Preparations over for ICBM Agni-V test flight

Balasore: The stage is set for the maiden test flight of India`s 5000km-range Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile(ICBM), Agni-V tomorrow. The test-fire would be conducted from Launch Pad Number Four at the Wheeler Island of Dhamara test range.

The missile scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) would face the toughest test as the indigeneously built missile would have to reach inter-continental distances and survive great temperatures as it reenters the earth`s atmosphere and seeks to hit the target precisively. The 17-metre long solid fuel powered three-stage Agni-V missile could carry a payload up to 1,100 Kg. It could use a nuclear warhead as well.

The DRDO scientists have already proven most of the technological capability in Agni-IV which has a range of 3,500Km capacity. However, it has  to be extended to higher temperatures in Agni-V. The re-entry temperature for Agni-Iv was from a high of 3,000 degree Celcius to 50 degree celcius while in the case of Agni-V it will be 5,000 degree Celcius to a climb down of 50 degrees.

Missiles re-enter earth`s atmosphere, unlike re-entry space shuttles, at a much steeper angle of descent and in very few seconds and hence face severe thermal effect. Both material and technology is needed to overcome this daunting challenge.  Agni-V has its two upper stages completely built with composites, that is corrosion free and withstand very high temperatures.

Agni-V would see the several technologies and composites. It would see for the first time flying a large-sized composite rocket motor. Likewise, it would have a very compact payoad and new technologies to recover data would be deployed. An array of tracking stations and two ships of the Indian Navy have been deployed in the high seas for the test flight of the prestigious missile.

So far only the USA, Russia, France and China have the capability. India has fixed up a target for inducting the ICBM in the Indian Army by 2014.