India on Thursday test-fired its nuclear-capable Agni-I strategic ballistic missile, with a range of 700 kilometres, as part of the Army’s user trial from the Integrated Test Range at Wheeler Island off Orissa coast.
The indigenously developed surface-to-surface single-stage missile, powered by solid propellants, was test-fired from a rail mobile launcher at about 10.10 am from launch pad-4 of the ITR, 100 kms off the Orissa coast, defence sources said.
User of the missile – the Strategic Force Command (SFC) of the Indian Army – as part of their training exercise, executed the entire launch operation with the logistic support provided by the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) at the ITR, said a DRDO official.
The missile has a highly specialised navigation system which ensures it reaches the target with a high degree of accuracy, he said.
The entire trajectory of the missile, which has an operational striking range of 700 km, was tracked by sophisticated radars and electro-optic telemetry stations located along the sea coast and two ships positioned near the impact point in the downrange area.
Weighing 12 tonnes, the 15-metre-long Agni-1, which can carry payloads up to 1,000 kg, has already been inducted into the Indian Army.
Agni-1 was developed by advanced systems laboratory (ASL), the premier missile development laboratory of Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) in collaboration with Defence Research Development Laboratory (DRDL) and Research Centre Imarat (RCI) and integrated by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), Hyderabad.
The last trial of Agni-1 missile was successfully carried out on March 28, this year from the Wheeler Island.
Since the missile has already been inducted into the Army, it is important to conduct user trials for training of defence personnel and improvement of their skills, sources said.