India is gearing up to conduct the second experimental test of 5000-km range nuclear capable missile Agni-V from a defence base off Odisha coast early next month. The decision comes after the man behind Agni missiles Avinash Chander assumed charge as Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister.
Though the missile was initially planned to be tested in May and then deferred to June, the change of guard at the DRDO reportedly delayed the preparation. The proposed test assumes significance as the weapon is the country’s most potent and longest range missile.
Preparations are on at the Wheeler Island test facility in Bhadrak district from where the missile would be test launched. “The missile components have already been brought to the base. The launch pad is being readied and simultaneously the weapon integrated,” said the source.
Similarly, tracking instruments including long range radars and Electro-Optical Tracking Systems (EOTS) have been dispatched to be positioned at the required places to monitor movement of the missile. There will also be tracking set up on board a war ship.
DRDO is waiting for a successful test like its maiden test on April 19 last year. “We are looking forward to a good flight of the missile. After this, we would go for another trial at the end of this year or early next year before going for its induction in the armed forces,” said a defence official.
The Agni-V missile is an advanced long-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile capable of being launched within minutes from a self-contained road mobile launcher. In terms of technologies, it is the country’s most advanced strategic missile and incorporates many new indigenously developed technologies.
A DRDO scientist said the new technologies incorporated in the missile system have ensured a very high level of accuracy, high reliability and light weight. Its first successful flight test has brought India at par with the elite group of six advanced countries including US, UK, China, France and Russia, possessing such deterrence capability. The missile which can carry a payload of 1.5 tonne is 17 metre long, 2 metre wide and weighs around 50 tonnes. DRDO is reportedly working to equip the missile with Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs) through which each missile can carry 2 to 10 separate nuclear warheads and strike at different places. Chander told this paper on Monday that the missile would be test-fired shortly, but date had not been fixed. “However, test is not possible this month,” he informed.