Marking a hat-trick of achievements in the past one week, India successfully flight-tested Intermediate range, nuclear weapons-capable Agni-II surface-to-surface missile for its full range of over 2,000 km from Balasore, Orissa on Friday.
The missile was fired from a rail mobile launcher by the Army’s Strategic Force Command personnel at 9.30 a.m. as part of a training exercise after it was picked up from the production lot.
After a 10-minute flight, the 21-metre tall Agni-II reached the pre-defined target in the Bay of Bengal with precision and accuracy, a top Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) official told The Hindu from Balasore soon after completion of the mission.
Two naval ships located near the target point, electro-optical and telemetry systems tracked the missile’s flight path and its final moments.
Agni-II has been developed by the DRDO as part of the medium and long-range surface-to-surface missiles and is one of the main weapon systems of India’s nuclear deterrence doctrine. The two-stage solid-propelled missile can carry a payload of one tonne and is equipped with an advanced navigation system and anti-ballistic defence counter measures. It has already been inducted into the Armed Forces.
Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister V.K. Saraswat described it a dream launch and one of the finest copy-book launches of Agni-II. All the performance parameters of the mission such as velocity, terminal phase, trajectory and destruction of the warhead went as per copybook profile.
Avinash Chander, Chief Controller, (Missiles and Strategic Systems), DRDO said that in the wake of two failures of Agni-II and one of Agni-II Prime earlier, a number of steps were taken to improve the quality. He said a specialist dedicated quality control agency did a good job of overcoming the control problems in the first stage.
V.G.Sekharan, Director, Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) said the main aim was to ensure that the user could launch and that was achieved. “We always knew that this was a good missile”, he said.Y. MALLIKARJUN
T.S. SUBRAMANIAN,the hindu