The Army on Thursday successfully conducted a user trial of the nuclear-capable ballistic missile from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) off the Odisha coast. This was seventh trial of the missile.
The indigenously built missile was test-fired by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the Army from complex-IV of the Wheeler Island at about 8.46 am as part of its ‘training exercise’.
The test was aimed at providing the Army with the capability to fire surface-to-surface missile on its own without the help of defence scientists.
The missile after blasting off from a mobile launcher travelled in the pre-coordinated projectile. After a flight of nearly 600 seconds, the missile splashed down near the pre-designated target in the Bay of Bengal and met all the mission objectives, DRDO officials said.
Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister and DRDO Chief V K Saraswat said all the systems, propulsion, control, actuators, on-board computers, missile interface units and the navigation, guidance systems functioned fully to the perfection and ensured the vehicle reached the target within few meters of accuracy.
The successful trial has boosted the confidence of the DRDO as it was the third triumphant trial in a row by the SFC after twin debacles in 2009. Saraswat said the test has proved the reliability over the missile. The missile’s re-entry vehicle, made of carbon-carbon composites, withstood very high temperatures of up to 3,000 degree Celsius as it descended with a speed of 3.5 km/second after reaching a height of over 200 km.
Two down range Naval ships tracked the missile reaching the target, while a network of radars, telemetry and electro-optical tracking systems along Odisha’s coast, monitored its path and evaluated all parameters in real time. The two-stage solid-propelled Agni-II is one of the key weapon systems of the country’s nuclear deterrence doctrine and had already been inducted into the Armed forces since 2004.
Director of Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) V G Sekaran, Director of Research Center Imarat (RCI) S K Chaudhary, ITR Director MVKV Prasad, senior scientist Satish Kumar and Chairman of RAC D N Reddy were present during the launch.