India test fires N-capable Agni-IV missile

Balasore: Giving a boost to its missile programme, India today successfully test-fired a new variant of the nuclear-capable Agni ballistic missile with a strike range of 3,000 km from an island off Chandipur  coast. Now christened Agni-IV, the trial of the surface-to- surface intermediate range missile from a mobile launcher at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) was a "complete success," Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) spokesman Ravi Kumar Gupta told PTI.

"The new generation missile met all mission parameters and successfully covered the 3,000 km range," he said after the flight test at around 0900 hours from Wheeler Island, about 100 km from here. The range of missile can be boosted to 3,500 km, he said. Earlier known as `Agni-II Prime,` the new Agni-IV has been endowed with a whole lot of new technological features and advanced systems to ensure improved performance, Gupta said.

Agni-IV missile is a two-stage weapon system powered by solid propellant. It is 20 metres long and the launch weight is 17 tonnes. It can carry one tonne pay-load. Different aspects of the missile`s exact performance were being ascertained by analysing data collected from various telemetry and tracking stations as well as naval ships positioned near the terminal point.

"The indigenously developed new generation `Agni-IV` series missile would have better accuracy and improved range," defence sources said. "While the Agni-II missile has a strike range of 2000 km and Agni-III can hit a target at a distance of up to 3500 km, this new Agni-IV would bridge the gap between Agni-II and Agni-III," they said.

In terms of accuracy, "some more improved features have been incorporated into it," a DRDO scientist said. Earlier, developmental trial of Agni-II Prime, conducted on December 10, 2010, had failed due to some technical problems in the control system. It deviated from its trajectory within seconds of its lift-off from the same base and had plunged into the sea.