BALASORE: Tays after China flight-tested an upgraded version of its 10,000-km range Dongfeng-31B missile, which could reach most of the US and European cities, India is all set for the first canister-launch of Agni-V missile in a bid to reinforce its nuclear deterrence.
Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Agni-V could target all of Asia and parts of Africa and Europe. It is part of the Agni series of missiles developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.
Defence sources said the Agni-V test would be followed by trials of two other variants of Agni missiles and indigenous subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay, whose first test had failed last year. Though the test schedules have not been finalised, Agni-V is expected to be launched by this month-end. “After the developmental test, the DRDO is likely to carry out the first user associate launch of 4,000-km Agni-IV missile and the armed forces would conduct a user trial of 2,000-km Agni-II missile. Both the tests are being planned in November, followed by the second test of Nirbhay missile,” the sources informed.
Preparation has begun at Wheeler Island test facility off the Odisha coast for the proposed test-firing. In June, the DRDO scientists had successfully carried out the final missile ejection test from a canister in simulated conditions. However, all the parameters would have to be met during the actual launch. Earlier, the Agni-V missile has been tested successfully twice from mobile launchers. While its first test was conducted on April 19, 2012, the second one was carried out on September 15 last year from the launching complex-IV of the Integrated Test Range. With a canister-launch system to impart higher road mobility, the missile would give the armed forces greater operational flexibility than the earlier-generation of Agni missiles.