Four missiles in the country’s most ambitious Agni series have been slated for flight tests in a month’s span.
Defence sources said the Strategic Forces Command of the Indian Army would carry out user trials of Agni-I, Agni-II and Agni-III, whereas Defence Research and Development Organisation would conduct the third developmental trial of Agni-IV.
All the four missiles would be test-fired from the Integrated Test Range at Wheeler Island off the Odisha coast. The tests have been scheduled in the wake of second successful experimental trial of the 5,000-km range Agni-V missile on September 15.
While preparation is in full swing for the user trial of Agni-I missile, which is likely on November 8 (earlier scheduled for November 7), the rest three would be tested in a gap of one week each.
The 12-tonne Agni-I has a strike range of 700-900 km. The 15-metre-long missile is powered by both solid and liquid propellants, which imparts it a speed of 2.5 km per second. The missile was first test-fired on January 25, 2002.
The 2,000-km range Agni-II missile is designed to be launched from a rail-mobile launcher, but it is also available in road-mobile configuration.
The missile is 20 metre long, has a diameter of one metre and weighs 16 tonnes. It can carry a payload of around 1,000 kg and has appropriate onboard thrusters fitted on the second stage. The missile was cleared for production after its induction in 2004.
Agni-III, capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads weighing up to 1.5 tonnes, is 17 metre tall and has a diameter of two meter.
It weighs around 50 tonnes. It is expected to be the mainstay of the country’s nuclear deterrence programme when fully operational.
The 3,000-km range missile was inducted into the armed forces in June 2011 and the next test would be its second user trial.
Having a strike range of around 4,000 km, the two-stage solid propelled Agni-IV missile is 20 meter tall and weighs around 17 tonnes. Compared to the Pershing missile of the US in terms of technology, the indigenously built missile has many cutting-edge technologies, which could meet global standards.
Agni series of missiles are part of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme of the country. While Agni-I, Agni-II and Agni-III have already been inducted into the armed forces, developmental trials of Agni-IV and 5,000-km range Agni-V are on track.
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