and the weather was cloudy on Wednesday morning. “We decided to advance the test following a weather forecast of heavy downpour during the noon hour. Or else, we would have missed the historic date too,” he said.
Generally, the DRDO does not carry out tests of its long-range missiles amidst inclement weather conditions, as it is difficult to track the missile for its full length due to poor visibility in cloudy atmosphere. But it braved the rough weather condition and achieved success.
The missile with better re-entry technology and manoeuvrability was fired from a road mobile launcher positioned at the launching complex-IV. After a vertical lift-off from the launch pad, the missile rose into the sky leaving behind a ribbon of yellow smoke. Ground radars, telemetry stations and naval ships positioned close to the intended impact point monitored the course of the missile.
A defence official claimed that the flight was made for user’s trial and it has met all the mission objectives. “The test was to reconfirm the technical parameters set for the user associated launch and check the Army’s readiness to use it. The missile, which carried a dummy payload (conventional explosive), covered about 595 km,” he said.
DRDO chief and scientific advisor to Defence Minister V K Saraswat congratulated the defence personnel.