BHUBANESWAR: Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) Agni-II finally cleared its night trial. After almost a decade of the first attempt in 2009, the nuclear-capable missile was successfully flight tested by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of Indian Army on Saturday evening.
Mounted on a mobile launcher, the indigenously developed strategic weapon system with an intended strike range of 2000 km was test-fired from the launching complex-IV of Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast at about 7.30 pm.
Defence sources said it was second mission of Agni-II in the night and the trial was conducted in full operational configuration as part of user training exercise.
The surface-to-surface missile, already inducted in the Armed Forces, carried a dummy payload.
“The missile, fired for a reduced range, covered a distance of around 740 km before reaching the area of impact with a few metre accuracy. It was a fantastic mission accomplished. The test was aimed at providing the Army requisite confidence to fire the missile and check its operational readiness,” a defence official told The Express.
The entire trajectory of the missile was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, telemetry observation stations, electro-optic instruments and two Naval ships located near the impact point in the downrange area of Bay of Bengal.
Developed by DRDO under Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme, the two-stage solid-propelled Agni-II is one of the key weapon systems of the country’s nuclear deterrence doctrine.
Both stages of the missile have solid propulsion system, which allows the missile to be mobile and flexible. The 21 metre tall missile is capable of carrying a payload of about one tonne. It has appropriate on-board thrusters fitted on the second stage.
Though designed to be launched from rail-mobile launcher, Agni-II can also be fired in road-mobile configuration, which lends flexibility to the weapon system and reduces vulnerability to first strike.
In the first attempt on November 23, 2009 night, the missile had plunged into the sea after covering less than 100 km in 41 seconds. Control and command system in the fins that provides aero-dynamic thrust to the vehicle was locked leading to the debacle.
Agni-II forms the triad of the country’s minimum credible nuclear deterrence along with Agni-I, Agni-III, Agni-IV and Agni-V. The missile is a ready-to-fire missile with a launch time of about 15 minutes.