India successfully tests its longest-range n-capable missile (Lead)

May 7th, 2008 - 5:34 pm ICT by admin  

By Jatindra Dash
Bhadrak (Orissa), May 7 (IANS) India Wednesday successfully tested its longest-range nuclear capable missile Agni-III, catapulting the country into the select group of nations that have intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBM). Adding another dimension to the nation’s arsenal, Agni-III with a range of 3,000 km is a mobile system capable of being launched from anywhere in India. Its range includes major cities in China, apart from all of south Asia.

Agni-III, which is capable of carrying warheads weighing up to 1.5 tonnes, was tested at exactly 9.56 a.m. from the Inner Wheeler Island at Dhamra, a launch site in Bhadrak district, about 200 km from Orissa capital Bhubaneswar.

“It was a text book launch and followed the trajectory with single digit guidance accuracy. All the subsystems of the missile functioned in a copybook manner giving an outstanding integrated performance of the missile in terms of range and accuracy,” a defence ministry statement said.

The missile reached the pre-designated target in 800 seconds, reaching a peak height of 350 km with a velocity of more than 4 km per second. Two Indian Navy ships positioned near the target location south of the equator have confirmed the impact of the missile.

“It was a perfect launch and the missile has passed development phase,” director of Integrated Test Range (ITR) S.P Dash told IANS from the site after the test.

“The missile was tracked by various telemetry stations, electro optic systems and radars located along the coast, Port Blair (in Andaman and Nicobar islands) and by the downrange ships positioned near the target location. The data from the various stations is transmitted in real time through an advanced communication network of DRDO (Defence Research and Deevelopment Organisation) for online performance evaluation and range safety,” the statement said.

Agni-III, one of the Agni series missiles, is a two stage solid propellant missile with a length 17 metres, diameter of 2 metres and launch weight of 50 tonnes.

The missile re-enters the atmosphere at very high velocity and then faces a deceleration of more than 35 times the force of gravity, raising its temperature above 2,500 degrees Celsius. The payload is protected by a carbon-carbon all composite heat shield.

This was the third test of the missile. The first test, from the same defence base on July 9, 2006 was unsuccessful - the second stage of the rocket had failed to separate from the missile quickly enough and the missile had fallen short of its target.

The DRDO-developed missile was tested again on April 12, 2007 and was successful this time.

According to officials, the missile is equipped with sophisticated navigation, guidance and control systems along with advanced distributed architecture based On board computer systems. The electronic systems are hardened for higher vibration, thermal and acoustic effects.

A high performance indigenous ring laser gyro based navigation system was flight tested for the first time in Agni missile systems.

While Agni-I is a 750-800 km short-range missile, Agni-II has a range of more than 1,500 km. Both have already been inducted into the armed forces.

At least 200 scientists witnessed Wednesday’s test. They included V.K. Saraswat, chief controller DRDO and Avinash Chandra, director of the Agni-III programme.

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