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Hat-trick for missile technologists, armed forces

Y. Mallikarjun

— PHOTO: DRDO

Successful launch:Agni-I lifting off from a mobile launcher at Wheeler's Island, off the Orissa coast, on Sunday.

HYDERABAD:In a hat-trick for missile technologists and the armed forces in the last two days, Agni-I, which can carry nuclear weapons and has range of 700 km, was flight-tested successfully from the Wheeler's Island, off the Orissa coast, on Sunday.

The ship-based Dhanush and Prithvi-II were test-fired in a salvo mode on Saturday.

The medium range surface-to-surface Agni-I, fired at 1.07 hours from a mobile launcher, homed in on the target within a few metres of accuracy as it splashed down in the Bay of Bengal.

The launch was carried out by Army personnel as part of a training exercise.

Best-ever launch

Describing it as one of the best-ever launches, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) officials said the specialised navigation and guidance system enabled the missile to reach the target with a high degree of accuracy after a 500-second flight duration.

During the course of the flight, it reached an altitude of 300 km and re-entered the atmosphere, withstanding high temperatures of more than 2,000 degree Celsius, as specially-developed heat shields provided protection to the electronic components and the payload.

The radars and electro-optical tracking system along the coast monitored the missile's path and trajectory-related parameters in real time.

Two down-range naval ships, about 700 km from the Wheeler's Island, tracked the missile reaching the target.

Features

The 14-metre tall Agni-I is a single stage, solid-propelled weapon system. It can carry a payload of 1,000 kg.

It is equipped with features to defeat the enemy's anti-ballistic missile system.

The Agni series of missiles form the mainstay of India's nuclear deterrence programme.

The launch operations were monitored by Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister and DRDO Director-General V.K. Saraswat, Programme Director (Agni) and Director of the Advanced Systems Laboratory Avinash Chander, Director of the Research Centre (Imarat) S.K. Ray, and Director of the Defence Research and Defence Laboratory P. Venugopalan.

Dr. Saraswat congratulated the Army and DRDO teams for the successful launch.

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