Thursday 12 December 2019, 03:35 AM
Second test of Agni-V missile by May end
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 4/26/2013 12:00:00 AM

New Delhi: Against the backdrop of a stand-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) along the 650-km Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir since April 15, India is preparing to carry out the second test of its long-range strategic, nuclear-capable Agni-V missile by the end of May this year that can hit targets beyond 5,000 km.

India had in April 2012 joined an elite league of nations that possess Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) technology by successfully test firing the Agni-V long-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile over 5,000-km range.

To validate the capability with further tests -- at least three or four more tests will be done before the missile gets into production and operational readiness -- Agni-V will be fired once again over the Bay of Bengal into the Indian Ocean from its test facility on the Odisha coast.

To be keenly watched by other powers in the region, the test comes at a time when around 30-odd Chinese People''s Liberation Army troopers have transgressed the LAC and pitched tents about 10-km inside Indian territory.

Sources told Bharat Defence Kavach that the second developmental test of the Agni-V is scheduled for a launch before June this year. The Agni series of missiles are developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), India''s lone military technology invention and innovation agency.

The April 19, 2012 successful test had put India in the super club comprising the United States, the United Kingdom, China, France and Russia as its sixth member.

The Agni-V, considered by strategic affairs specialists as a "game-changer" for India vis-a-vis China, has the range to hit deep inside Chinese territory, reaching capital Beijing and top financial centre Shanghai on the East China Sea coast with much ease.

While the preparation for the second Agni-V test has begun in right earnest, DRDO scientists are busy scheduling the launch sequence and sorting out technical and logistics issues.

Among the issues being sorted out include alerts to the international civil aviation sector on avoiding the airspace over the missile trajectory at particular hours on the launch date, apart from international maritime organisation for avoiding sea traffic.

Advisories too would be issued to the neighbouring countries in South East Asia and the Indian Ocean region such as Indonesia, Australia and Sri Lanka on the missile launch. The DRDO will also fix up with the Indian Navy for help in ship-mounted telemetry stations and the newly-acquired Israeli radars out at sea on given dates to track the missile during its flight and impact.

The surface-to-surface missile will be launched from a road-mobile canister. The 50-tonne missile can carry a payload of 1.5 tonne. The 17-metre-long, 2-metre wide missile, at present, is designed to carry a single warhead, be it conventional or nuclear.

However, in the future, India would have an advanced missile with Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles (MIRV) technology that will be under the Agni-VI project. The MIRV will enable the Agni missile to carry multiple warheads to inflict maximum damage at different targets, all at the same time.

The MIRV, which is under development, will enhance the lethality of the Agni missile, as anywhere between two to 10 warheads would be carried by one missile and each of the warheads can be configured to hit different targets several hundred kilometres away from each other. If need be, all of the warheads can be also be assigned to a single target to inflict maximum damage.

Agni-V''s significance is that it would be the most potent missile in India''s arsenal with the longest range and maximum warheads.

However, considering India''s nuclear ''no-first-use'' policy, Agni-V is meant only as a deterrent and if that deterrence fails, then as a second strike option.

Dspite the distance Agni-V can go provides India the capability to hit deep inside China, New Delhi has maintained that the weapon is not targeted at Beijing or "any specific country".

India has also maintained that the Agni-V missile and its range was a requirement felt in view of the threat perceptions that were worked out, considering the challenges posed to it in its immediate neighbourhood. This was also the reason DRDO has been maintaining that it would not require an ICBM, as it has no threat from beyond the Asian and Indian Ocean security matrix.

In the first test done on April 19 last year, Agni-V lifted off from Wheeler Island around 8 am and after a 20-minute flight, its nose-cone carrying a dummy payload impacted near the pre-designated target area in the Indian Ocean between Australia and Madagascar with an accuracy of few meters.

The missile, during its flight, cut a ballistic path into space reaching 600-km altitude before rapidly descending back into the earth''s atmosphere.

The smooth test saw the missile''s three stages ignited with clockwork precision before the re-entry vehicle was injected into the earth''s atmosphere at an altitude of 100 km with a velocity touching 6,000 metres per second, withstanding temperatures of nearly 3,000 degree Celsius.

The second Agni-V test will come within two months of the already-operational Agni-II tests held on April 7 this year. Agni-3 missile of 3000 plus kilo meters range has already inducted into the service. Similarly Agni-1 of 750 km range and Agni-2 of  2000 km range have also been inducted by the user. 

The nuclear-capable, 2,000-km range Agni-II was successfully test-fired from the Wheeler Island''s mobile launcher at the Launch Complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range.

The Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) is already inducted into the armed forces service. The latest test was carried out by troopers from the nuclear-arsenal-holding Strategic Forces Command (SFC) as part of their regular training.

The logistics support for the SFC''s practice launch was given by the DRDO scientists, who were present there to gather critical data that could be used by them for future reference purposes and to measure the shelf-life of its missile systems.

The two-stage Agni-II missile is equipped with advanced high accuracy navigation system and is guided by a novel scheme of state of the earth command and control system.

Propelled by solid rocket propellant system, the Agni-II missile''s entire trajectory during the flight was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, telemetry observation stations, electro-optic instruments and naval ships located near the impact point in the down range area of the Bay of Bengal.

The 20-metre-long ballistic missile has a launch weight of 17 tonnes and can carry both conventional and nuclear payload of 1,000 kg.

Agni-II is developed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) and integrated by the Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), both based in Hyderabad.

 Agni series is part of India''s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) under which Prithvi, Akash, and Nag have been developed by DRDO. Development of Trishul, also part of the IGMDP, was discontinued in 2008.

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Second test of Agni-V missile by May end

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