Jul 142012

NEW DELHI: India on Friday successfully conducted another test of the 700-km Agni-I nuclear-capable ballistic missile, designed with Pakistan in mind, from Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha.

The 15-metre tall Agni-I was test-fired by the tri-service Strategic Forces Command as part of a “training exercise to ensure preparedness”. “It was a textbook launch that met all mission objectives. The missile reached the target point in the Bay of Bengal following the prescribed trajectory,” DRDO chief controller (missiles and strategic systems) Avinash Chander said.

The missile test was conducted from a road-mobile launcher system and tracked by radar and telemetry stations located along the coastline. Two naval warships located near the impact point tracked the missile in the terminal phase of its flight.

The armed forces have already inducted Agni-I and Agni-II (2,500-km), which are both basically meant for Pakistan. The 3,000-km Agni-III, which is now under induction, the 3,500-km Agni-IV, tested for the first time last November, and the over 5,000-km Agni-V, tested for the first time in April, are geared towards meeting the threat from China.

The real challenge before the DRDO now is to ensure the country’s most ambitious missile, the three-stage Agni-V, which brings the whole of China within its strike envelope and propels India into the super-exclusive ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) club, becomes operational as soon as possible. But it will only be around 2015 that Agni-V will probably be capable of being deployed by the Strategic Forces Command.


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