Preparations have begun at the Wheeler Island test facility off Odisha coast for the second developmental trial of 5000-km range ballistic missile Agni-V. The DRDO is likely to test-fire the nuclear capable surface-to-surface missile on September 15.
The missile, considered as a ‘game changer’, will be launched from the launching complex-IV of the Wheeler Island. More than 300 scientists from several laboratories of the DRDO across the nation are camping here for assembling the missile and integrating it with the launcher.
Although the missile, which has made the country a member of the elite club of six nations including the US, UK, China, France and Russia having intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities, was planned to be tested earlier, but the schedule was delayed reportedly due to the change of guard at the DRDO and other ‘unavoidable’ reasons.
A successful launch of the missile would push a step forward towards its induction in the Defence Forces though it has to undergo two more trials before it is inducted, possibly in 2015.
India’s longest range indigenously built missile Agni-V was successfully test-fired on April 19 last year. The test launch was made from a rail mobile launcher. The flight time lasted 20 minutes and the third stage fired the re-entry vehicle into the atmosphere at an altitude of 100 kms.
The surface-to-surface canister-launched missile, which can carry a payload of one tonne is 17-metre long, 2-metre wide and weighs about 50 tonnes. DRDO scientists are leaving no stone unturned for the successful launch of the missile. “We are keen on repeating the success that we had achieved during the last trial. Objective of the test is to gauge the performance of the missile’s guidance system and other sub-systems which have been upgraded to achieve high accuracy,” said an official.
A number of new technologies developed indigenously have been incorporated in the Agni-V mission. The redundant navigation systems, very high accuracy Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System (RINS) and the most modern and accurate Micro Navigation System (MINS) would help the missile reach the target point.
Prior to the test, a series of security measures will be undertaken to ensure that it does not affect the international air and maritime traffic in the test zone. Indian Navy warships, with tracking and monitoring systems would be positioned midway and near the impact point in the southern region of Indian Ocean to track the missile.
The Agni-V test will be followed by third experimental trial of 3,500 km range Agni-IV missile. The weapon will be tested from the same test facility.