BALASORE: The Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of Indian Army on Friday test-fired nuclear tipped surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) Agni-I from a defence test facility off Odisha’s Bhadrak coast.
The missile with better re-entry technology and manoeuvrability was fired at about 10.02 AM from a road mobile launcher at the launching complex-IV located in Abdul Kalam Island (Wheeler Island). This was fifth missile test in six days.
After a vertical lift-off from the launch pad, the Agni-I 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.
Indian Army regularly conducts user trials of the missile mainly to train the user team to launch the missile. This test was conducted by the SFC personnel with logistic support from Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
However, there is no official confirmation from the SFC authorities or the DRDO about the outcome of this trial. While the local ITR authorities were tight-lipped, a couple of senior DRDO officials did not respond calls from ‘The Express’.
The test was however carried out 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) was picked up randomly from the production lot.
The 12-tonne Agni-I has a strike range of 700-900 km. Compared it its longer-range cousins, its height is just 15 metres and it is powered both solid and liquid propellants, which imparts it a speed of 2.5 km per second. It can carry both conventional and nuclear payload of about 1,000 kg. The missile was first test-fired on January 25, 2002.
It can be blasted off from both road and rail mobile launchers.
Prior to the test, armed security personnel in power boats were engaged to patrol around the Wheeler Island and fishermen were warned not to venture into the sea. Heavy security arrangements also were made along the seacoast.
On April 12, last year the SFC had scripted success by test-launching Agni-I for the first time in the mid night. The missile was test launched at about 11.10 pm from the then Wheeler Island and met all mission parameters successfully.
Earlier this week, while the DRDO had conducted a developmental trial of AAD interceptor missile from Abdul Kalam Island on Sunday and the Navy carried a user trial of Dhanush ballistic missile from a warship anchored offshore Puri coast on Tuesday, another user trial of Prithvi-II ballistic missile was conducted by the SFC on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the SFC personnel successfully carried out first ejection test of an underwater missile from India’s home-grown nuclear powered submarine INS Arihant from an undisclosed location in the Bay of Bengal.