Agni-V’s maiden canister trial a roaring success

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The missile is expected to be inducted into service in a year after a few more canister trials.

Marking another technological milestone in the country’s missile programme, the maiden canister-based trial of India’s most potent strategic missile, Agni-V was successfully carried out for its full range of more than 5,000 km from the Wheeler Island, off the Odisha coast on Saturday.

A DRDO missile technologist who was associated with the launch described it as a grand success and said it was a perfect launch. Another missile technologist said it would be the footprint for future configuration of Agni-V.

The missile sealed in a canister and mounted on a TATRA track was launched in its final deliverable configuration at 8.10 am. As soon as the auto-launch command was given, the 17-metre-long Agni-V lifted off majestically leaving a trail of orange flames and leapt into a sunny sky after the gas generator at the bottom of the canister gave it a forceful thrust.

Within moments after its ejection and upon reaching a height of around 30 metres, the first stage got ignited and separated. As it reached a height of more than 500 km and began descending rapidly, the subsequent two stages also got decoupled with clockwork precision and the missile’s nose cone carrying the dummy payload withstood searing temperatures of more than 3,000 degrees Celsius and impacted near the pre-designated point in the Indian Ocean after a flight of about 20 minutes.

The 17-metre-long, thee-stage solid-fuelled missile, developed indigenously by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), is expected to boost India’s nuclear deterrence capability along with other strategic missiles in Agni series. Agni-V is capable of delivering a 1.1 nuclear warhead over a distance of 5,000 km and the range of missile can cover most parts of China and Europe.

A network of radars, electro-optical tracking systems and telemetry stations, besides two ships stationed near the impact point monitored the health of the missile during its flight and recorded the terminal event.

This was the third successful flight test of the Inter- Continental Ballistic Missile and the first canister trial.

The missile is expected to be inducted into service in a year after a few more canister trials.

Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister Avinash Chander, the architect of Agni-V, who will be relinquishing office on Saturday, was present along with other top DRDO missile technologists, including Director-General of Missiles and Strategic Systems, Dr.V.G.Sekaran and Research Centre Imarat Director, G. Satheesh Reddy.

Successful test-firing of Agni V from a canister makes the missile a prized asset for our forces. I salute our scientists for their efforts.

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