Long range ballistic missile Agni-V was yet again successfully test-fired from Wheeler Island, off the Odisha coast, on Monday, signalling the coming of age of the country in the nuclear deterrence programme.
This is the fourth success in a row of Agni-V, which can carry a nuclear warhead weighing 1.5 tonnes over a distance of more than 5,000 km. The surface-to-surface missile lifted off at 11.05 a.m., carrying a dummy warhead.
The previous successful missions were executed on April 19, 2012, September 15, 2013 and January 31, 2015.
Officials of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which designed and developed the missile, called it “a wonderful moment” and “a huge success.”
Agni-V’s re-entry system worked perfectly as well. Its nose-cone that encases the warhead is made of carbon-carbon composites, which can withstand a searing temperature of about 3,000 degrees Celsius when the missile re-enters the earth’s atmosphere.
The importance of the success of Agni-V lay in the fact that it was fired from a canister mounted on a massive TATRA truck. A gas generator at the bottom of the canister ejected the three-stage missile that weighs 50 tonnes and measures 17 metres long. It has a diameter of two metres. A launch from a canister mounted on a truck gives the missile flexibility of movement.
Agni-V can be made vertical in three minutes and fired from a roadside in a town.
Former spokesperson of DRDO Ravi Gupta said, “We have come a long way. This is a major landmark in the journey of India’s missile programme, with its acquiring a powerful nuclear deterrence… This is a wonderful moment.”
The missile was tested in its final, deliverable version to the Army. Its configuration has already been frozen.