Agni-V launched successfully

By SP's Special Correspondent

April 19, 2012: India successfully conducted the first test of the Agni-V strategic ballistic missile, out to its service range of nearly 6,000-km early on April 19. The missile, India's longest range missile so far, is the first that covers all of China, Russia and much of Eastern Europe, West Asia, the South East and large parts of the Indian Ocean region. Coming shortly after the 3,500-km range Agni-III was inducted into operational service with the Strategic Forces Command, the Agni-V will undergo at least two more tests before entering service with the country's nuclear setup.

The missile, the first with an all-composite rocket motor, and several improvements over the baseline Agni-III configuration, is a three-stage solid fueled weapon system that can be launched from a road-mobile canister launcher, giving it a crucial flexibility of deployment. Dr Avinash Chander, who oversees the Agni programme, announced that the test had gone like clockwork, and that "every system has performed precisely as planned".

The Agni-V was to have been tested at dusk on April 18, but was called off as a result of a thunderstorm with heavy lightning that could have disrupted observation and telemetry work critical to a missile or flight test. The decision to postpone the test was taken by the Integrated Test Range, with approval from the DRDO leadership which has camped at Wheelers Island off the coast of Odisha for the past several days. A second test of the Agni-V is expected not long from now, though the team hasn't put down a fixed timeframe. Studied and analysis of the successful debut test will occupy a large part of the next two-three weeks.