Indigenously developed surface-to-surface ballistic missile Agni-5 has been successfully test-fired from Dr Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast, according to reports.
The surface-to-surface missile having a strike range of 5,000 km was launched at 1.30 p.m. from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Bhadrak district, said Defence Ministry sources. This is the seventh trial of the indigenously-developed surface-to-surface missile, they further added.
Agni-5 is a three stage missile and is 17 metre tall and 2 metre wide. It is capable of carrying 1.5 tonne of nuclear warheads.
“The missile was launched with the help of a mobile launcher from launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Dr Abdul Kalam Island in the Bay of Bengal on Monday afternoon,” said a defence source.
“It was an user associated trial. Strategic force command along with DRDO scientists conducted it,” the source added.
During this trial, the flight performance of the missile was tracked and monitored by radars, tracking instruments and observation stations, said the source.
“The high-speed on-board computer and fault-tolerant software, along with robust and reliable bus guided the (Agni-5) missile flawlessly (during the test),” an official said.
The missile is programmed in such a way that after reaching the peak of its trajectory, it turns towards the earth to continue its journey to the target with an increased speed, due to the earth’s gravitational pull, and its path precisely directed by the advanced on-board computer and inertial navigation system.
As the missile enters the earth’s atmosphere, the atmospheric air rubbing its outer surface skin raises the temperature to beyond 4,000 degree Celsius. However, the indigenously-designed and developed heat shield maintains the inside temperature at less than 50 degree Celsius.
Finally, commanded by the on-board computer with the support of laser gyro-based inertial navigation system, micro inertial navigation system (MINS), fully digital control system and advanced compact avionics, the missile hit the designated target point accurately, meeting all mission objectives, the sources said.
The ships located in mid-range and at the target point tracked the vehicle and witnessed the final event.
All the radars and electro-optical systems along the path, monitored the parameters of the missile and displayed them in real time.
The first two flights of Agni-5 in 2012 and 2013 were in open configuration. The third, fourth and fifth launch were from canister integrated with a mobile launcher, that enables launch of the missile in a shorter time as compared to an open launch.
The nuclear capable missile is expected to be inducted into India’s Strategic Forces Command soon and this was its third successful test this year. The last test was held in June 2018.
Unlike other missiles of the series, Agni-5 is the most advanced with new technologies in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine, a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) official had said in June 2018.
The missile has a payload capacity of 1,500 kg of high-explosive warhead and once inducted in the military, India will join an exclusive club of countries like the US, Russia, China, France and Britain which have intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities.
The missile is being inducted at a time when India’s neighbourhood is witnessing evolving security threats.
In its armoury, India currently has Agni-1 with 700 km range, Agni-2 with a 2,000-km range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with 2,500 km to more than 3,500-km range.
The first test of Agni V was conducted on April 19, 2012.