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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

After Agni success, other versions to be tested

Buoyed by the successful trial of country’s longest range and most powerful Agni-III missile, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is planning user trials of two other versions of Agni series of missiles.

Developmental trials of an interceptor missile and submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) K-15 have also been listed.

Sources at the defence base in Chandipur on Monday said, the interceptor missile is scheduled to be fired from the Wheelers Island test facilities on either February 18 or 19. While the K-15 missile will be tested from a pontoon off the Andhra Pradesh coast during the second week of March, Agni-I and Agni- II will be tested in April and May respectively.

‘’The successful trial of Agni-III missile validating the guidance system has propelled the DRDO scientists to go for a series of tests in the next three months. Last year the DRDO had drawn flak for the fiasco over the consecutive failures of Agni-II missile’s user trial,’’ said the source.

As part of preparing the ballistic missile defence (BMD) shield, the interceptor missile aims to protect the populated areas and vital installations like nuclear power stations and oil wells.

The missile shield has highly sensitive radars to track incoming hostile missiles.

The test will mark the completion of the first phase of the programme and it will secure operational clearance by 2012-13, said a defence official. The interceptor test will be followed by the test-firing of nuke-capable K-15 missile off Visakhapatnam coast. Defence sources said, although designed to be solely launched from a submarine, the missile will be test-fired from a pontoon.

Later, the user trial of 2,000 km plus range Agni-II missile will be conducted by the Army. The Agni-II has a length of 21 metres, a diameter of 1.3 metres and weighs 19 tonnes.

Having South China as the main target, the missile is designed to carry a one-tonne weapon. ‘’Scientists are working overtime to fix the problem within the A-II system and hope it will be soon sorted out,’’ said a scientist. The test will be preceded by a user trial of Agni- I missile which has a strike range of 700-900 km. (source expressbuzz)