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Agni-II missile test-fired successfully

Y. Mallikarjun

— Photo courtesy: DRDO

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:Agni-II missile blasts off from Wheeler Island off Orissa coast on Monday.

HYDERABAD: After two successive setbacks, Agni-II surface-to-surface ballistic was successfully flight-tested from the Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast on Monday.

The intermediate range missile can carry nuclear weapons and has a range of more than 2000 km.

It was fired from a rail mobile launcher by personnel of the Strategic Forces Command at 9.18 a.m., as part of user training exercise.

After a flight of about 660 seconds, the missile splashed down near the pre-designated target in the Bay of Bengal and met all the mission objectives, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) officials said.

The missile's re-entry vehicle, made of carbon-carbon composites, withstood very high temperatures of up to 3,000 degree Celsius as it descended with a speed of 3.5 km/second after reaching a height of 230 km. It was tested for the full range.

Two down range naval ships tracked the missile reaching the target, while a network of radars, telemetry and electro-optical tracking systems along Orissa's coast, monitored its path and evaluated all parameters in real time. An advanced navigation system enabled Agni-II to reach the target very accurately. The missile has manoeuvring capability to deceive any anti-ballistic weapon system.

The missile was test-fired for the third time in last one year by the Strategic Forces Command. During the previous missions, the missile failed to meet the mission objectives after both the launches witnessed problems during the course of the flight. Monday's launch was preceded by successful test-firing of Agni-III (3,500 km range) in February and Agni-I (700 km) in March this year.

The two-stage solid-propelled Agni-II is one of the key weapon systems of the country's nuclear deterrence doctrine and had been inducted into the armed forces. It is 21 metres tall and capable of carrying a payload of one tonne.

Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister and Director-General of DRDO V.K. Saraswat reviewed the total operations and witnessed the launch along with senior DRDO officials and top brass from the Strategic Forces Command. Agni's programme director and director, Advanced Systems Laboratory, Avinash Chander monitored the overall pre-launch operations.

Defence Minister A. K. Antony congratulated all the DRDO scientists and armed forces personnel for the success of the mission.

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