New Delhi: Achieving a giant feat and adding a decisive teeth to its arsenal of nuclear capable ballistic missiles, India’s 4,000-km range nuclear weapons-capable strategic missile, Agni-IV was successfully test-fired from the Wheeler Island off Odisha coast on Monday. The Army’s Strategic Forces Command, which is entrusted with the task of handling strategic weapons, launched the missile at 9.45 a.m. from a road-mobile launcher.
The missile which is designed to carry a one-tonne payload covered a range of more than 3,500 km on Monday, before splashing down in the Bay of Bengal. “Flight was successful and it met all the mission parameters”, A Defence Research and Development Organisation official told The Hindu.
All the radar stations, telemetry and electro-optical systems along the East Coast monitored the performance of the missile during the entire operation. After accelerating to a height of about 600 km, the re-entry vehicle with a dummy payload withstood scorching temperatures as it re-entered the atmosphere and splashed down near the pre-designated area in the Bay of Bengal.
The two-stage solid-propelled, surface-to-surface ballistic missile is designed to carry a one-tonne payload to a distance of 4,000 km. Advanced ring laser gyro-based Inertial Navigation system and Micro Inertial Navigation System in redundant mode guided the missile to reach its pre-designated target area.
Top DRDO scientists and scientific adviser to Defence Minister G. Satheesh Reddy were also present the trial launch of the missile from Wheeler Island.This is the fifth flight-trial of Agni-IV, originally called Agni Prime. Except the first trial, the three subsequent launches were successful. Agni-IV is a two-stage missile. It is 20 metres long and weighs 17 tonnes.
It was last flight-tested in December 2014 for a reduced range of 3,000 km. K-4, another strategic missile that can be fired from submarines, is under development. It has a range of 3,000 km.