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Agni-III to be launched on May 7

HYDERABAD: The long-range nuclear-capable, surface-to-surface Agni-III ballistic missile is scheduled to be launched on May 7 from the Integrated Test Range on Wheeler Island, off the Orissa coast.

This will be the third test of the missile having a range of more than 3,500 km. The first conducted on July 9, 2006 failed to meet the mission objectives, while the second trial held on April 12, 2007 ended in a roaring success.

Top DRDO sources told The Hindu on Sunday that the proposed launch would be a “validation test” for higher performance in terms of weight and payload capacity. Apart from new software for navigation and guidance controls to achieve better accuracy, an improved re-entry material would be tested.

High-temperature navigation antennae, developed specially for the system, are among other new features that the missile will carry on-board. “We need different materials since it will be flying at a much higher speed.”

The final integration checks on various systems and sub-systems of the missile are on at ITR and likely to be completed by Monday when it will be moved to the launch pad. Low-end and high-end parameters of various components including navigation and guidance control systems, electronic packages are being checked to see they are within the specified limits. Although the launch is slated for May 7, sources said the window period was up to May 9. The test is likely to be the last developmental flight trial in the Agni-III series.

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