BHUBANESWAR: After the success of Inter-continental range Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Agni-V pre-induction test, Indian Army is reportedly readying for a fresh user trial of its shorter range Agni-I this month. The Strategic Forces Command (SFC) will carry out the test from a defence base off Odisha coast.
Agni-I is the first missile in the country’s most ambitious Agni series designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The nuke-capable missile can destroy targets up to 700 km away.
Sources said as the missile has already been inducted in the Army, this trial will be from its Limited Stock Production (LSP) series for which one missile system will be randomly selected from a bunch of missiles and put to test.
“The test is aimed at reconfirming the technical parameters set for the user (Army) and establishing the weapon system’s reliability of demonstrating its robustness. There has been considerable improvements in its re-entry technology and manoeuvrability,” said a defence official.
Agni-I is a short-range and surface-to-surface ballistic missile capable of delivering nuclear warhead. Compared it its longer-range cousins, its height is just 15 metres and it 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 and since then several trails have been conducted. It is designed to bridge the gap between indigenously built short-range Prithvi and medium range Agni-II that has a range of more than 2,000 km. Both the weapon system have already deployed in the Army.
Agni-I can be launched from both road and rail mobile launchers. The missile weighs around 12 tonnes and can carry both conventional and nuclear payload of about 1000 kg. Weighing less but having the same thrust, the missile has added acceleration.
The DRDO had launched the Agni project in 1983 as part of the country’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme and the first test flight of the Agni series was conducted on May 22, 1989 when the 2000-km range Agni-II was test-fired.