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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1592

India successfully test-fired Agni-I

By Hemanta Kumar Rout – Asian Tribune

Orissa, India, 04 July: India on Sunday successfully test-fired its sophisticated, surface-to-surface, Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) Agni-I from a mobile launcher in the Inner Wheeler Island, based at Dhamara in Bhadrak district of Orissa. This missile was test-fired at around 10.10 AM, this morning.

The flight test results have indicated that the mission objectives were met satisfactory. For the test-firing of Agni-I, a ‘notem’ (cautionary notice) was also issued to aviators and mariners to keep away from the area of splashdown in the Bay of Bengal. It was its ‘fifth’ test firing in the Agni series.

According to the sources, Agni-I is a 15-metre long, 12-ton, single-stage, solid-fuelled, medium range, surface-to-surface ballistic missile that can be fired from both road and rail launchers.

It can carry a 1000 Kg nuclear payload and can reach most targets in Pakistan without having to be deployed at the borders. With only one stage, the weight is less but the thrust is the same, giving the missile more acceleration.

Agni-I is also designed to be launched from a rail-based mobile launcher and can move on a standard broad-gauge rail system and also from a road-mobile launcher system. A mobile missile system reduces vulnerability and allows for greater operational flexibility.

Agni-I incorporates new guidance and control systems and there were also significant improvements in its re-entry technology and maneuverability.

The Agni-I is part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP).

The first test, from a road-mobile launcher, was conducted on 25 January 2002 that can reach targets 700 km away, from the Inner Wheeler Island in the Bay of Bengal, off the Orissa coast and was termed an accurate and successful flight that met its mission objectives.

This strategic missile will join the Army shortly and reportedly an Agni missile regiment is being raised for the purpose. This missile is very accurate as it uses the Agni-II guidance sub-systems over shorter range and better RV configuration for extended flight control envelope.

Agni-I, which is India's reply to Pakistan's Ghauri, can hit most Pakistani cities without having to be launched from the border. While Ghauri is actually the No Dong missile of North Korea, Agni-I is totally homegrown.

Unlike Ghauri, which is powered by liquid propellants, Agni-I is boosted using solid propellants and hence it can be readied much faster than Ghauri. Agni-I can reach an altitude of 300 km, re-enter the atmosphere and splash down in the Bay of Bengal.

The guidance and re-entry systems work with clockwork precision.

Scientists have called the ‘fifth’ launch a confirmatory flight, which is a prelude to the production and subsequent induction of the missile into the Army. According to informed sources, despite slight modifications, the guidance and re-entry systems performed flawlessly. The Agni series form the centerpieces of the IGMDP; the other missiles include Prithvi, Trishul, Akash and Nag.

Soon after the Kargil war broke out in June 1999, and in the wake of nuclear tests by India and Pakistan in May 1998, it was felt that India should develop a short-range missile that would fill the gap between Prithvi-II and Agni-II. And after that India developed Agni-I. There is no place in China that can be reached with a 700-km range. It is intended as a maximum range and all of Pakistan will be covered, the sources added.

- Asian Tribune -

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