Agni-III successfully test fired, ready for induction (Third Lead)

February 7th, 2010 - 6:42 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Bhadrak, Feb 7 (IANS) India Sunday successfully test-fired its indigenous nuclear-capable Agni-III missile with a range of over 3,000-km and which can hit targets deep in China, paving the way for its induction in the armed forces.
The successful test-firing of the Agni-III consolidates India’s position among a select group of nations that have intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) capability.

The Sunday test was its fourth and last pre-induction trial. “Now the missile system will be inducted in the armed forces,” an official said in the national capital.

The missile, which is capable of carrying warheads weighing up to 1.5 tonnes, was tested from the Inner Wheeler Island at Dhamra, a launch site in Bhadrak district, about 200 km from Orissa capital Bhubaneswar, at 10.50 a.m. Two ships located near the target tracked and witnessed the missile reaching the target accurately.

This is the fourth test of the country’s most powerful missile which has the capability to hit deep inside China, bringing cities like Shanghai and Beijing within its potent reach.

The missile has a two-stage solid propellant system. During the course of flight, the missile reached a peak height of 350 km and re-entered the atmosphere successfully, tolerating surface temperatures that reached nearly 3,000 degree Celsius.

“The test was highly successful. It met all the mission objectives. All the events took place as expected,” S.P. Dash, director of the Integrated Test Range (ITR), told IANS from the site after the test.

“The launch is part of the pre-induction trials. The Indian Army (the user) has carried out the total launch operations guided by the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) scientists,” an official said.

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 May 9, 2008, and both the tests were successful.

Agni-III, one of the Agni series missiles, has a length of 17 metres, a diameter of 2 metres and a launch weight of 50 tonnes.

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.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony termed the test of Agni-III as a remarkable achievement and congratulated DRDO chief V.K. Saraswat and other scientists for making it a success.

More than a hundred defence scientists witnessed the Sunday test. They included Saraswat and Avinash Chandra, director of the Agni-III programme.

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