India has successfully test-fired its medium range nuclear capable Agni-II missile with a strike range of 2000 km as part of a user trial by the Army from the Wheeler Island off Odisha coast. This is the third successful training launch of the Agni-II missile and was conducted by Strategic Forces Command (SFC). After the 2009 debacle when the missile failed to get launched twice, the current tests will help cement DRDO’s design capabilities as well as the credibility of Indian missiles.
According to officials, the trial of the surface-to-surface Agni- II missile was conducted from a mobile launcher from the Launch Complex-4 of Integrated Test Range (ITR) yesterday. ITR Director MVKV Prasad has stated that all mission parameters were met during the trial of the indigenously developed missile. The Agni-II missile has already been introduced in the Indian armed forces after several successful trials earlier.
The current launch of the Agni-II missiles is called a user training exercise as opposed to the developmental flight conducted by state-run DRDO. The current Strategic Forces Command (SFC) launch had Indian Army units conducting the trial whilst DRDO provided logistical support. The entire trajectory of the trial 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 sea.
According to DRDO, the Agni-II missile reached its pre-designated target with the accuracy of a few metres. DRDO added that all the systems, Propulsion, Control, Actuators, On-Board Computers, Missile Interface Units and the Navigation, Guidance systems functioned as intended. The two-stage missile equipped with advanced high accuracy navigation system, guided by state-of-the-art command & control system was propelled by solid rocket propellant system.
The Agni-II Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) was developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory along with other DRDO laboratories and integrated by the Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL). The 20-metre long Agni-II is a two-stage, solid-propelled ballistic missile. It has a launch weight of 17 tonnes and can carry a payload of 1000 kg over a distance of 2000 km.
The Agni-II IRBM is part of the Agni series of missiles which includes Agni-I with a 700 km range, Agni-III with a 3,000 km range, Agni-IV and Agni-V. As for the Agni-III missile, it went into production earlier this year and reports suggest that an Agni III and Agni-IV test is scheduled for this year as well.