In a major boost to India's strategic missile programme, its Defence researchers have successfully tested a nuclear-capable Agni-4 surface-to-surface missile with capability to hit targets 4,000-km away.
The Agni-4 test was carried out from a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) facility on Wheeler's Island in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of Odisha in eastern India.
"DRDO-developed, 4000-km range nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-4 was successfully flight tested from Wheeler’s Island around 1135 hours," a DRDO official said.
This was the second successful test of the Agni-4 missile, the previous one held in November 2011. The first test conducted in December 2010 had ended in a failure.
India had already tested Agni-5, a long range ballistic nuclear-capable missile that can hit target at over 5,500 km range.
Agni-4 was test-fired from a road mobile launcher from complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR).
"The trial was successful and the missile reached the pre-defined target in about 20 minutes," DRDO officials said, adding Defence Minister AK Antony congratulated the Defence scientists for the success.
"This long-range missile is propelled by composite rocket motor technology and was tested for its full capability," they said.
The missile equipped with state-of-the-art avionics, fifth generation on-board computer and distributed architecture. It has the latest features to correct and guide for in-flight disturbances.
The most accurate Ring Laser Gyro-based Inertial Navigation System (RINS), supported by highly-reliable redundant Micro Navigation System (MINGS), ensured the vehicle reached the target within two digit accuracy, officials said.
The re-entry heat shield withstood temperatures of more than 3000 degree Centigrade and made sure the avionics function normally with inside temperature less than 50 degree Centigrade, they added.
All Electro-Optical Tracking Systems (EOTS) and radars located all along the coast tracked and monitored all the parameters throughout the flight.
Two Indian warships located near the target point tracked the vehicle and witnessed the final event of impact.
"It is equipped with modern and compact avionics to provide high level of reliability," a DRDO official said.
"The state-of-the-art Ring Laser Gyros-based high accuracy INS (RINS) and Micro Navigation System (MINGS) complementing each other in redundant mode were incorporated into the missile system in guidance mode," he said.
The sophisticated missile is lighter in weight and has two stages of solid propulsion. The missile is 20 metres long and has a launch weight of 17 tonne. It can carry a payload of one tonne.
The launch activities were reviewed and guided by DRDO chief VK Saraswat and Agni programme director Avinash Chander. Agni-4 project director Tessy Thomas led the operation team of scientists.
The test was also witnessd by Research Centre Imarat Director SK Chaudhuri, Defence Reseach and Development Laboratory Director AK Chakrabarti, Advanced System Laboratory Director VG Sekaran, ITR Director MVKV Prasad.